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Blue York City: Leftist Urban Governance, Billionaires & Elmo

Blue York City: Leftist Urban Governance, Billionaires & Elmo

The three of us stepped outside our Times Square hotel into the humid sea of humanity on this clear and warm day. This was my sons (15 & 10) first time in NYC and my first time playing purposeful tourist as opposed to my typical airport-hotel-meeting-hotel-airport NY itinerary.

Say what you will about the Disneyfication (the corporate, financial and retail domination) of Times Square, but I am more comfortable walking my kids amongst M&Ms World and Hershey’s than the seedy den of strip clubs, drugs & hookers that inhabited the area as recently as the early 90’s – (peanut gallery preference of porn, pot & pimps: commence).

As the debauchery moved out, Times Square became a haven for tourists and that brought us the costumed panhandlers in the form of Elmo’s, Toy Story characters & chubby, little super heroes. On just one count, there were 8 Elmo’s each aggressively jockeying into horrified families photos and then requesting demanding money.

The multiplicities of Elmo smell foul. If you wish to make a quick buck, invent ‘Febreeze-Me-Elmo’; I’ll buy a chub pack for the entire horde of ambling shag. These odiferous Chuck E. Cheese rejects are not only revolting but somewhat aggressive. They pat children on their heads. 4’11 Iron Men suggest in strong Hispanic accents to take their picture. I didn’t want these walking Petri dishes staining the air I breathe, never mind touching my horrified kids. Thankfully my yutes are old enough to also be grossed out and quickly learned from me that we say ‘Helno to Elmo’. *Trademarked! 

Times Square caused me, a grown educated man, to have vivid fantasies of knocking out entire gaggles of Elmi with tickle-me-upper-cuts. Thanks Jim Henson!

Maybe it was because I had kids in tow, but it was during our pedestrian adventures that for the first time since the ‘70’s (when I arrived in America by boat) I felt less than safe in NYC. Of course there’s been an increase in your standard down-on-their-luck panhandlers which are ubiquitous nationwide. But NYC panhandlers seem angry and completely oblivious to the fact kids, old people and the easily offended can see their vile and profane signs requesting demanding money. These folks are different. They are able bodied, young and not shy. Their excuses to beg seem to revolve around it not being worth working for $10 an hour. They demand money while enlightening pedestrians on their warped and convoluted social injustice issue du jour. Several are in-your-face instigators: “Gimme a dollar, you got a dollar, gimme a dollar, man, I hope you die of cancer!” (said in front of my kids at 36th & 5th).

I get it… I am a ‘privileged’ white male and therefore public enemy #1 of the aggrieved; yet, simultaneously the source of their entitlement. Their self imposed hard existence and the lack of Mores’ Utopia is entirely my fault and the fault of all other uppity white folk who bathe. We should… nay, we must to pay for our capitalistic sins. Atonement from the white man and his minor children will be accepted in the form of cash money, preferably not of the coinable variety.

Since we were staying right in Times Square we saw this guy more than a handful of times.

He’s a sign of the times.

A foul-mouthed panhandler with a message of hate is the new welcome wagon for visitors to the Crossroads of the World.

Daniel Kimery, 36, greeted tourists on Wednesday with a hand-lettered sign saying: “{COC} You!!! Pay Me!!!!!!! I need money 4 Drugz & Hoez & Weaponz Mother {COC}kerz!”

Kimery also drew frightened stares by cursing and ranting at passers-by while wearing a sleeveless green T-shirt promoting the “Occupy” movement.

He waged his abusive campaign just steps from the NYPD’s Times Square substation at 43rd Street and Broadway.

“The entire situation just wasn’t right. I could tell something was off with that bum in the green shirt from the second I saw him,” said tourist Robb Hueston, 37, of Dallas, who’s in town with his wife and two kids. “I have small children, and my kids don’t need to be reading that kind of offensive garbage.”

As we strategically hopped over vagrants and dodged furry photo-bombing panhandlers, I realized the island of Manhattan is quickly and not so quietly becoming the dominion of centi-millionaires and billionaires each tripping over each other to get the most expensive, luxurious and sought after locations to live. Sadly, as neighborhoods are further gentrified, their culture and history are rapidly being lost to make way for multi-million dollar 1,000 square foot condos and the types who can afford it.

From the top of the Empire State Building, one can see downtown with it’s beautiful new One World Trade Center. In the opposite direction it is ‘Billionaire Row’, the strip around 57th near Central Park that has become home to the tallest building in NYC (when measured by roof height). In fact, it’s the largest residential tower in the western hemisphere, and there are several similar, taller vertical edifices on the way. The penthouse condo on top of 432 Park Avenue (the former site of the Drake Hotel) expected to sell at $95 Million ended up selling for $125 Million.

