Friday 16th of April 2021

new york, new york... the lights are going dark...


New York has gone through many upheavals in its history, but is the city on its last legs?... The last news is that the City of New York is in debt up to its eyeballs and the present mayor is as efficient as a window dummy trying to have a piss in the elevators of a Trump Tower... It's a shame or is it? The Governor of the state, according to some slanted news outlet, seems to also be as efficient as a snuffed candle in a tunnel... So what is the future for the big Apple? Worms?


At least some of the people are still thinking the place is worth it while some don't...


By May 2020, The New York Times reported that 420,000 residents had fled America’s largest city, not a few of them permanently (my literary agent among them, whose pre-virus life revolved around eating lunch with editors every day). The wealthiest neighborhoods were the biggest losers—and they were the city’s leading taxpayers. Of course, the initial impetus for flight was fear of catching Covid-19 in an environment densely packed with people. But as corporate offices shuttered, many of these refugees performed their work duties at home over the Internet, and it dawned on the corporations that perhaps it was a waste to lease expensive, high-status headquarters in Manhattan. The iconic Time-Life Building at 1271 Sixth Avenue had accommodated 8,000 workers before Covid-19. In mid-summer 2020, 500 people were showing up there

Meanwhile, as politicians forced lockdowns, the city’s restaurants and shops went dark, along with theaters, museums, stadiums, and the other organisms that made up the city’s rich ecosystem of daily life. The prospect of midtown perhaps permanently abandoned by office workers made an eventual return to normality even less plausible. After four months of virus, the June riots and looting that followed the horrific death of George Floyd sealed the deal, with the luxury stores on Fifth Avenue smashed up and burgled. Who would reopen such a business when riots and looting could break out over a fresh pretext at any time?


The blackout that hit New York on this day, July 13, in 1977 was to many a metaphor for the gloom that had already settled on the city. An economic decline, coupled with rising crime rates and the panic-provoking (and paranoia-inducing) Son of Sam murders, had combined to make the late 1970s New York’s Dark Ages.

Then lightning struck, and the city went dark for real. By the time the power came back, 25 hours later, arsonists had set more than 1,000 fires and looters had ransacked 1,600 stores, per the New York Times.

Opportunistic thieves grabbed whatever they could get their hands on, from luxury cars to sink stoppers and clothespins, according to the New York Post. The sweltering streets became a battleground, where, per the Post, “even the looters were being mugged.”

The mayhem of 1977 came as a night-and-day contrast with New York’s previous citywide blackout, in 1965. The earlier outage affected far more people (25 million, spanning New York and seven other states, plus two Canadian provinces, compared to the 9 million people in New York and its northern suburbs who lost power in ’77, per TIME). Yet the effects were dramatically, devastatingly different. As TIME put it, the 1977 blackout left the city powerless in terms of electricity and also powerless to stop the people who seized the opportunity to riot. “They set hundreds of fires and looted thousands of stores,” the magazine noted, “illuminating in a perverse way twelve years of change in the character of the city, and perhaps of the country.”

The Story of NY is one of highs and lows, brought to you in various movies, but also through its various mayors, including Giuliani having to deal with 9/11. 

Ed Koch did his best to bring the finances of this city into order. Giuliani had his moments... Prior to this:

In 1868, Tweed became grand sachem (leader) of Tammany Hall and was also elected to the New York State Senate, and in 1870 he and his cronies took control of the city treasury when they passed a new city charter that named them as the board of audit. In full force now, the Tweed ring began to financially drain the city of New York through faked leases, false vouchers, extravagantly padded bills and various other schemes set up and controlled by the ring.


