CNN Travel talks to young NY super-consumers

Written by By Lorenzo Bracciale, CNN

Young New Yorkers have had their day in the spotlight. In recent months, commercials and magazines have taken aim at them, highlighting their innovative food style and social agendas.

Within the last five years, they’ve gone from being referred to as ” Gen Y ” to just “Y” — the words themselves no longer register on adults’ lips in as many terms.

The time may be nearing when young New Yorkers’ personality is explored further — as a creative force to be reckoned with, a group that has shaped history.

Across New York, restaurants that serve classic cocktails have popped up in trendy neighborhoods with colorful titles such as “The Bucket List” and “Cocktails With Attitude.”

Their longevity also speaks to the borough’s enduring love affair with the cocktail, which has historically become associated with nightlife and partying.

Recently, young New Yorkers’ concerns over gentrification and diversity were one of the main themes discussed at a conference on “The Future of New York” hosted by the New York Times.

At the conference, the Times identified young New Yorkers as the city’s “crossroads of perpetual change” and supporters of “renewal.”

Do this, and you’ll be welcome.

Take this group and transplant them to a more conservative neighborhood such as Birmingham, England. As they engage in a lively dialogue with the staff at Cost Cutters, it’s not hard to see that they likely wouldn’t be welcomed there.

But then again, the drink I was drinking (a large margarita) was a traditional American one. It was clear that a margarita, where with tequila, tequila, tequila and, of course, lime juice. So was a highball, too. Would younger New Yorkers find this London scene quite novel?

“I think they will find it liberating,” said David Myers, a barman at Yankee Candle and beverage director at the New York restaurant Aureole, about Madison Square Garden, one of the worst concerts venues in New York City. “Our mindset as young professionals has changed; it’s not this girly, dependent vibe — they embrace masculinity. And that’s what makes you feel young, badass.”

And what about London? Will the space favor another group of young New Yorkers the way The Bachelorette would in a majority male city?

“London is different. Our government is really conservative and you have issues with mass immigration and feeling out of place. A lot of people over the age of 45 can feel that feeling. The social scene is more discreet — if a young person is talking in a pub they will probably be received as someone of wealth or in some way special.”

Sophie Culley, who was approached by the newspaper about the interview, said that London’s idea of class is “blurred.”

“For example, the Sunday market and restaurant scene that the Sunday Times highlighted is very traditional,” she said. “You have the traditional kind of 1950s pubs and stuff, but also a lot of local bars and great food like St Marks.

“They all exist at the same time,” she said, and work together to give London’s young New Yorkers a glimpse of a more “flexible” city — and one with a community.

And, there’s the possibility that London’s and New York’s drink scene may evolve in a similar way.

“I’m in the middle of going through London with my husband — we’re buying a house. And it’s brought up issues of gender equality. We have two boys and a girl and we’ve been discussing the debates about gender equality in this interview. We’re trying to be really open and inclusive with the boys so we can live together in a utopian community.”

“And I want the same thing — for the boys to be able to ride their bikes without having to tell them to slow down!”

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