I hear a lot of older people who have been here a while talk about "Old New York" and how much they miss it. While I think they are looking back through rose colored glasses, and glossing over a lot of the important improvements the city has made, I can see their point.
Kerouac never would have paid $20 just to get in the door and hear some jazz. Of course he also wouldn't have been able to walk through downtown at 1 AM with no fear of being robbed or attacked. He could no longer afford to live in Manhattan though. Apparently the artist communities still exist, in Brooklyn and other places. Safety, cleanliness, and a recycling bin on every corner are the symbols of "Today's New York." It is certainly a trade-off many were willing to make. I haven't decided yet if it is a trade-off I would have been willing to make.