"The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. I admire its purity. A survivor, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality."The Dreaded Killemall rises from the deep and stomps through Manhattan, squishing everything in its path! Alice starts to panic. Charlie braces himself for a futile last stand. And Bob is.... grinning like a loon? "It's the rare Purple Killemall! I knew they existed! It can generate enough force per square foot to crush iron. It could destroy us and never even notice! It's as glorious as I dreamed it would be!" Alice and Charlie exchange worried glances, terrified that their friend has gone off the deep end... but no. Bob has spent his lifetime researching Killemalls. Or he has the only copy of a book that describes them and has always wanted to see them. Or he risked his reputation on the fact that they exist and now is vindicated. Never fear, viewers: Bob's fanboy trance will last only a moment and then he will swiftly come up with a plan to defeat the Killemall because knows its one weakness—or demonstrate that it is only enraged because of the large branch trapped under a scale on its highly sensitive dorsal crest. In more comedic works or works in which It Can Think, the sincere flattery can even lead to a full-fledged Fluffy Tamer situation. Obviously this trope can apply to more mundane threats, usually natural (like tornadoes, or sharks). Compare Villain Respect; contrast Misaimed Fandom, Nightmare Fetishist, In Love with Your Carnage, Measuring the Marigolds, The Xenophile.
— Ash from Alien, describing the Xenomorph
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Anime and Manga
- Hange Zoe from Attack on Titan has an unhealthy fascination with Titans and her response to seeing Eren's partially transformed arm is to beg to touch it.
- Claymore gives us Dae, who becomes obsessed with seeing Priscilla in all her glory after discovering her severed arm, which still held an insane amount of power. When he finally does find her, he spends the entire time gushing about her, creeping out his companion Rubel in the process.
- L from Death Note. He only takes on cases that interest him and though understated he finds his Kira suspect, Light Yagami, to be quite fascinating and regards him as a Worthy Opponent (Foe Romance Subtext Ensues). L gets very annoyed at the appearance of a Second Kira, a copycat killer, because it's not HIS Kira and not playing by the same rules. In the live action movies he's clearly entertained to watch Light manipulate Naomi Misora on the monitors.
Souichiro Yagami: We have to stop this!
L: We're just getting to the good part.
- A in installment Doraemon The Movie that takes part at the bottom of the ocean has this happen. Nobita, who up until that point has been ridiculed by his friends for telling them of the existence of giant octopus (and he did see it), is overjoyed when the monster appears and smash their undersea camp. The other kids lampshade his improper rejoicing.
- A Filler scene in Dragon Ball Z has Ginyu (In Bulma's body) watching Freezer's last transformation and fighting with Goku, commenting on how great and powerful he was and confusing the hell out of Gohan, Krillin and Piccolo.
- Hellsing gives us the Doctor's reacting to Alucard summoning an army of hundreds of thousands of familiars with a combination of euphoria and excitement.
- Haiyore! Nyarko-san gives us Yoriko Yasaka, who treats the Lovecraftian deities living in her house as normal guests, and even considers their actions adorable, mainly because their job is to protect her beloved son Mahiro (and they've saved both his and her lives already). She even gives her approval to Nyarko (Nyarlathotep)'s romantic pursuit of Mahiro. However, she makes it VERY clear that if any lines are crossed, deities or not, the forks are coming out — and she has them scared shitless.
- Doctor Strange has one of these moments in a Marvel Adventures title. ("Such magnificent power. It could destroy us at whim.")
- Fluttershy's comment that "Nature is so fascinating!" from a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) comic book has achieved memetic status on the internet. Now people are posting it combined with all kinds of abhorrent nature facts.
- In the Tintin story The Shooting Star, Prof. Phostle is excited about the upcoming end-of-the-world meteor, saying such absurdities as "It will destroy the world tonight. Tomorrow, everyone will know my name for discovering it!"
- In Totally Awesome Hulk, Lady Hellbender is a Collector of the Strange who is upset that the heroes have shrunk down the various Kaiju they've defeated. She is also in complete awe of Fin Fang Foom (a massive, evil dragon) when it appears and wants to add it to her collection. And once the Hulk proves himself to be as strong as he boasts he is? She immediately captures him and tries to take him away.
