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Losing heart

Features |

Stephen Bayley finds a city in decline

In 1977, New York, by which I mean Manhattan, was filthy, lawless and dangerous. Then the great graphic designer Milton Glaser, responding to a call from the frazzled Mayor, created the consciousness-raising ‘I ♠ New York’, now as widely an imitated device as the True Cross. Icon is an abused term, but here is a real one. Never has there been a more successful bit of city re-branding.  To be sure, I too ♠ed New York once.  The following year I made my very first visit and was, of course, helplessly infatuated by the delirious romance of it all. I probably had a cocktail in the Peacock Alley Lounge of the Waldorf-Astoria where Cole Porter once played. In fact, I’m certain I did. Perhaps I even bought an ‘I ♠ New York’ T-shirt or mug. I don’t think so, but memory plays tricks. Now? I am not so very sure...

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