The uber-luxury condo market in NYC is spreading across the island like the Genesis wave from Star Trek 2. But luxury condos are not just being built into new super-skyscrapers. Historic icons like the Woolworth Building are being gutted and renovated with it’s penthouse being listed at $110 Million.

These sweeping high priced new developments are literally changing neighborhoods. As rising, obscenely high rents push out diners, greasy spoons, art studios and clubs like CBGB, many neighborhoods appear to be losing their soul. Little Italy is now a veneer of its former self. The Flat Iron, the Lower East Side, the Meatpacking district, the Bowery, and other time capsules now all appear to mesh into one gigantic quilt of coffee houses, expensive boutiques and condos only afforded by the super wealthy.

As the ultra rich are literally racing to the top, the underclass are lashing out. The dichotomy that is NYC is exhibit A of the growing divergence we are seeing spreading across America and Europe.

But, don’t blame the rich. To understand this trend we need to understand how blue NYC politicians are hell-bent on providing a breeding ground for the underclass at the cost of the well healed, as well as perpetuating the massively unfair, byzantine and corrupt system underpinning NYC real estate.

‘Blue city’ urban governance is the culprit.

1. Social Engineering. The ultra progressive/Marxist New York City Mayors Office and City Councils mindset permeates the corridors of every city department and is now negatively impacting the daily lives of this very blue city’s denizens and the tourists that visit them.

According to the New York Post:

This urinating vagrant turned a busy stretch of Broadway into his own private bathroom yesterday – an offense that would result in a mere summons if Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and her pals get their way.

Mark-Viverito in April announced plans to decriminalize public urination along with five other low-level offenses: biking on the sidewalk, public consumption of alcohol, being in a park after dark, failure to obey a park sign and jumping subway turnstiles.

And the growing problem isn’t solely on city streets.

Transit hubs, including Penn Station, are plagued by surging numbers of homeless people who publicly masturbate, harass bystanders and demand free food as the city looks the other way, commuters complain.

“It reminds me of the pre-[Rudy] Giuliani era,” said Jim Hoover, 60, who has been commuting through Penn Station since 1986. “The police aren’t chasing them away anymore.”

By the way, if you are not familiar with Speaker(!) Melissa Mark-Viverito, just know she proudly supports convicted terrorists. Between Mark-Viverito and Mayor De Blasio whose own police force is literally turning their backs to him, the Big Apple is starting to rot from its inner core.

When my 10 year old asked to use a restroom I took him into NYC Starbucks #73,687 (you know the one… it’s caddy corner to NYC Starbucks #73,688) we were promptly denied access unless I bought some of their acidic, free-trade, #RaceTogether swill served by a tattooed, faced pierced, hair dyed, non-gender who we must not judge. ‘Customer only’ policies are understandable but are being used as justification to allow NYC’s homeless, vagrants, citizens to relieve themselves in public. Who knew Adam ‘Big Daddy’ Sandler was actually Nostradamus I.P. Freely.

2. The radical socialist approach to law and order has quickly spread to NYC from other formerly great cities. New York is following the policies from other blue governed Shangri-La’s such as Baltimore and Detroit who turned those once fair cities into cesspools of crime, economic stagnation and failing public schools.

The ‘progressive’ urban city mindset dismantles the ability for a city to protect its own citizens by preventing law and order to be upheld. The citizens who finance the city through their exorbitant taxes, who start businesses, create jobs and yes, who voted for these gender studies majors, are now being shoved aside so the outliers of society can roam freely without consequence of their actions and crimes, in effect, turning America’s greatest city into a gigantic tribute to Flomax.

What happens when tax-payers don’t feel safe? They leave. In 1960 Baltimore was the 6th largest U.S. City. In 2015 it doesn’t even rank in the top 25. Middle and upper class flight takes much needed tax revenue which quickly perpetuates the downward spiral.

Much like Baltimore, NYC is now governed by the extremist liberal grievance machine and has reversed the successful and hailed revolutionary neighborhood policing implemented by Rudy Giuliani. This isn’t conjecture: Giuliani’s efforts resulted in crime rates dropping to historic lows, which President Clinton quickly took credit for. Mayor Bloomberg subsequently enjoyed these low crime rates by inheriting Rudy’s policies, before curiously focusing his attention on the evil found in 32 ounce cups.

Liberals take major issue with Broken Windows policing as those who commit crimes happen to largely be minorities. Instead of focusing on the causes of minority crime, race-baiting industry hucksters like Al Sharpton, who has the President’s ear, verbally attack city police. Calling the NYPD (a multi-ethnic department) a racist institution has lead to physical assaults, attacks and the disastrous murders of NYPD officers by racially motivated assailants.

In an effort to placate the race baiters, Bloomberg successor, NYC Mayor Bill DiBlasio has done an about-face in community policing by requiring NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to reduce arrests, use a hands off approach which has resulted (as any 6 year old could have predicted) murders increasing 20% in just one year. The rats are now running free all over the ship and it’s horrified passengers are stunned into silence under threat of being emblazoned with the scarlet letter ‘R’(acist).