- Child of the Storm: When the Winter Soldier first shows up, practically everyone in the HYDRA/Death Eater alliance is scared silent... except for Gravemoss, who practically squees.
- Johanna Smith-Rhodes' attitude to the most dangerous creatures on the Discworld. It is commented of her that were they aware of each others' existence, she would get fan-mail from Steve Irwin. Witness her animal-handling abilities in Nature Studies and Slipping Between Worlds.
- Several in the Alien movies.
Ash: The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
- In Alien, Science officer Ash acts like this toward the title creature.
Lambert: You admire it.
Ash: I admire its purity.
- Bishop displays this sort of behavior in Aliens when studying a Facehugger carcass, implying that he'll turn bad by drawing parallels to how Ash, the other synthetic person that once came into contact with the Aliens, reacted to the creature. It's a Red Herring; Bishop remains a good guy.
- In Alien: Resurrection, Dr. Gediman admires the Newborn, as well as the normal Aliens.
- In Devil Girl from Mars: when Nyah unleashes her giant robot and gives a demonstration of its powers, everybody runs away, but Prof. Hennessey hesitates before doing so as he is clearly fascinated by the mechanical monster.
- In the film and the Expanded Universe material, Ray Stantz of the Ghostbusters gets boyishly excited by a lot of the weird, gross, terrifying stuff they encounter.
- In Godzilla 2000, after Godzilla wipes out both the Millennians, and Orga, Anti-Villain Katagiri, the head of CCI and main human baddie who had spent the entire movie trying to kill Godzilla (and the main human hero) just stares up at Godzilla, allowing the Monster King to kill him. Best described as both a Villainous BSOD and a Dying Moment of Awesome
- Doctors Ichiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham of Godzilla (2014) have a quasi-religious attitude towards Godzilla, with Dr. Graham even calling him "a god, for all intents and purposes." Serizawa believes that Godzilla is essentially the personification of the balance of nature and the only hope humanity has of neutralizing the M.U.T.O.s, even if he has to kill people and destroy cities in the process. Admiral Stenz understandably thinks them naive for this.
- In the film The Incredible Hulk Dr. Samuel Sterns becomes enamored of the power and potential of Bruce Banner's mutation, in spite of the danger.
- Matt Hooper in Jaws when he talks about the shark: "...what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It's really a miracle of evolution." There are many quick lines like this in the boat with both Hooper and Quint marveling at this particular shark's incredible strength, tenacity, intelligence, and unpredictability.
- Muldoon from Jurassic Park sees the Velociraptors as Worthy Opponents, to the point his last words are complimenting them for sneaking up on him.
- In Jurassic World, Simon Masrani is both terrified and captivated by the Indominus rex. And although Hoskins sees Owen's Velociraptors as mere tools of war, he's also shown to be rather awe-inspired by them. He tentatively asks Barry if he can touch a restrained Delta, which he does with all the jittery excitement of a little boy.
Claire: Think it'll scare the kids?Masrani: The kids? This'll give the parents nightmares.Claire: Is that ... good?Masrani: It's fantastic.
- In Komodo, Oates expresses admiration for the komodos, calling them beautiful animals from a scientific standpoint.
- Dr. Newton Geizsler in Pacific Rim has an absorbing love for Kaiju as biological masterpieces. So gushing is his admiration that he refers to a Kaiju as "twenty-five hundred tons of awesome" in front of a Jaegar pilot whose brother, as Newt is well aware, was killed by a Kaiju. His lab partner, Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, refers to Newt as a "Kaiju groupie", implying his attitude isn't actually that uncommon.
- There's also at least one cult who worship the Kaiju, even making their temple inside one's skull. They believe that the Kaiju are The Scourge of God sent to punish them for their sins.
- Pitch Black: Upon seeing the huge swarms of vicious night-dwelling flying monsters emerging from underground, Riddick can only whisper: "Beautiful".
- Keyes in Predator 2:
Harrigan: You admire the damn thing.
Keyes: Not for what it does, Harrigan. For what it is. For what we can learn from it.
