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Commentary By Nicole Gelinas

The Life and Death of American Cities

Cities New York City

Barely two months before his death in June, at 89, Richard Ravitch, the real-estate developer turned public servant, was doing the same thing he had done regularly for more than six decades: sitting at his desk in a Manhattan office and holding an in-person meeting about the future of his city. Much of Midtown was still empty, but Mr. Ravitch was not the type to work from home.

To get to my last meeting with him, I had to do what has become familiar in New York City over the past few years: walk through an empty lobby and go up an empty elevator. Until the end, even as a younger generation of business people viewed the full-time office as optional — along with Manhattan itself — Mr. Ravitch remained moored to a physical place.

Continue reading the entire piece here at The New York Times (Paywall)


Nicole Gelinas is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal. Follow her on Twitter here.

Photo by Getty Images/Bettmann/Contributor