Role Reversals

Spaniards en masa toting their new found wealth up and down Fifth Avenue. Lots of that in the press lately, including a nice column by Aurora Luque in yesterday's Sur.  Aurora is a great poet from Malaga who is in New York this week for a couple of readings. (She will be going to Dickinson in October for our Semana Poética!) A couple of weeks ago she told me she was actually excited about visiting Buffalo. Ok, Aurora, tell me about it when you get back.   Anyway, I'm getting a little tired of hearing Spaniards talk about how cheap NY is. Who could have imagined that? New York City started an advertising campaign here last Fall encouraging Spaniards to imagine how easy it is to just jet off to the Big Apple for a weekend of shopping and fun. And apparently Spaniards have responded–they are flying to NY in record numbers and outspending everyone.  I've noticed this on my recent flights to the US. For years there have typically been more Americans on the plane than Spaniards, but that is certainly no longer the case.  And poor Italy: the news back in December that Spain has passed Italy in terms of per capita income cemented a notion that Spain was on the up and Italy headed down that had been brewing for years. Il sorpasso! So Spaniards go to New York to throw around Euros and Italians come to Spain to feel the energy, maybe not zapped, but zapateroized. There was an inteview in yesterday's El País with Italian philosopher Paolo Flores D'Arcais in which he talked about just that, about young, educated Italians fleeing to Spain to seek opportunities. Just last night I came across a group of young Italians on Calle Granada. They clearly felt right at home here–loud! They seemed to be tourists, but no doubt they were taking mental notes and making comparisons. They might be back.  But tough times are ahead and it will be very interesting to see how Spain responds.  

No comments:

Post a Comment