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I Know When to Go Out, and When to Stay In

Filed under: Eustace Google   Tagged: , ,

The Gawker item about how no one (that is, Liz Smith) in New York wants to go out anymore in this fallen city—"The best way to spend an evening these days, she said, was with a good book, television and the telephone turned off"—reminded me of the charming profile of Ed and Nancy Sorel in the Times Real Estate section the other day. It turns out Ed and Liz are as one:

It's an oddity of real estate that, as neighborhoods change, people have to move to stay in the same place. Coming to Harlem restored a sense of neighborliness to the Sorels' lives that had slowly deteriorated in TriBeCa.

But in many ways, the New York they pine for is irretrievably lost. "There's no cafe life anymore," Mr. Sorel said. "There's no meeting by chance. The dinner party is the big social gathering."

His professional interactions have also grown less spontaneous and convivial over the years. "There was something so invigorating and amateur" about magazine offices in the 60's and 70's," he said. "Now everything is very corporate and very cold. It's not all that pleasant — the high-rise with security at the desk. There are several stages before you get to see anybody, and then they don't want to see you because they're in the middle of something, so you generally meet them in the reception room."

And so goes life in this evolving city: the chummy lunch with an editor is replaced by the terse exchange and chilly handshake; the warm camaraderie of neighborhoods by an impersonal obsession with real estate values; the parent or grandparent by the professional nanny. Yet the Sorels really can't imagine living anywhere but New York.

There's an accompanying Sorel "audio slide show," too.

Stay Home [lyrics, Self]
Don't Stay Home [lyrics, 311]
There Is Life Outside Your Apartment [lyrics, Avenue Q]
Ed Sorel [New Yorker cartoons and covers, Cartoon Bank]


I normally go out when my house is on fire, i normally stay in when my yard is on fire.

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