This chapter considers New York City as the cultural, political and ideological epoch for Rent, its importance within the history of AIDS, and the audience's reception of Rent in a post-9/11 context. Both Ed Koch and David Dinkins took regressive action on preventative measures against infection when an estimated one in five in the city had AIDS and one-fifth of people living with AIDS in the USA lived in New York City, penalising both gay men and intravenous drug users through the closure of bathhouses and needle exchange programmes amid a crack epidemic. Both communities, which are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, are significantly represented in the main cast of Rent, though Jonathan Larson's commentary on the politics that exacerbated the AIDS crisis in New York City is notable in its absence, and is only tangible in the capitalist vision of Benny, who later concedes to the romanticism of his bohemian friends.