- Mr Robinson in Predestination speaks kindly of the terrorist called the Fizzle Bomber and how he helped their organization become better at saving lives. Lampshaded by The Barkeeper: "You sound as if you admire him".
- Dr. Clayton Forrester from 1953's The War Of The Worlds could be one of the earliest modern examples. He says of the Fighting-Machine, "This is amazing!"
- How Bolivar Trask views the mutants in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
- Dr. Okun in Independence Day can barely contain his enthusiasm for the aliens' technology and anatomy.
Okum: The last twenty-four hours have been really exciting!President Whitmore: "Exciting"? People are dying out there! I don't think "exciting" is the word I'd choose to describe it!
- The Thing from Another World: Dr. Carrington's attitude regarding the Thing, in a nutshell. Unfortunately, he is so astonished at seeing an actual alien that he assumes the Thing is a being with great knowledge that it could share with mankind (instead of a homicidal brute, which it actually is and all the other characters note), and pulls a number of dastardly acts in an attempt to understand it (and make contact with it).
- In the Ciaphas Cain novel Caves Of Ice, the Omnissiah worshiping enginseer who accompanies Cain when he discovers a Necron tomb while searching the mines below the processing plant his unit's guarding can't understand why Cain wants to blow up the entrance to it and call in the navy to bomb the place into oblivion. He changes his mind after he's the only survivor of a group of "Cogboys" who entered the tomb; he eventually gleefully helps drown the tomb in promethium.
- Dragon expert Lady Sybil has this reaction to the Noble Dragon in Guards! Guards!.
Sybil: Do you realise we're very probably seeing something no-one has seen for centuries?Vimes: Yes, it's a bloody flying alligator setting fire to my city!
- In Dracula, according to Van Helsing, the Count "must indeed have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land. If it be so, then was he no common man: for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the 'land beyond the forest'".
- In Dragon Bones, when Ward sees a Basilisk, he admires its beauty, so fascinated that he hardly notices anything else. Luckily, he is not the one about to be fed to the monster, and he does manage to avoid it's gaze. A much milder example occurs when Ward sees a live dragon for the first time ... but of course, protecting dragons is his family's (woefully neglected for the past few centuries) job, and the dragons are benevolent, usually.
- Near the end of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, the main characters are captured by the Leviathan, a mountain-sized, aeons-old unicelluar life-form.
"Let it come closer for a while," Hagbard said. "I want to get a good close look. I've never had a chance like this before, and I may never see this creature again.""You'll be seeing it from the inside with that attitude," said Dillinger.
- In Meg, almost everyone who encounters the Megalodon has a mix of this and gut-wrenching fear. The fear usually becomes dominant since being that close to the Meg usually means it's going to try to eat you.
- In Momo, when the kids play explorers in the South Pacific. The smart boy playing the professor does this with the "schum-schum gummilastikum" (as it's called in the original German text) and protests when the captain wants to shoot it. Someone knows his tropes.
- In President's Vampire Konrad flat-out admires the nauseating and Squicky effects his poisons and viruses have on people, even going as far as pausing his evil plan for a few minutes so that he can admire their effect on one unlucky visitor. He generally loves viruses, and the worse the effects, the more he appreciates them.
- In The Stormlight Archive, Shardbearers are even more dangerous than usual against soldiers who have never seen one before because they are often tempted to just stand and stare, even as they are cut down.
- Done by a biologist during a river cruise in one of The Witcher novels. Geralt tells him to name the creature after an annoying brat that traveled with them.
"What a specimen, what a specimen," Pitt quickly noted, thrilled no end. "Prehensile cephalic limbs, four pairs of chelae... Strong tail-fan... Sharp claws..."
- In Diane Duane's X-COM novel, one of the base scientists talks admiringly about the biology of the Ethereal aliens, to the point of suggesting that humans could modify their own genetics in similar ways. This is a tip-off that he's a traitor.
- Raina in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives this impression. She appears to work in her incredibly unethical, extremely illegal, and very dangerous field primarily to get the opportunity to be close to and create super beings. She's thrilled at the chance to get to talk to The Clairvoyant, even though the reason is because he just killed her predecessor, and is very disappointed when he turns out to be just a very well informed person without superpowers, especially because he doesn't share her interests.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles occasionally gets excited over the Monster of the Week. "A werewolf! One of the classics!"
