Not too long ago a walk along New York’s lower east side was a  walk down immigrant history. The tenements and discount stores where Italian, Jewish and then Spanish immigrants lived and worked were still abundant. But walk there now and much of that is fading. Now glimmering  architectural experiments, luxury condos, and high priced boutiques are plentiful. The lower east side, like many other parts of the city, has been rebranded.

So what has that to do with Eliot Spitzer’s hooker escapades and swift downfall? Follow this logic. It may be a bit farfetched but it leads to a larger point.

The hooker involved, “Kristen,” is a Jersey born girl who is now living in the flatiron district of Manhattan, another area that has transformed into very high priced real estate. In fact, her rent was something like $3,500 a month. In other words – outrageously expensive. By all reports, she was desperate to live in Manhatttan with its high life, glamour, and wealthy men. Seeing that she was not an executive type, she turned to a different high-priced career that  took advantage of her assets, and afforded her way to live in Manhattan.

If it wasn’t Kristen, Spitzer could’ve turned to someone else, you say. Yet, apparently Spitzer didn’t want hooker looking types. He  wanted a brunette who looked like a   regular, good-looking girl in NYC. After all he had her come down from NY on Amtrak (like there aren’t enough hookers in D.C).  But the larger point here is that now many young people are willing to go to extremes just to be able to afford living in Manhattan. Parts of Manhattan, like the Lower East Side, The East Village, and Meatpacking district that were formerly dangerous combat zones are now seen as the places to be. Quite a branding makeover in the past few years.

A recent article in the NY Post Sunday magazine pointed out the dilemma high-priced real estate presents to people on the career ladder. One young exec noted the expensive  rents and and condo prices, and said there are only so many high paying jobs that enable you to afford Manhattan. According to him, career climbers are doing things like sleeping with bosses just to get those high-priced jobs.

Others take a more socially-approved route and work insane hours to land the executive suite. But with huge layoffs looming in the financial sector, NY’s biggest industry, the fight for economic survival in the Apple is about to get very interesting

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