Born in New York City in 1823, Boss Tweed was a city alderman by the time he was 28 years old. Elected to other offices, he cemented his position of power in the city’s Democratic Party and thereafter filled important positions with people friendly to his concerns. Once he and his cronies had control of the city government, corruption became shockingly widespread until his eventual arrest in 1873.
Overall, one can think, or rethink what the concept of a mega-city is all about, especially as mentioned before as the Island of Manhattan is becoming subject to sea rise level. 
New York’s Sea Level Has Risen 9” Since 1950

And It's Costing Over $4 Billion

The sea level off New York’s coast is up to 9 inches higher than it was in 1950. This increase is mostly due to the slowing of the Gulf Stream and New York’s sinking land, and it’s causing major issues. In places like New York City, solutions can be complex because of the city’s unique location, vast network of underground railroads, and proximity to other large coastal cities. With nearly half of the state’s residents living in marine counties, sea level rise puts New York’s people, resources, and economy at risk. There are already over 30,000 properties at risk from frequent tidal flooding in New York. The state is planning over $4 billion in sea level rise solutions, which include raising roads, fixing drainage, and building seawalls.

Sea level rise is speeding up

The sea level around Battery, New York, has risen by nearly 9 inches since 1950. Its speed of rise has accelerated over the last ten years and it’s now rising by 1 inch every 7-8 years. Scientists know this because the sea level is measured every 6 minutes using equipment like satellites, floating buoys off the coast, and tidal gauges to accurately measure the local sea level as it accelerates and changes.

By 2100, the sea level rise will be around 90 cm (36”) above present level, in New York and surroundings... Be ready... Will New York sink before New Orleans?...

not escaping a combination of pandemic, crime and bankruptcy...

Well, there’s a reference point for New Yorkers to hang their hopes on.

“In the ’60s and ’70s, people left in much, much greater numbers than anything that’s being talked about right now,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday in dismissing a reporter’s question about New Yorkers fleeing the Big Apple from a combination of the coronavirus pandemic, crime wave and cratering economy.

Between 1970 and 1980, over 1 million more people moved out of the city than into it, according to the census bureau. It was the largest population decline in the history of the Big Apple.

Hizzoner also blamed the media for “painting a picture that’s not true.”

“I guarantee you we have 8 million-plus people who are not going anywhere, so what we’re really talking about is a small number of people,” de Blasio said at his remote City Hall press briefing.

“I can’t give you the exact number, but a small number of people who are choosing for now to go someplace else.”

More than twice the amount of people were looking to leave New York City during the pandemic compared to last year, Bloomberg News reported.

Between March and August, nearly 70 percent of all long-distance moves were made by people leaving the Empire States while only about 30 percent were by people moving in, according to data compiled by United Van Lines.

Oddly, de Blasio took that news as a positive sign.

“There was an article the other day that talked about people leaving and then compared it to the number of people coming in and there was still a lot of people coming in too,” he said.

“The vast, vast majority of New Yorkers are standing and fighting, they are loyal to this city,” de Blasio insisted.


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a tart apple...

In New York, nothing is really like it used to be

By Arnaud Leparmentier

The US epicenter of the Covid-19 epidemic in the spring, New York has the legacy of a city on hold and could experience financial disaster.


New York, golden prison: a few months ago, New Yorkers could not leave their city, the global epicenter of the Covid-19, banned from everywhere, for fear of spreading the epidemic. Today, they are confined in the city, even at home for fourteen days, if they are unfortunate enough to return from one of the twenty-eight states on the blacklist established by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who wants everything price avoid a second wave.


So, back from Wisconsin, still in the throes of the epidemic, we had to fill out a detailed form in the deserted airport of La Guardia, before receiving, three days later, a telephone message from the health authorities of the State reminding us of our obligations.


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quarantine, 1858...

In 1858, residents of Tompkinsville, a village in the town of Castleton in Staten Island, set fire to the buildings of the nearby Quarantine Hospital, which had been located in the neighborhood for sixty years receiving sick passengers from incoming vessels to New York Harbor.  Newspapers called it "The Quarantine War," "The Quarantine Riot," "The Staten Island Arson," "The Burning of the Quarantine," "The Staten Island Rebellion," and "The Quarantine Imbroglio."

Local citizens feared the spread of yellow fever and were enraged by the lack of empathy by city and state officials.  The people justified violence as civic duty. The state identified the fires as acts of lawlessness, and Governor John A. King declared in the New York Times that Staten Island was in a "state of insurrection." 

