If The 1% Stifles New York’s Creative Talent, I’m Out Of Here

George, E-mail the writer From Rockville to Manhattan? Pundits in New York have mentioned Montgomery County School Superintendent Joshua P. Starr as one of five possible contenders for the job of New York City schools chancellor when a new mayor takes office Jan. 1. Against that backdrop, staff writer Geoff Decker sorted through the rumors and political jockeying to handicap several strong contenders. Thus did Starrs name emerge. Earlier in his career, Starr worked in the New York system, the nations largest, starting as a special education teacher and ultimately serving as director of school performance and accountability. He was superintendent in Stamford, Ct. , before arriving in Montgomery County in July 2011. Schools spokesman Dana Tofig said Monday afternoon that no one has contacted Starr about the chancellors job and that Starr has had no conversations about it. Tofig said Starrs comments on GothamSchools hold true. Starr was quoted as saying: I have a job right now that I love and that Im focused on. Im flattered to have my name come up in the New York City conversation but Im deeply committed to the job right now.

From Rockville to New York: Montgomery chief’s name part of the school buzz

I moved to New York in the mid 1970s because it was a center of cultural ferment especially in the visual arts (my dream trajectory, until I made a detour), though there was a musical draw, too, even before the downtown scene exploded. New York was legendary. It was where things happened, on the east coast, anyway. One knew in advance that life in New York would not be easy, but there were cheap rents in cold-water lofts without heat, and the excitement of being here made up for those hardships. I didn’t move to New York to make a fortune. Survival, at that time, and at my age then, was enough. Hardship was the price one paid for being in the thick of it. As one gets a little older, those hardships aren’t so romantic they’re just hard. The trade-off begins to look like a real pain in the ass if one has been here for years and years and is barely eking out a living. The idea of making an ongoing creative life whether as a writer, an artist, a filmmaker or a musician is difficult unless one gets a foothold on the ladder, as I was lucky enough to do. I say “lucky” because I have no illusions that talent is enough; there are plenty of talented folks out there who never get the break they deserve. Some folks believe that hardship breeds artistic creativity. I don’t buy it. One can put up with poverty for a while when one is young, but it will inevitably wear a person down. I don’t romanticize the bad old days.