It’s Friday kids! What should we do tonight? After all, we live in New York City, the swingingest, never sleepingest, city of all the bright, shiny cities in the world. So what strikes your fancy? Should we take in a Broadway show? Maybe do some bar hopping? How about a jazz club, we could catch a movie, or go dancing.
Oh wait, we can’t do any of that because we live in New York City, Emperor Cuomo and Chairman de Blasio won’t let us do these things because they say they are bad for us.
In Thursday night’s debate, President Donald Trump quite accurately called New York City a “ghost town.” Our mayor took offense at this description.
.@realDonaldTrump, New Yorkers are bringing our city back stronger than ever. It’s nothing short of heroic. The only “ghost town “ will be Mar-a-Lago after you’re forced into retirement on Election Day.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) October 23, 2020
So let’s take a look at the facts on the ground, the barren, empty, barely trodden ground of New York City. Half a million Gothamites are unemployed, which is a rate of 14.5 percent that at this time last year was 3.5 percent. The national unemployment rate is currently half what it is here. In Miami, unemployment is at 8.1 percent. Despite the fact that New York City was one the first states hit by the Chinese virus, its recovery is lagging well behind the rest of the nation.
So how about schools? I mean surely the pitter-patter of children hustling to and from school must have returned by now, right? Wrong. Here’s a prescient passage from the New York Post two weeks ago:
In-person attendance at some Big Apple schools is so low, instead of students; teachers expect to see tumbleweeds rolling down the hallways, staffers told The Post …“Ghost town is definitely the right word for it,” a Brooklyn high school teacher said. “It’s very quiet.”
Ah. Interesting. Meanwhile, many people, especially rich people, are escaping the city like it’s on fire. Real estate values are crumbling to lows not seen since Manhattan was purchased from the Indians with wampum, and the subways are not only empty and vandalized, they are downright dangerous. About the only thing in New York City on an upswing is the murder rate.
Is there a plan to correct any of this? To get the city back to work, back on its feet? Back to capacity? Gov. Cuomo seems to have a two-pronged plan. First, go on a book tour to sign copies of his celebratory treatise on abject mismanagement. Second, to make sure that when a vaccine is approved by the federal government, New Yorkers can’t have any. Shrewd.
Somehow of course, this must all be Donald Trump’s fault. It always is, right? No, not this time. I mean look, most of the country is vastly more open than New York City, vastly more employed, vastly more schooled, and Trump is also the president of those places, so how exactly does that work? Donald Trump is not the one denying New Yorkers the right to live their lives, Cuomo and de Blasio are.
I’ve lived in New York City for two decades. Anyone who tells you it is not a ghost town is a liar with a political agenda. Let’s be absolutely clear, if it were not for the pandemic, if the current conditions in New York City came about as a result of any other cause, it would be called what it is: a disaster and the fastest most destructive down turn in the history of the city.
But we aren’t supposed to say any of that. We aren’t supposed to speak the truth because to speak the truth is somehow not showing enough deference to the virus. Well, screw the freakin’ virus. New York City is a ghost town. It is a shell of itself, and if this keeps up we will all be dead from natural causes long before it ever comes back.
If some people think that what is happening in New York City right now is needed and justified, so be it. We disagree, but don’t try to pretend that it isn’t happening. Don’t say everything is fine and dandy and New York City isn’t a ghost town at all. It’s just a lie, and worse, it’s a refusal to act like an adult and address very real, complicated problems.