Giles: Grave robbing? That's new. Interesting.Buffy: I know you meant to say "gross and disturbing."Giles: ...Yes, yes, yes of course. Uh, terrible thing. Must... must put a stop to it. Damn it.
- The late Steve Irwin (aka The Crocodile Hunter) always reacted to wild animals, particularly the very dangerous ones, with a blend of respect and boyish glee. Ironically, he was killed by a creature that's largely harmless.
- An episode of CSI featured a Mad Artist Serial Killer that killed people and used rigor mortis to pose their corpses. At one point the team interrogate another artist played by Jeffrey Tambor who had met the killer at some point. While he thought the killer's regular sketches were trash, when he is shown the photos of the corpses he is in awe at their artistic value. Never the less, he helps them catch the killer.
- Doctor Who does this practically Once an Episode — the Doctor is sort of an intergalactic Crocodile Hunter. This is deconstructed in the episode "Tooth and Claw" when Queen Victoria (It Makes Sense in Context) declares The Doctor to be persona non grata in the British Empire due to his flippant treatment of horrible monsters.
- In the old series story "The Green Death," after he kills the giant insect that the giant maggot has evolved into, he says that it's beautiful.
- In "Asylum of the Daleks" the leader of the Daleks explains that they don't simply destroy the aberrant (and therefore imperfect) Daleks because they find the hatred born of their insanity to be beautiful.
- While battling a robot intent on killing him in "Robot", the Doctor is able to disable it by putting his hat over its eyes. It suddenly stops moving, and he Hubristically goes right up to it, smiling and whispering to himself "it's so beautiful, so beautiful". Of course, this just leads to the robot karate chopping him in the neck.
- In The Girl In the Fireplace, Ten examines the delicate clockwork an elaborately costumed (18th Century French Versailles) killer Steam Punk robots, and exclaims "You are beautiful!"
- A big part of Walter Bishop's character in Fringe.
- In a similar vein, Jeff Corwin clearly has a lot of respect and admiration for venomous snakes and dangerous reptiles. However, despite displaying a similar level of Man Child glee, Jeff also tended to be much more cautious than Steve Irwin when it came to the overall handling of certain animals or situations.
- Teppei from Ultraman Mebius tends to burst out in admiration of any historical Monster of the Week.
- A Downplayed example from Psych, but in the Season 4 finale, Mary Lightly finally meets Mr. Yang, the infamous murderer he spent several years tracking when he accompanies Shawn and Gus to get answers out of her regaridng Mr. Yin at the asylum. When she acknowledges his presne when he points out someone had to be workign with her, he has this gleeful admiration his face.
- Ash vs. Evil Dead: When Ash brings the Necronomicon to occult book dealer Lionel Hawkins, the man can barely contain his glee. And when Ash comes up with his rather moronic plan to summon a demon for interrogation, Lionel is thrilled at the prospect.
- Urza from Magic: The Gathering spent millenia preparing for the war against Phyrexia. But the longer he fought them, the more his methods began to emulate Phyrexia's and the more he came to admire Phyrexian technology. This eventually reached a head when he and his allies ventured into Phyrexia itself to destroy it. As they ventured deeper into Phyrexia, Urza realized that it embodied everything he ever wanted the world to be. When Urza finally entered the heart of Phyrexia, Yawgmoth asked him what he desired. Urza then betrayed his allies and everything he once fought for by bowing down to Yawgmoth, claiming that he only wished to stand by his side.
- The Cult of the Beast God in the Mecha vs Kaiju setting revere the giant monsters, and attempt to placate them with prayer and offerings. It's a Path of Inspiration — the real objects of its veneration, known only to the inner circle, are the Oni, who are pretty much the bad guys of the entire setting.
- The Adeptus Mechanicus of Warhammer 40,000 have a notoriously poor record when it comes to uncovering Necron Tomb Worlds. They become awed by all the shiny, advanced technology, poke a little too far, wake the Necrons up, and die horribly.
- Also, radical Inqusitors tend to end up this way. Often used to highlight just how far they've fallen into heresy.
