Our friend Esquared posted an excerpt from the Dec. 21-28, 1987 issue of New York magazine. It's a cover story by Pete Hamill titled "The New York We’ve Lost."
Here are a few passages:
“It was a city, as John Cheever once wrote, that “was still filled with a river light, when you heard the Benny Goodman quartets from a radio in the corner stationery store, and when almost everybody wore a hat.” In that city, the taxicabs were all Checkers, with ample room for your legs, and the drivers knew where Grand Central was and always helped with the luggage. ... In that city, you did not smoke on the subway. You wore galoshes in the rain. Waitresses called you honey. You slept with windows open to the summer night.
That New York is gone now, hammered into dust by time, progress, accident, and greed. Yes, most of us distrust the memory of how we lived here, not so very long ago. Nostalgia is a treacherous emotion, at once a curse against the present and an admission of permanent resentment, never to be wholly trusted. For many of us, looking back is simply too painful; we must confront the unanswerable question of how we let it all happen, how the Lost City was lost. And so most of us have trained ourselves to forget. …”
I suppose that 30 years from now (as close to us as we are to 1958), when I've been safely tucked into the turf at the Green-Wood, someone will write in these pages about a Lost New York that includes Area and the Mudd Club and Nell's, David's Cookies and Aca Joe and Steve's ice cream. Someone might mourn Lever House or Trump Tower or the current version of Madison Square Garden. Anything is possible. But if so, I hope that at least one old and wizened New Yorker will reach for a pen and try to explain about our lost glories: and mention spaldeens and trolleys and — if he can make it clear, if he has the skill and the memory — even Willie Mays.
You can access the entire article through Nonetheless here.