“We never know where the consumer is going to be at any point in time, so we have to find a way to be everywhere. Ubiquity is the new exclusivity.”
The forces of the market possess a momentum and inevitability not unlike the weather. These “forces” are all around us, manifested in ever newer, ever more spectacular products, buildings, and experiences. Market equilibrium is maintained by pervasive attention towards the perpetual “now”, which is almost as good as what will come after the this moment is upgraded. Each upgrade is followed by another, as the restless march toward an improved future plays out in a cyclical display of technological promise; the moment one catches up, another advance waits for approval and assimilation into a carefully articulated lifestyle.
Local versus Global
Because of recent U.S. foreign policy disasters combined with apprehensions about traveling abroad after 9/11, the notion of the global economy has lost some of its appeal. The hype over a utopian, worldwide, free-market system has given way to localized, boutique cultures that transform our idea of what “local” means. It could not be lost on any one who lives in New York that endless permutations of new retail, residential and leisure space have seemed to expand across the city like wildfire, setting up shop in the “deadwood” remains of mom n’ pop stores and former warehouses. For the locals who knew what came before, this process can be quite disorienting. If you live in a “transitioning” neighborhood, you might find it hard to keep your bearings. One recognizable landmark after another has been altered or disappeared, replaced in many cases by tall, unremarkable steel and glass facades that seem to have strayed far from their natural habitat among corporate offices in midtown. As new stores, restaurants and luxury housing proliferate, many familiar structures and jobs connected to them are swept