Dalya Arussy's Writing New York Blog

Journal Entry 27- “Mazie”
November 23, 2010, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Mazie is a unique example to Wilson’s view of changing the role of women in the city. Mazie maintains the sphinx-like attribute of women in the city that Wilson describes- of being a mystery to those around her as her public image does not reveal her personal one. Wilson presents the dangers of the city as serious dangers specifically to women and stresses the need to embrace it, something Mazie, who specifically lives among those dangers, does. Mazie finds her place among that danger and learns to interact with it in a peaceful way. Mazie takes a definitive and strong stance in her interaction with these dangers, putting herself in a position where she is not concerned with it harming her. Similarly, she learns to manage the chaos and embraces it as a part of her daily life as she seeks out bums in the parks and around her theater and therefore defines Wilson’s proposal against the concern for women among this chaos. I believe she serves as an exceptional example for Wilson’s concerns of the role of women in the city and her proposal for its improvement.

I also think that Mazie takes everything we’ve learned about NYC and incorporates it into her daily urban experience. She has a dream-like view of NYC as she finds the good everywhere and in everyone, but unlike Whitehead, doesn’t leave it at the entrance of the city. Like Judith mentioned in Crossing the Boulevard, Mazie sees the various types of people in the city and really connects to all of them, from famous writers to nuns to bums. She recognizes the potential the city presents to all its members as she owns a movie theater and tries to encourage bums to “shape up”. In this, Mazie finds her place in the great metropolis where so many get lost as Whitehead described. She also learns to embrace the filth and dirt that is the bums and drunkards and sees the beauty in them as she befriends them. (Highet)

Journal Entry 26
November 18, 2010, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I think Wilson’s emphasis on embracing the city and the duality and dangers it presents is a major theme in writing and description of NYC. Paris is Burning is a clear example of the gendered aspects of NYC. This sort of male supremacy that Wilson discusses in the city is a major struggle for the drag queens of Paris is Burning as it puts them in the same dangerous position women are said to be in. The “manliness” emphasized in the city puts drag queens in this dangerous position as men may see them as a threat to their macho. Like in Chop Shop, these drag queens are forced to find their own community as they try to navigate the dangers the city presents. And just as Wilson preaches the embrace of the dangers and complexity of the city, the characters of Paris is Burning do just that as they themselves embrace and empower others like them to embrace their position in the diversity of NYC.

Similarly, the Atlantic Yards project revolves largely around this perceived danger of not developing the area versus the perceived danger of developing it. The argument in favor of the project is not necessarily gendered, but does center around the blighted-ness of the area and the prostitution and other illegal activity that was at some point characteristic of that region. The argument against the plan discusses the gentrification of a diverse area and transforming something that was already organically revitalizing itself. In that sense, the opposers of the development are trying to convince people to embrace the diversity and the dangers of the city and recognize that those are integral parts of NYC. Although, the gender and women aspect does not play a key role in the Atlantic Yards debate, the role of duality and recognizing  the difficulties of the city is central to both sides of the argument.

Journal Entry 25- Chop Shop
November 17, 2010, 10:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ale and Izzy are very much typical children in the way they act towards each other and their interests, but due to their situation, sometimes defy this term. Ale enjoys watching sports games and jokes around with his sister while maintaining a certain attitude when it comes to work. Izzy, on the other hand, acts like a child more of the time, as she likes to hang out with her friend Layla, avoids responsibility when it comes to finding a job, and likes new things/clothing. Ale and Izzy both are in a tough situation in which they need to act unusual or extraordinary, but Ale really takes it upon himself to do so. He worries for his older sister, searches for different means of making money, saves up money, and develops skills in car-repair that many adults don’t even have. Both don’t attend school and instead work to get by in life, something very much not characteristic of “typical kids”. Their childhood is in an adult environment, instead of the young one of a school, therefore forcing them to act unusual or extraordinary in contrast to other children.

Ale and Izzy, although both presented with the same situation, contain and obtain different character traits. Ale is more  aware of his situation and its effects, knows how to manage his money,  and is altogether more responsible. He is more assertive and ready to take action, while still being naive and emotional (as kids generally are). Contrastingly, Izzy is more free-spirited and less motivated. It is an interesting contrast as the opposite would be expected since Izzy is the older of the two.

There are many factors that play into their parentless lives as NYC is so complex and diverse. Firstly, because NYC has many people who try to make ends meet, there are several off-the-record jobs available. We see that starting in the first scene where Ale waits with others for a truck to pick them up and take them to work somewhere. Then he sells candy on the subway, works at an auto repair shop, and sells bootlegged DVDs. These businesses are a part of NYC, as there are several people who need a way to make a living but are not necessarily skilled. There is this atmosphere of everyone wanting to succeed and since not everyone has the means, its accepted that many will use whatever they have to reach success. Also, their status as parentless allows them a great deal of freedom, just as NYC does by its immense size. There is this sort of “every man for himself” element of NYC and so Izzy and Ale have the freedom to move around and act as they wish without others caring. No one on the subway questions Carlos and Ale of where their parents are and why they were selling candy. Everyone keeps to their own and that’s what allows Ale and Izzy to really engage in all their different “odd jobs”.

Journal Entry 24- Peer Review 3
November 15, 2010, 12:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A. Thesis: As development in New York City affects the community at large along with the individuals that make up the community, in failing to listen to public interests, New York City is failing to better that community.