Between 1791 and 1807, yellow fever was reported to have caused the deaths of 5,000 people in New York City. In 1799, the state legislature passed the Quarantine Act, "to provide against infectious and pestilential diseases," including punishments against doctors and ship masters who failed to report sick passengers to the Quarantine Hospital—at the time located on Governors Island. The state then used the right of eminent domain to obtain thirty acres on the north east shore of Richmond County to build a new Quarantine. Staten Island was a thinly populated county, with 4,564 inhabitants enumerated in the 1800 U.S. Census. By rowboat or sailboat, a trip to Manhattan from Staten Island might take from two to five hours.

The new Quarantine was built in an area described in 1805 by the City Inspector as "in a situation as airy and salubrious as any that can well be conceived." At the entrance was the St. Nicholas building, a three-story brick structure where quarantined passengers were housed.  Atop the entrance was a wooden statue known to the locals as "Sailor Jack." Over the next five decades, the operation of the Quarantine Hospital was under the authority of the Commissioners of Emigration, a state organization established to oversee immigration policies, collect ship manifests from incoming ships, and operate Castle Garden, the immigration processing station at the southern tip of Manhattan. 

Within months of the hospital opening, an assembly of neighborhood residents threatened to burn it down, in response to rumors that the ship General Wayne, recently arrived from Havana, was infected with "Yellow Jack." The New York Gazette reported that Staten Island locals had "threatened to set fire to her if she was not removed from the wharf." But Dr. Richard Bayley, the Health Officer for the Port of New York, argued that the ship had been duly cleaned and disinfected.  Two years later, Dr. Bayley died of yellow fever.

By 1858, there was still no standard agreement between medical professionals about what caused the "black vomit." Most physicians still believed that the disease was a contagion spread by air. Not until the 1880s, in Cuba, was the A. aegypti mosquito determined to transmit the virus, with global eradication efforts stretching into the 1920s.


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good luck to the apple...

How to Fix New York’s $5 Billion Budget Crisis

Before he borrows, Mayor de Blasio needs to make significant cuts to avoid greater pain later.

By The Editorial Board [NYT]

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.


New York is facing the nightmare scenario that its political leaders have feared since the 1970s, when the city nearly went bankrupt. It is staring down a budget hole of more than $5 billion, along with hard questions about how to fill it.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has asked the State Legislature to give him the authority to borrow the $5 billion. Without it, the mayor says, he’ll be forced to lay off or furlough 22,000 city workers.

In the end, New York may have to borrow some money until revenues recover and the city is back on its feet. Like other areas of the country hard-hit by the coronavirus, the city and state will also need more federal aid in the months and years ahead.

Borrowing should be a last resort since it increases the cost of every dollar the city spends, though it can be an appropriate strategy to get through a short-term crisis. But borrowing to meet operating expenses is especially hazardous. Cities that do so over and over again are at greater risk of the kind of bankruptcy faced by New York in the late 1970s and Detroit in 2013.

Any borrowing should be accompanied by a clear plan for how the city plans to use the funds to stabilize its finances and what it is doing to ensure the government is the right size for New York’s needs and revenues. “Otherwise, we’re using borrowing to prop up spending we can’t afford,” said Andrew Rein, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan watchdog group. “We’ll make our kids pay our bills.”

Before Mr. de Blasio adds billions to the city’s debt sheet — or lays off thousands of workers — he needs to find savings.

It won’t be easy. The city’s budget grew under Mr. de Blasio, to $92 billion last year from about $73 billion in 2014. Complicating matters, the mayor has hired tens of thousands of employees over the past decade, adding significantly to the city’s pension and retirement obligations.

To make cuts without slashing vital services or laying off workers, the mayor will have to be creative, make unpopular decisions and demand serious cost-saving measures from nearly every city agency and, crucially, the municipal unions.

One way to begin is with a far stricter hiring freeze. Every year, some 20,000 city workers leave their jobs or retire. Yet as of June, the work force was reduced by only about 800 from the year before, according to the Citizens Budget Commission. If the city hired about 7,500 fewer workers each year, it could save an additional $750 million annually, the commission has said.