- Crysis 2 has Jacob Hargreave admiring the Ceph bioweapon currently decimating humanity:
Hargreave: Cleaning up — it's ingenious, isn't it. Think of the Argentine Cattle Crisis two years ago. Or the British BSE outbreak in the last century. The issue was not slaughtering the animals, that was easily done. The problem was disposal. What do you do with the millions of rotting corpses? Well, there you see the answer the Ceph have evolved. They wipe us out, they break us down, they reduce the environmental impact almost to zero. Exemplary.
- General Castor of Dawn of War 2: Retribution openly admires the Tyranid Hive Tyrant, mostly because its head will look perfect on his trophy wall.
- Castor: Aim low.
- While she's not studying a monster per se, Merrill in Dragon Age II has a moment in the Legacy DLC where she expresses fascination over the magical powers of an altar dedicated to the Old God Dumat. Keep in mind that Merrill is a Dalish elf and the Old Gods were the deities of the Tevinter Imperium, which once crushed the elven civilization of Arlathan and turned them into slaves.
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Iron Bull reveals that the Qunari revere dragons for their power and believe that their horns are due to the Qunari having some kind of connection to dragons. At the same time, the Qunari do not hesitate to slay dragons because they embody raw chaotic fury, and the Qun abhors chaos. Bringing Iron Bull with you to fight high dragons is one way to gain approval from him.
- Pokey Minch from EarthBound speaks highly of the universal cosmic destroyer Giygas, and eventually becomes his right-hand man. This admiration is short-lived, however, as he pulls the plug on the machine sustaining Giygas's mind and proceeds to call him an "almighty idiot."
- Hermaeus Mora aka Herma Mora from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim practically lures the player into believing this towards him. Sure he's shifty, malevolent and downright creepy but in the end he helps you like a best friend.
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game has Egon admiring Ivo Shandor's work from time to time. He's quick to add that he was completely evil. Ray reminds Egon to "stick to the Light Side." "It's hard."
- Mass Effect 1 has both Liara and Shiala expressing regret over the destruction of the Thorian as it was an unique and ancient life-form.
Harbinger: Shepard! You have become an annoyance!
- In Mass Effect 2, The Illusive Man wants you to preserve the Collector Base for Cerberus, in order to study its technology. A base that was liquefying kidnapped humans to turn into a Reaper. One of your followup dialogue options reads 'This place is an abomination'.
- Much later, in Mass Effect 3 Garrus explains to a handy crewman how perfect the Reapers are as Eldritch Abomination killing machines. When the crewman is horrified, Garrus adds that if you can't respect your enemy's strengths, you'll never truly understand them.
- Similarly, the turian primarch remarks to Shepard that the soldier in him admires the Reapers' proficiency at warfare (in particular, that they're better at turian tactics than the turians are). The turian in him knows he's watching the death of 14,000 years of civilization.
- Most of Paragon Shepard's teammates repeatedly think that they must have gone off their rocker, since Shepard seems to have a consistant need to seek out, befriend and then earn the loyalty of every ridiculously scary alien race in the Galaxy. Highlights include having a Geth wearing part of Shepard's former armour as a tribute to them, having an Odd Friendship with the Rachni Queen and semi-adopting a teenage Krogan.
- Inverted with the Reapers, who freely acknowledge that they have come to admire Shepard's uncanny knack of being able to repeatedly thwart them. In the second game, after Shepard was temporarily killed, the Reapers even ordered that Collectors to try to retrieve their body for study, simply because they couldn't fathom how a single human could be so utterly dangerous!
Leviathan: None have possessed the strength in previous Cycles. Your own species could be destroyed with a single thought. But you are different. I have witnessed your actions in this Cycle: the destruction of Sovereign; the fall of the Collectors. The Reapers perceive you as a threat. And I must understand why?!
- A more straightforward inversion comes in the form of the Leviathans, an Eldritch Abomination race that admires Shepard for being the first thing in any cycle to scare the Reapers. It is due to this that they agree to help them in this cycle.
- Cynthia, from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, loves learning and teaching new facts about the Creation Trio. Especially, Giratina.
