NEW YORK — As a Manhattanite currently on Day 17 of COVID-19- inspired self-quarantine/lockdown, I heard a sad ring of truth in Joel Kotkin’s latest article. “The End of New York,” his excellent, scary piece was titled on Friday’s Tablet. “Will the pandemic push America’s greatest city over the edge?”
Kotkin is a scholar with Orange County, California’s Chapman University and Houston’s Urban Reform Institute. Never mind his posts on the Pacific and the Gulf Coast. Kotkin’s essay gets nearly every point right about how this Atlantic city is in jeopardy of becoming a massive victim of this microscopic villain.
“What’s particularly ominous for New York’s future is that the best way to slow the spread of the virus —social distancing — works against the very things that make Gotham so appealing,” Kotkin writes. “The very pleasures and crowded realities of urban life, such as mass transit, are particularly susceptible to pandemics.”
As subway ridership plunges 60 percent, and commuter-train ridership plummets 90 percent, New Yorkers surely notice that COVID-19 seems to strike densely populated cities more than leafy, sprawling suburbs or sparse, wide-open rural areas. Kotkin adds: “In the long run, the extraordinary concentration of COVID-19 cases in New York threatens an economy and a social fabric that were already unraveling before the outbreak began.”
The COVID clampdown has forced the multitude of white-collar workers now operating from home to ponder this question: Why spend heaps of cash for tiny apartments in a city filled with deadly pathogens?
Even worse, New York City these days is filled with diseased psychopaths who occupy the streets and spread microbes on the subway, where every surface is a potential Petri dish. When they rip open garbage bags on sidewalks and pirate the recyclables within (while handcuffed cops simply look on), these vagrants make life dreamy for hungry, horny rats. These well-fed vermin do not practice birth control. Particularly from a public-health standpoint, what could go wrong?
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D – New York City) couples his incompetence with insouciance about anything but “social justice” and his daily gym workouts. Thanks to “bail reform,” he, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D – New York), and their Democrat colleagues from the City Council to the state legislature are responsible for freeing criminals onto the streets as soon as the police arrest them if even that happens.
Schools chancellor Richard Carranza, arguably further Left than de Blasio, shows little interest in actually educating kids. For him, it’s race, race, race. And when he’s not obsessed with that, he thinks about race. Most New Yorkers with school-age children must choose between sending their sons and daughters into the de Blasio-Carranza system of ethnic tension, social engineering, and campus disorder, or spending their hard-earned wages on private-school tuition, which rivals the cost of college.
The precious gifts that make all of this bearable — among them: Broadway, motion pictures, rock concerts, Yankees games, and dining exquisitely in delightful restaurants filled with other foodies — suddenly become unimaginable, if everyone must sit, dance, or dine six feet away from every other Gothamite for whom these are a few of his favorite things. Presumably, this would include one’s friends, lovers, neighbors, relatives, or spouse. “Honey, would you please walk over here so I can have some popcorn?” How will AMC and Regal sell movie tickets in such an environment?
Most seats on Broadway are packed more densely than subway benches, and usually for about $150 per ride. Great news! The germs are thrown in for free. Not even Hamilton could survive social distancing among its patrons who soon might glance at each other and think not, “Boy, are we au courant!” but “What disease is that guy carrying?”
Atop this — like a shifty, coughing bum wearing a soiled trench coat and waving a gun — stands New York City’s tax burden. It tells Gothamites: “Congrats for surviving all of this. Now, reach waaaaay down into your pockets and hand it over.”
All of these factors scream for two things:
a) Political leaders at City Hall and Albany who are focused on solving these problems right away, rather than fighting and fleecing their own constituents at every turn.
b) Tests, treatments, and vaccines, ASASP — as soon as scientifically possible. For this, America’s pharmaceutical companies deserve no more brickbats and, instead, sustained local and national applause. NOW!