Argument: refutation of bypassing the democratic process of ULURP in approving certain developments such as Atlantic Yards.

B. Audience: Mayor Bloomberg

I think this critique of the actions taken by NY government is effective for addressing Mayor Bloomberg. Incorporating all the appeals also will affect the mayor as a politician and as a human being. I think the ethical and emotional appeals are good, but some work needs to be done with the logos as that could further strengthen the argument.

C. My main points are that this action was undemocratic, that it socially is affecting the project and the community, and that it ultimately didn’t pay off. They are not really clear in the structure of the essay so I will need to work on that.

I don’t think there were any ethical, emotional, or logical fallacies or any hint of bias (I tried not to at least…).

Well-developed points: it was undemocratic and that this has its effects on the community.

Confusing/weak points: the structure as a whole doesn’t strongly prove my points. It doesn’t flow in terms of the separation of the components of the evidence. There are also several confusing sentences whose first and second halves don’t seem to be related.

D. Structure: Rogerian. This style allows me to address my hostile audience as I start with common ground and  ease my way into my refutation of the counterargument, followed by my supporting evidence. I think as it stands, the structure does consist of a flow, but not one that strongly supports my ideas. I would like to rearrange the paragraphs in order to effectively argue my three main points.

E. I think my title is very fitting and the opening of the essay draws you straight in to my point. On the other hand, I think my conclusion effectively “shouts” my point although it can by strengthened a little bit.

F. I don’t think there are any consistent grammar mistakes.

G. In-text citations and Works Cited done correctly.

Journal Entry 23- Meta-writing
November 9, 2010, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I think one of the most important lessons I can take from Sontag and Shuman is to properly balance my appeals in order to convincingly present my argument. I think Sontag’s biggest flaw was her lack of logic and ethics in comparison to her overpowering emotion. Her piece was published not long after the event and therefore was almost strictly emotion-based, taking away from her controversial argument. As an outsider to the case and having reviewed the facts and details of the plan, I think I can properly balance the different appeals necessary to create a compelling argument (and not override my logical and ethical aspects with emotional ones).

I think Shuman takes a couple of steps forward in his attempt to balance the different appeals and that perspective should influence by attempt at an argument. I think he successfully handles the counterargument and in his doing so, presents a more compelling defense of his position. He writes a couple of months after the fact, providing for more awareness of details of the event and for thinking through personal emotions. In that, Shuman was better able to evaluate the occurrence and take a logical stance on the issue. As this aspect of the passage of time applies to me, I think I have a lot to learn from Shuman who properly incorporates that. In his criticism of his own liberal views, I think Shuman is more effective in his argument as he can properly evaluate the counterargument (because it is so “close to home”), which is another important factor to take into consideration when approaching an issue.

Journal Entry 22- Counterargument
November 4, 2010, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The counterargument will probably deal with the fact that the public may or may not know what is best for the city as a whole. I will begin my letter with this argument, as I plan to approach the hostile audience of Mayor Bloomberg, and refute it with the idea that similarly, they do not know what is good for the residents of each particular neighborhood. As the counterargument may claim that there are broader issues to attend to as a governmental office, I think those grand aspects are heavily dependent on the individuals. Although they may claim that the project, and others like it, will revitalize these neighborhoods, it is not clear that the benefits outweigh the damage being done on a local and broader level. Atlantic Yards specifically may attract large crowds of basketball fans subsequently increasing the revenue of local businesses, but the plan does not include additional facilities that this influx of people and visitors will require of the city. This and the added traffic Barclays Center will bring might actually take away from the supposed revitalization expected to occur. These are issues that may not be thought of in the confines of an executive position but are actually important to the vision they may have of the city. The individuals in the city not only have insight into their own neighborhoods, but that insight could affect the city as a whole which is essentially what the counterargument seems to claim. In addition, I will include ethical appeals such as if a project is affecting a certain people, those people should have a say in that project. I would like to address the counterargument in my letter as I believe that it would attract the reader, strengthen my position, and validate my point to the hostile audience that holds by the counterargument. I think refuting it and suggesting a compromise will increase my chances of being heard as it legitimizes my position.

Journal Entry 21- The Audience
November 2, 2010, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The issue of public participation in planning is one that greatly impacts NYC residents. Atlantic Yards is just one example in this ongoing debate of whether or not NYC offices properly incorporate and encourage this in its planning process. I would like to argue, under the persona of an urban planner, that Ratner’s proposed and approved project proves that the public is not fully considered in the process, therefore leading to many unwanted consequences. Although public participation does not ensure public approval, it increases its chances as residents would be given the opportunity to express concerns about the proposed project and suggest revisions that would appeal to them and probably the greater public. This would not only appeal to the common New Yorkers, but also to the planners, project developers and other stakeholders as increased public approval creates many favorable results. As is obvious in the Atlantic Yards case, one benefit on behalf of the developers would be the decrease in lawsuits, saving them and the city a lot of money. Public support also brings in capital investment that allows for the actual implementation of the plan.

I want to argue this opinion to Mayor Bloomberg, a major stakeholder in such developments. He was involved in the approval process that ignored the proper city review procedure. Therefore, not only is he a stakeholder, but he also was a part of the cause of the above mentioned inefficiencies. Because I am presenting him as a hostile audience, the above argument will have to be preceded with a counterargument in order to attract him to my reasoning.

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