- Blitz in Shadowrun Returns Dragonfall is downright impressed by the MKVI, a massively cyber-modified troll that's had its sentience and humanity surgically removed by all the chrome and wants you to keep it. All your other party members are disgusted and want it dead.
- Monster Hunter 4 and 4 Ultimate has the Guildmarm, who crushes hard on monsters. She especially treats the Brachydios as if it was the man of her dreams.
Guildmarm: "Those strong arms! That explosive personality! And he's right there in the Volcanic Hollow...Oh, I could faint! Be a dear, Doodle, and give him a wink for me, okay?"
- Girl Genius Sparks are known to do things like open city gates so they can take a closer look at the enemy war machines/mutants/etc. that are attacking them at the time.
- The Glass Scientists' main character admires all forms of abominations, be it zombie dogs or werewolves and crusades to make others see them the same way he does, even succeeding at times.
- In Skin Horse, when Sweetheart describes the Necropolis to her teammates and Officially Not A Mad Scientist Virginia Lee:
Sweetheart: Over the decades, various zombie plagues have spread there, producing its current population of over one million undead. It's an empire of flesh-eating horrors. Any questions?Dr Lee: Are all the pathogens biological or has nanotech been introduced? What happens when plagues interact? Have new strains evolved?Sweetheart: Do that thing again where you convince us you're not mad.
- From XKCD: Okay, never mind, what's wrong with scientists is that you do see wonder and beauty in everything. Oh god, it's moving!
- Parodied by The Onion: "Cop Grudgingly Admits Suspect Is The Best Goddamn Pedophile He's Seen In 30 Years On The Force"
- When the Game Grumps play the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers SNES Licensed Game and catch sight of Eye Guy:
Jon: OOOOOOOOOOOH! EW! EWWWWW! TUMOR-ASS EYE DUDE!
Arin: Aw, that's cute!
- From South Park: Cartman only works with Cthulhu because of his ability to strike terror and misery into people he hates... and his friends.
- Actually, it's implied that Cthulhu is the one admiring Cartman.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Captain Tarkin admires the design of the Citadel, a brutal Separatist maximum-security prison, even as the Jedi are helping him escape from it. Ahsoka calls him out on it, but Anakin concedes that he has a point.
- From Turtles Forever: The original animated incarnation of the Shredder absolutely gushes with unrestrained admiration as he watches a video file on the much more powerful and deadly Utrom Shredder, Ch'rell, from the then-current version of TMNT. Then he actually gets to meet Ch'rell. Let's just say it doesn't bode well for 1987 Shredder. In fact, by the end of the movie, it's not good for every single existing universe within the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle multiverse.
- The Ultimate Spider-Man incarnation of Norman Osborn is in awe when seeing his son turning into Venom and trying to kill him.
- A Running Gag on Kim Possible.
Ron: That would be so cool if it wasn't going to hurt us.
- Biologists LOVE finding new and creepy things. They also love finding OLD and creepy things. This is not an attractive fish. This is not an alien. It is a squid. This is not a xenomorph, it is a shark with detachable jaws.
- It is fun to go on a walk with a group of biologists. If someone mentions that there's a really big spider in that bush over there, everyone will come running and admire it — about the opposite of the reaction you get from the average person.
- Winston Churchill had this attitude towards Adolf Hitler for his role in Germany's economic recovery.
- Storm chasers can often do this (and it's even gotten the derisory nicknames "stormgasm" and "tornadogasm" from their almost-orgasmic sounds on seeing a tornado). The reason for it is from the storm chaser's perspective is that they have invested time, money, and more into getting the perfect video of a tornado + the adrenaline rush of seeing one, especially a historic one = this reaction. Unfortunately, however, it's often taken for/seen as self-indulgent disrespect to the victims of tornadoes and severe storms, even if no disrespect is intended.
- Expect to be looked at as if you're doing this if you like spiders, and are called upon to remove some particularly big and beautiful specimen. Especially weird if you live in Europe and there are no spider species venomous enough to really endanger humans. (Of course, a biologist may have this attitude to a real dangerous animal, too, see above.)
- For some longtime residents of New York City, its time as the Big Rotten Apple is missed since since the cost of living was lower then and the proliferation of corporate domination of its public space has robbed the city of some of its singular character.