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The Weekly Blague

There Goes the Neighborhood

Walking down 9th Avenue in New York the other day, I was taken aback to see a big Google sign on the building across the street from Chelsea Market. It wasn't there last time I walked by, even though, as I've just learned, the Internet monolith has occupied the building since 2008. It was simply a case of the company making it official: Howdy! We're your new neighbors and we're here to stay!

My feelings about Google have been less than positive since they stopped referring search traffic to this Website five months ago. It was one thing to know they were busy taking over the world thousands of miles away, in Mountain View, California. But to see that they'd set up an outpost on the fringes of my neighborhood, within walking distance of my house, felt like a violation of my personal space. I'd have felt the same way if the George W. Bush Library had moved into the building: offended.

It’s not as if I could walk into the Google Building, welcome them to the neighborhood with a bag of fresh bagels, and ask if somebody could explain to me why they’d cut off my search traffic. Nor could I have asked them for an advance on some of that $125 million they’re supposed to pay to the Authors Guild for copyright violations. One cannot reason with monopolies, even monopolies whose motto is “Don’t Be Evil.” (I’m sure that sign is coming soon.) To walk into the Google Building and start demanding answers to unpleasant questions sounds like a good way to get arrested, and I’m sure Google security is state of the art.

There is, in short, nothing I can do about my new neighbors but learn to live with them. Just as I learned to live with a Trump tower three blocks away. Which serves as a good reminder that there are far more offensive things in this city physically closer to me than Google.

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