That’s all, folks. After three years, 14 issues and over 800 articles, Realcity is closing up shop. We’ve loved every minute of it and truly appreciate all of your support. Cole shares his parting thoughts in The End.
“If you haven’t noticed by now, Realcity has never been just a hobby. For the past three years, it’s been the driving force of my days. I’ve put more into this than anything else — school included — and experienced more than any office gig could ever give me. Realcity, in all its various incarnations, has taught me how to travel confidently through not only city life, but life in general. From our start as a New York-based blog three years ago today to our final installment as a multi-city publication, I’ve learned something new every step of the way and will always be better for it.”
“As I’ve been contemplating my final piece over the last couple of weeks, a song lyric from the 1998 classic ‘Closing Time’ keeps popping into my head. ‘Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.’ Though much of that song’s sentiments are irrelevant here, I just can’t shake this one line. Realcity represents important beginnings for me. It coincided with the early stages of my relationship with Cole and started my writing career. For three years, this website has colored so much of my interaction with the world around me. It flipped a switch in my head that forced me to look at New York City through a more analytical lens, to think about the daily realities of my neighbors and friends. It’s given me communities of intelligent, thoughtful counterparts in cities I’ve never been to who have confirmed that our mission does resonate, even when the traffic didn’t reflect that.”
Realcity turns three today! Though somehow we feel much older… Take a look back at our evolution from NY blog to multi-city publication in Three Years Later.
“What began as a few TV analysis articles, some restaurant Experience pieces and a goofy podcast turned into more than we could’ve ever imagined.”
“Unfortunately, Chicago’s national reputation in recent years has been synonymous with its body count, as the 500+ murders in 2012 fixated the country’s attention on the city’s violence. There are competing theories on the best means to deter the violence, but few doubt that it stays constant due in part to the splintering of Chicago’s gangs into smaller factions with smaller amounts of territory to contest. As senior gang leaders have been imprisoned, the larger gangs have become fragmented and the ensuing confusion has been accompanied by a willingness to fire (and fire back). Now, teenagers who merely cross the street may cross a border into ‘enemy’ territory and the fallout can escalate to the petrifying results the city has witnessed.
Therefore, the totality of the violence makes a longer walk on unfamiliar streets to a new school not only disadvantageous but also dangerous. Rivalries can fester based upon where you live, who you hang out with, and what school you attend (or used to attend). The path a student takes to school could be interpreted as an affront upon a gang’s territory. Even social media was unerringly abuzz in the weeks preceding the commencement of classes, with rival gangs taunting and threatening each other via Facebook and message boards. The longer walks to schools in rival gang areas have been tantamount to dropping a match on a Molotov cocktail.”
After today’s feature story about violence in Chicago, this piece from January felt especially fitting. In Climb: A Safer City, tensions are high in NYC, but crime rates are down and this Bronx resident has hope.
“In recent months, New York newspapers have been littered with stories of abject, senseless violence. Despite the city’s long-held reputation for danger these events shock and puzzle me. People have been pushed in front of trains. Firefighters have been murdered while simply responding to an emergency call. Gun violence has become so quotidian that most firearm stories don’t even make the front page — that is, unless a group of moviegoers or a classroom of children has been mercilessly killed. These stories tell us that we are vulnerable, even during the most everyday moments of our lives. They tell us that we are always at risk.
As a born-and-raised Bronx resident, this risk is nothing new to me. The threat of violence has been a constant presence in my life, like a bogeyman that pops out from his under-bed dwelling all too often. When I was a child, I almost always had a parent present while I played outside. I was taught to be extra cautious in the dark and I learned to be skeptical of everyone. Stories of goodwill schemes — situations where a do-gooder helps a seemingly vulnerable person, only to be trapped by a larger group of muggers — haunted me and even made it difficult for me to help someone in need. What if the man on the ground was planning to jump up and attack me as soon as I got close enough? What if the woman asking me to pull over and give her directions really wanted to carjack me?”
“Stare at the ceiling. Listen to your iPod. Get on the second car. If there’s a Red Sox game, don’t leave work after 5:30.
Everyone in Boston has a strategy (and a story) for the T — including myself, developed over eight years living here. Just like any other metropolis, the subway is the veins through which this city’s lifeblood flows. Though it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to deal with, whether you’re jammed into a car on St. Patrick’s Day with a drunk guy who can’t understand why you don’t play Super Mario, swinging to a violent stop and getting knocked over by everyone around you or just commuting to work.”
Today’s first Greatest Hits piece is one of our most widely read to date. In Film: The Cruise, Katie analyzed the refreshing philosophies of the great Speed Levitch, a city tour guide.
“The majority of people in America are used to seeing big budget films, with multiple characters and intricate plotlines. A documentary about a New York City tour guide who is essentially the only person to appear on screen is a huge departure from that. However, when that tour guide is Tim Levitch, and the result is The Cruise, what you have is a rare slice of New York eccentricity that would be difficult to fabricate in Hollywood. Levitch is an intellectual and a philosopher who happens to ride around New York City on a double-decker bus, pointing out landmarks to tourists. While there’s plenty of footage of Levitch explaining the finer points of the Chrysler building, what I most identified with are his many dissertations on the beauty of architecture and the oppressive nature of Manhattan’s grid plan.”
Today, we continue our Greatest Hits parade with Success: Construction Worker. In the first of a series inspired by Studs Terkel’s Working, we were lucky enough to interview the son of the man in that book’s very first chapter.
“When you’re a kid you play with Legos, you don’t type up memos. That’s not how you play when you’re a kid. You build shit when you’re a kid. That’s what’s real to you. It’s a very ingrained, natural thing that we derive joy from.
I feel like so many other types of work require you to be a certain person. Not do a certain thing, but to adapt a certain personality that may or may not be your own. One of the things I really, genuinely enjoy about the work I do is that if you complete it and do it well, that’s all that’s required of you. If I’m working right now and am putting up a wall, they could not give less of a fuck if I was smiling. As long as a customer’s not around, I can work in my boxers if I wanted to. As long as that wall goes up — everything is plum, square, straight and there’s nothing to complain about — they don’t care who I am.”