Of the 3,292 students at Stuyvesant in this academic year, 73 percent are Asian; 22 percent white; 2 percent Hispanic; and 1 percent black, according to the city Education Department. That contrasts with the ethnic make-up of the city’s 1.1 million public-school students, who are 40 percent Hispanic; 28 percent black; 15 percent Asian; and about 15 percent white. “Stuyvesant was overwhelmingly Jewish in my day; now it’s predominantly Asian,” said M. Felix Freshwater, a 1964 graduate and trustee of the school’s endowment fund who attended the gathering. Stuyvesant and the other specialized schools have for decades offered opportunities for high-achieving students who couldn’t afford private school, said Freshwater, who’s now a Miami surgeon. “Having an exam seems fair, but how a student becomes prepared starts with how children are educated starting in pre-kindergarten, not a summer cram course,” he said. “We need to rethink the admissions criteria, but I’d feel more comfortable if educators were making the decisions, not the state legislature.”
The actual experience of living here is one of finding your place, followed by an intense feeling of ownership. You can stay at that point for years. But eventually, sometimes without knowing it, you begin the slow slide toward a moment of decisiveness. Sometime after that, there’s the actual leaving. And then, the having left. Living in New York turns out to be a process of earning nostalgia — hoarding enough memories to give you the kind of claim on a place that makes it possible to leave it. When you reach your limit and set out elsewhere, memories are your consolation prize. (Bonus points for writing about them.)
Microbes shouldn't be able to survive in the Gowanus; it's estimated that the oxygen levels are at 1.5 parts per million due to the lack of circulation, less than the 4 parts per million needed to sustain a healthy population of marine life. And yet they're thriving, mutating into new forms. "Nobody is researching the microbial makeup of the Gowanus," said Haque. But it might even be to their benefit; the purpose of her study was to see if these mutated microbes could hold the key to new antibiotics.
The long view of New York’s prospects is also what appealed to Andrew McLaughlin, a former Google executive who moved east and is now senior vice president at New York’s Betaworks, which bills itself as “a company that builds companies.” (The New York Times Company is an investor.) “If you’re placing a long-term bet on consumer tech,” he says, “then the mix of skills you’ll find in New York, while maybe less technical, seems like a better bet to make.” As a veteran of both East Coast and West Coast tech, McLaughlin captures the aesthetic gap as “the difference between a Palo Alto office park and a Bushwick loft.” For one thing, “New York takes authenticity very seriously,” he says, while “the West Coast doesn’t give a damn.” “Functionality” matters most, he says, and while he has enormous respect for Google, “no one at Google spends time thinking about how to make their office park ‘authentic.’ They want it to be awesome, with robots, driverless cars, that kind of stuff.” Another difference is that New York’s tech industry tends to work with, or on top of, what’s already there, whether physically or conceptually. “The West Coast thing is to destroy what came before,” while New York is “layering and working with what’s here already,” McLaughlin says, making reference to Rem Koolhaas’s seminal 1978 manifesto on urbanism, “Delirious New York.”
“For the bulk of the market, the 90 percent, it’s probably the most challenging period for a buyer in the 25-plus years that I’ve been observing the market,” Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, said in an interview. In the second quarter, 3,638 units priced at less than $3 million were listed for sale, the smallest nonluxury inventory in nine years, according to Miller. The absorption rate, or the amount of time it would take to sell all those properties at the current pace of deals, was 3.9 months, the fastest in records dating back to 2004. In Manhattan, where the median price for a two-bedroom apartment is $1.35 million and a three-bedroom unit costs $2.63 million, the nonluxury category encompasses many first-time and move-up buyers, Miller said. Nationally, the median price for single-family home in June was $214,200, according to the National Association of Realtors.