Dalya Arussy's Writing New York Blog

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.

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