About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    Fun City, Then and Now

    By kyle | May 19, 2010

    As David Brooks mentioned in a column this week, my neighbor John Podhoretz delivers a jolt of anti-nostalgia, writing in Commentary about how dissolute and depraved the Upper West Side was when he was growing up 30 years or so ago. “I was mugged four times before I was 14,” he says. Being a New Yorker gave him an excellent reason for being conservative, given the social policies that fueled the fires of disorder. Today there are fewer than one-third as many felonies being committed in the neighborhood as there were in 1964 (and one-fifth as many as there were in 1990).

    Topics: Magazines, New York City, Politics | 1 Comment »

    One Response to “Fun City, Then and Now”

    1. yankeefan Says:
      May 19th, 2010 at 6:23 pm

      Great piece.

      What I love most about the NY of my nostalgia is the “Fortress of Solitude”-ish stories it allows me to tell, and embellish, especially to the “718”- and (barf) F-train-lauding-T-shirt, Bklyn-arriviste crowd. But the place was no doubt going to hell, and we assumed it would only get worse and worse. It was a horror show in many ways, and in other ways, just damned depressing and defeated.

      Never got mugged, though. Not once. Mostly because I was a head taller than most of my potential assailants, and crossed the street or ditched a subway car when my un-PC instincts detected the first sign of trouble. I also wasn’t bespectacled.

      J-Pod’s travails suggest it’s time to update Irving Kristol’s famed quote: A neoconservative is a “liberal mugged — repeatedly.”