Blue city mindset isn’t just a problem for public safety. Public schools controlled by self-centered union bosses mollycoddled by blue city cronyism have devastated once flagship educational school districts like L.A., Baltimore, Chicago, etc. For those that can afford to, Parents send their kids to private schools. Others who can afford to move to the suburbs, leave behind a failed system for both the teachers and their poor students who are stuck in the hellish educational product of union malfeasance.

Yet blue city Parents continue to vote for the same blue city politicians who stand for the union sponsored neglect of the public school sector. As most dedicated teachers drive used entry-level cars, pick almost any teachers’ union parking lot nationwide and you will find it filled with luxury vehicles. The results show that mostly blue state schools are harming our children and the competitiveness of the U.S.A.

Blue State Schools: The Shame of a Nation

When it come to excellence in education, red states rule — at least according to a panel of experts assembled by Tina Brown’s Newsweek. Using a set of indicators ranging from graduation rate to college admissions and SAT scores, the panel reviewed data from high schools all over the country to find the best public schools in the country.

The results make depressing reading for the teacher unions: the very best public high schools in the country are heavily concentrated in red states.

3. Blue City Living: How do they afford it?

The curious thing about New York City is how people can afford to live there. When you walk the streets or take the trains you realize there are a tremendous number of working people who live and work in the city.

The answer in short? NYC mandates rent controls for about 55% of the total available residential buildings, so that less than 45% of NYC is operating under free-market valuation, thus causing a severe shortage of homes, thereby increasing rents far beyond the economics of lower to upper middle class.

Rent control combined with 40% of the population assisted by Medicaid and/or food stamps demonstrate how uneven the playing field is for all New Yorkers. The upper class is essentially footing the bill for the lower/middle class. This is a recipe for financial disaster.

New York City has a lot of subsidized or rent-controlled housing. Almost half the city’s total rental housing stock is rent-regulated; a further 8.5 percent are public housing units, and there are also programs like Mitchell-Lama, which since 1955 has provided affordable housing to moderate- and middle-income households. Ultimately, something under 45 percent of New York’s rental stock is trading in a free market; the rest is going at below-market rates to people who cling to those apartment like ancient barnacles. If you are lucky enough to have a good deal, you can live in the city for well below the average rent — though you should not assume that all the tenants of rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments are low-income. I have known investment bankers enjoying below-market rates in rent-stabilized apartments.

Now the once golden boy of Blue State cities is now threatened with financial ramifications not seen since Jimmy Carter was in office. I am not suggesting New York City will imminently become Detroit. It’s too wealthy. However, the ship is showing signs of gushing leaks, and the blue city managers can only offer solutions that are historically bankrupt, socially irresponsible and dangerous to their own constituency. In fact, life long Democrat, former lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch thinks New York might be doomed.

The man who helped rescue New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s says New York is in deep financial trouble again. And this time, it’s the whole state that’s in deep.

“While a generous society can and should provide the necessities of life to its poorer citizens,” he writes, “we owe it to ourselves to be honest about the costs.”

Richard discusses how it’s not just New York, but other Blue Cities. For example: “In Los Angeles, retirement costs accounted for 3 percent of general fund expenses in 2003. It’s 18 percent now, according to The Economist.”

The Results of Blue City Urban Governance:

To be fair, New York City is not yet a disaster. Compared to Baltimore and Detroit, New York is successful primarily as it has vast numbers of uber-wealthy citizens (as does blue San Francisco and Boston) due to their economic advantages of private investment, finance and technology. These cities, although run by blue managers, have appealed to business by providing conservative styled corporate tax incentives which have generally allowed the cities to withstand the negative ramifications of increased welfare dependency and high taxes on individuals.

Like San Francisco, when a Conservative goes to NYC, they must suspend their internal political annoyance or it can ruin an otherwise delightful trip. New York City is a great town. We did all the required stops for first timers: Empire State Building, Dodgers @Mets night game, double-decker bus night tour, Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, a Broadway show (Matilda: 5 Stars!), Wall Street, Central Park, Guggenheim, and the stunning 9/11 Memorial Museum. My kids had a wonderful time, as they got a lesson from Dad about larger, more serious issues we face as a country.

Our experience in NYC showed us firsthand the results of blue city managers. If you continue to allow the outliers of our society be indulged at the financial and safety expense of the mainstream, you may ultimately end up with a New York City resembling 1975 Fort Apache, The Bronx, while looked down upon by their overlords in the clouds.


PostScript. Pro-tip to NY cabbies: There’s an invention called soap. Just a little dab will put an Irish spring in your step. Not inhaling b.o. (not the President, the other thing) is so much more enjoyable for us, your visiting passenger as we listen to your delightful top 40 ‘ISIStunes’. (*trademarked).