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    New York City: Luxury Or Trash?

    Fabulous to Trash in New York City

    It’s a beautiful evening in Central Park and as the sun sets, fireflies appear and light up for brief moments at a time. The city is alive and everyone has somewhere to be. However, rats start to appear from the bushes and the smell of trash sets in and the once beautiful scene of New York City is gone. 

    New York City, once the most sought after city in the world may not be all it’s cracked up to be. For decades, New York City has earned its reputation for its riches, glamor, and history. In 2003, the then Mayor Michael Bloomberg even coined New York City as a “Luxury Product”. While it’s no secret that this city is iconic, time has done this city no justice. 


    building in nyc
    Central Park via Tiana Molony

    New York City is frequently featured in movies like Home Alone and popular TV shows like Friends and How I Met Your Mother. The city encapsulates a timeless feel and ecstatic energy that is revealed through the screen. Watchers can only hope to one day see it in real life. Recently, many individuals have flocked to the city to live out their dreams.

    Home Alone 2

    For the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to explore this illustrious city and decide if it’s worth the hype. The heat during this time of year mixed with the trash, rats, and homelessness problem, definitely altered my previous notions of the city. I met various locals and shared brief interactions with them. The individuals who were fortunate enough to live in the wealthier parts of New York, seemed to view the city more highly than those who did not.

    Friends Building

    In a short interview with an unnamed local, I discussed the city’s current status and his feelings on the matter. This local lives near Washington Square Park, a place where younger individuals live. When asked why if he thought the state of the city was so bad, he replied “I think that New York has become such a popular place to live that everyone wants to come here. The more people, the more trash.” The individual also feels that after one year of living in the city, he has started to feel claustrophobic. While the population has surprisingly declined, the housing prices, rats, and trash in New York City continue to be a pressing issue. 

    Rats & Trash

    trash in new york city
    NYC Trash

    During my time there, I recall taking a stroll along Central Park and seeing what I thought were squirrels run across the paths. As I got closer, I noticed that these creatures were in fact rats and they were everywhere. Additionally, one can’t ignore the horrible smell and sight of trash in New York City as it lined each street. The mass amounts of people contribute to the overall claustrophobic feel of the city. Additionally, especially after the recent shooting, the subway system has grown increasingly dangerous and many individuals do not feel safe. 

    Additionally, the homelessness problem has grown and become increasingly difficult to control as housing prices have reached all-time highs. Based on data from World Population Review, the average household income is $102,946, and the poverty rate stands at 17.27%.


    aerial view of central park
    Central Park via Tiana Molony

    Lastly, while the overall appearance of the city has changed, New York City still remains a financial hotspot and iconic place. The city could benefit from solving issues like the homelessness and trash and working to restore the place we all know and love.

    Watch this video to see how trash in New York City is handled.


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