After 9/11, there was an intense pride in New York. The bad guys had hit us hard, and we knew the fight ahead would be tough, but we also knew New York would rally. We didn’t need signs to tell us “we are all in this together” — we knew it was true. We lived it.
Not a single family I remember in New York even considered leaving, mine included. This was our home, and you fight for your home. It’s a totally different feeling today in this city.
Why Would People Stay in the City?
Almost every day now, I talk to other lifelong New Yorkers who say they just can’t do this anymore. They remember what life was like back in the early 1990s, with more than 2,200 murders in a year at the peak, and they don’t want to stick around for that.
Sadly, I can’t think of a compelling reason for many of them to stay. I have family members and friends considering moving to Texas, Tennessee, Florida, and South Carolina, and I try to be helpful in their decision-making process. I don’t try to convince them this city is going to be OK.
Here’s why: COVID-19 and Democrats’ policies have finally combined to create a death spiral for America’s largest city, one from which it may never fully recover.
I don’t say any of this lightly, and as a born-and-raised New Yorker, it feels like sacrilege even to think it. New York City has always had its challenges. In fact, part of the city’s appeal was the difficulty of trying to thrive here as we struggled through. We really believed Frank Sinatra when he told us if we could make it here, we can make it anywhere. This was the place we wanted to be.
Now that’s changing too. A big part of why so many people have been coming to New York City for so long is its career opportunities. This is where the big jobs were. But why fight traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel every day to get to your 40th-floor office cubicle when you could get just as much done at home, using your own French press and wearing your pajamas?
New York City isn’t the only urban center where mismanagement and turmoil has prompted residents to consider an exodus. The same could be said about many of the country’s large cities, from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco.
COVID-19 has already brought about a massive rethink in the city value proposition. Living in midtown Manhattan, as I do, is far less appealing if you don’t have to go to an office tower nearby. If you aren’t required on premises anymore, why not move outside the city to a house with enough square footage to live like an adult? Or move to an income tax-free state? In addition to New York state income tax, New York City is one of only a few cities in the United States that imposes an additional personal income tax rate, ranging from 3.078 percent to 3.876 percent.
After experiencing a pandemic for which the single greatest risk is population density, living among 8.5 million people stacked on top of each other in giant concrete dormitories is going to be far less appealing in the future.
Democrats’ Policies Are Insane
Add to that the petty mask tyranny and other indignities we’ve all endured here as part of an inept and politicized Wuhan virus response. You must a wear a mask in Central Park, even if you are social distancing and even though outdoor transmission is almost no risk, because Democrats insist on it.
As I write this, gyms and outdoor pools remain closed, but thousands of protesters gather daily to shriek about social justice and the need to tear down statues of dead white men. Democratic politicians here are fine with all this. They encourage it.
Then there’s Democrats’ anti-cop insanity. Because of pandering leftists such as Mayor Bill de Blasio, violent crime is ruining the lives of countless New Yorkers. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, will die violent deaths in the years ahead — all because the Democratic Party insists on forgetting the lessons about law and order this city learned the hard way.
How bad will it get? Already, shootings are spiking, and murders are way up compared to last year. There’s a growing sense on the streets that lawlessness is ascendant. De Blasio insists upon giving criminals a free hand to pillage and terrorize the law-abiding citizens around them.
Bad Politics Has Ruined New York City
I recently took my dog for a walk around lunchtime, on one of what would be the most crowded blocks in the city during normal times, and I saw an almost-naked man lying on the sidewalk, injecting heroin into his arm. I’ve spent more than 30 years living in this city and worked in the worst crime neighborhoods when I was in NYPD Intelligence, and until last week, I had never seen a junkie shooting up in broad daylight on Broadway.
What is there to do? Call the NYPD? They don’t want any part of the thankless, possibly career-ending street battle that could occur while arresting a deranged suspect. It would take only one passerby video recording the encounter and claiming some “racism” or “police brutality” occurred in the arrest, and every national media outlet and ruthless cop-hating activist would seize on it.
Left-wing politics has ruined this city. I never thought I’d write that sentence, but here we are.
Despite all this, I plan to stick around for Gotham’s collapse. While the insane left outvotes the rational voices here, I’ll advocate for a return to law and order as much as I can. I’ll do what I can to fight for this place, more from a sense of loyalty to what it once was than any real hope of bringing it back.
Democrats’ tyrannical pandemic response and anti-cop mobs have come together to end a once-great city. If I’m right, the impending suffering will be immense, a very costly cautionary tale for the rest of the country. Unless we wake up to the causes of it, the downfall of many great American metropolises may soon follow.