MURCIA. Comprensión Escrita. Ejercicio 3

Only five of the following statements are TRUE. Write TRUE or FALSE The statements might not be in the same order as in the text.

'New York has lost its edge' by Stefanie Marsh

There is always a tinge of sentimental pride in my friend Roger’s voice when he recalls the story of how he was humiliatingly mugged as a teenager in his home town of New York. Roger, a paradigm of that species of neurosis-laden, neophytic, obnoxious intellectual that used to inhabit the city in droves, was at the time 13 and hanging out with two equally nerdy friends, the way teenagers do, outside a petrol station for no reason in the middle of the night. Somehow they were leapt on by a gang who robbed them not only of their money but all their clothes.
Those things don’t happen in New York any more. But some people wish they did. Perhaps it’s because in their minds there’s a correlation between the crackdown on crime in the city — which started in the Giuliani era and was cemented by Michael Bloomberg, the current Mayor — and the perceived loss of the city’s cultural supremacy, a gradual nose-dive that began some time after September 11 and snowballed once the economic crisis was in full tilt.
September 11 was important because America’s borders became less porous, which meant that some of the creative folk who might have settled there from abroad chose other countries and cities instead: Berlin and London spring to mind. The collapse of Wall Street as a source of overreaching authority in the global economy suddenly left Bloomberg’s assertion that New York was a “luxury product” seeming tasteless and out of step with the new culture of austerity: many of the shiny, faceless condos that have become ubiquitous in the city now stand half empty.
The bankers who populate them and much of Manhattan have turned into some of the most reviled people on earth. Even The New York Times has pointed out that: “The sudden downturn has affected the very industries that give New York its identity — finance, media, advertising, real estate, even tourism — with real prejudice. The result is that some New Yorkers feel that the city is losing, along with many jobs, its swagger and sense of pre-eminence.”
The problem for those who would like to see a return in New York to its edgy past is that Manhattan, as more than one New York-based blogger has claimed, is still “a gated community for the rich”. The cultural critic Julian Brash has complained that under Bloomberg the citizens of New York have been turned into consumers — it is a place where everything is about what can be bought and what can be sold.
Among artists and writers there is a general sense of loss. Jeremiah Moss, who runs a blog called Vanishing New York, believes that the city has become not only sanitised but a sort of parody of what it once was. “I think the idea that New York is an edgy place has vanished almost entirely,” he says. “It used to be immune to the tastes and sensibilities of middle-brow America. Now that has taken over completely. It’s a nice town — safe and clean — for tourists and investment bankers. You used to come to New York to get away from Middle America, but now you show up here and there it is.”
“Is New York still the centre of the Earth? Well, if your definition of the centre of the Earth is McDonald’s and Starbucks, then yes it is.”
One struggles to think what actually comes out of the city these days, creatively speaking. The Times fashion desk speaks disparagingly about the “commercialism” of the city’s fashion industry following the release of the recent documentary The September Issue, about US Vogue and its legendary and previously mysterious editor, Anna Wintour.
There are more general problems. America used to be the place where things happened first. But new films now have global release dates and the States has shown itself to be behind in some of the more entrepreneurial strands of new technology. You can get your iPod there first, but speculative start-ups such as Spotify do not exist in the States because of industry regulation.
Perhaps its lower rents — house prices were down by 23 per cent in the first quarter of this year — will encourage the return of young people and artists. Meanwhile, “Yes it’s still fun,” concedes a friend who used to live there, “but it’s cheesy. Jeez, they even have a Whole Foods on Bowery.”