Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
Hi y’all. Due to some technical difficulties, this edition of Navigator is a day late. But read on—we’ve got some great stuff for you!
Every day, around the world, cities become more and more like citadels. The rich live in tall, glistening towers of luxury, and the rest are squeezed—or forced—out to the fringes; or, they leave when they are no longer able to recognize their surroundings—when the grimy dives and quirky corner stores turn into standardized fast-casual facades.
If you live in New York long enough, and date and make friends here, you have your own secret map of the city and the places that make you nostalgic, that make you wish it were 10 years ago, that make you thank the powers that be that time doesn’t stand still.
What does “home” mean in a period of rapid urban change? Greenidge’s essay provides a clue: It is a place we have infused with our own identity—our memories, our histories, our emotions, our people.
But what does that look like in a city like New York? Who gets to make a home in the city—claim ownership over space at a time when space is so scarce and commodified?
On Thursday, February 28, at 6:30 p.m., I’m going to be at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), unpacking these questions with some very smart people:
Dr. Mindy Fullilove, the author of “Root Shock,” who will take a look back at New York’s long history of community displacement and its effects; architect Eric Bunge, who will reflect on the trials and tribulations of designing the city’s first micro unit; photographer Annie Ling, who will share her photographs of the residents of 81 Bowery, where tenants build community in close quarters; and oral historian Zaheer Ali, who will talk about the stories communities in Crown Heights tell about themselves.
Come by if you can. I would love to meet you and hear about your own experiences living in the city!
What we’re writing:
ICYMI, we had a bunch of stories around Valentine’s Day: A look back at the singles bar that changed 1970s Toronto. ¤ Finding love in the Gig Economy. ¤ Love, Actually… is not everywhere. ¤ The legacy of candy hearts in Boston. ¤
Other stories from us: For Boston City Hall’s silver anniversary, a commemorative pin! ¤ Lessons from New York’s “Ask a Philosopher” booth. ¤ Lisbon has got a tile theft problem. ¤ And finally! Ariel Aberg-Riger, our visual storyteller, is back with a beautifully illustrated history of the public library. ¤
What we’re taking in:
“Even if it isn’t a political show, Russian Doll makes a political ask: be aware of your surroundings, your city, your own ghosts and the ghosts of others, so you can be available in some way to those around you.” (Electric Literature) ¤ The cost of visiting “untouched” and “authentic” places. (The Walrus) ¤ “ Cisco-as-ghost-town is a screen for whatever fragments of Western fantasy people care to cobble together, even as the place itself provides incontrovertible evidence that those fantasies end badly.” (Places Journal) ¤ Inside the “Beijing yogurt” factory in Pomona, California. (LA Weekly) ¤ What the routes runners in Baltimore take say about segregation. (Runner’s World) ¤ “Malört is many things: a Midwestern tradition, a temperance loophole, and a passion project that became a life’s work that could become, maybe, a national phenomenon.” (The Ringer) ¤ What it’s like to grow up in the first co-housing community in America. (Curbed) ¤ “Through the inclusion of metaphorical characters, The Burial of Kojo prompts us to reimagine dimensional binaries and the coexistence of ‘utopia’ and ‘dystopia’ in an African terrain.” (Africa is a Country) ¤
Finally, Guernica has published a beautiful series of essays that relocate the American West “at the center of its own history, looking at the people who live in this region as the protagonists instead of the ‘others,’ revealing a far more expansive image of this place.” Highly recommend!
View from the ground:
@porticosparachapar captured Barcelona's beautiful balconies. @keithimus took a stroll along the Upper West Side. @misterkchung adventured through Seattle's Pioneer Square. @merijndb highlighted a unique London staircase.