The mayor will need to do something he has rarely been able to: ask the labor unions to share in the sacrifice. The Citizens Budget Commission found that the city could save nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in the first year alone, rising to a saving of $750 million annually after several years.

Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, said she determined that a $150,000 salary cap on the city’s nonunion work force could save New York $200 million every year.

The mayor must also get serious about enforcing overtime caps, which have been blown for years by city agencies. As just one example, this year’s budget calls for overtime pay at the Police Department to be reduced by $350 million, a commitment that should be kept.

There are other cuts to be made. Scott Stringer, the city comptroller, has urged the mayor to demand that agencies come to the table with greater savings, an exercise former Mayor Michael Bloomberg turned to frequently that can help force agencies to become more efficient.

Laura Feyer, a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio, said the city had already shrunk its budget significantly. “We can’t just cut our way out of this Covid-19 induced budget hole,” she said in a email. “We are not asking for borrowing to avoid making hard choices. We’re going to continue having discussions with unions to avert as much pain as possible, but we all agree long-term borrowing is the best solution.”

The uncertainty around New York’s financial position has some calling for the state’s Financial Control Board, created in the mid-1970s to oversee the city through its fiscal crisis, to take the reins of New York’s finances. That is premature and should be avoided if at all possible. New York’s mayor and City Council, duly elected by New York voters, are far more accountable to residents than a panel in Albany. The city should be given a real chance at managing this crisis.

To make it through, the city needs Mr. de Blasio to act swiftly and forcefully to make tough cuts that will save the city greater pain later. With any luck, this lame-duck mayor is still up to the task.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email:


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Good luck... Read from top. I got a brilliant idea: why not get people who leave New York city (read at top) — in order to live somewhere else — pay a creative "leave tax" of $1,250, including state taxes? That soon would fill the city's coffers... Anyone wishing to come and live in New york would have to pay say $175, includiing state taxes... Gold rolling in the streets... May be these fees already exists?

the damage could last years....

‘We’re at War’: New York City Faces a Financial Abyss

The pandemic has crippled tourism, retail and the culture sector. The damage could last years, and layoffs, service cuts and added debt are all on the table

The unemployment rate in New York City is 16 percent, twice as high as the rest of the country. Personal income tax revenue is expected to drop by $2 billion this fiscal year. Only a third of hotel rooms are occupied, and apartment vacancies in Manhattan have hit a peak.

New York, more than any large city in the world, has been forced to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak’s dual paths of devastation: The virus has killed 24,000 people in the city and has sapped it of hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue.

And even as the city has contained the spread of the virus, it has been unable to exert control over its threat to the economy.

Numerous economic indicators suggest that New York City will face an extended financial crisis, the likes of which has not been seen since the 1970s. 

The city has already slashed spending to make up for billions of dollars in lost tax revenue, but it may lose billions more.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have repeatedly asked the Trump administration for help, but the president, a native New Yorker who openly scorns his city of birth, has instead threatened to cut its federal funding. Should he win re-election in November, it seems likely that the city will be forced to implement drastic layoffs and service cuts.

New York City may even be compelled to borrow just to keep everyday services running; the mayor has asked state leaders to grant the city the authority to do so. So far, the state has resisted.

Shootings are on the rise, some New Yorkers are fleeing for the suburbs, businesses are reconsidering their need for office space — structural changes reminiscent of those that preceded the city’s 1975 fiscal collapse, some budget hawks say.

“We’re on the verge of a tragedy,” said Richard Ravitch, the former state official who helped engineer the rescue of New York City’s finances in the 1970s and thinks this crisis is worse. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to the city.”

The city has taken steps to address its existing $9 billion, two-year revenue shortfall, though Mr. Ravitch questions whether leaders are underestimating the problem. He advocates significant cuts and the establishment of a financial control board in the 1970s model.


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the big apple in decline...

“No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”

That’s how Gideon Tucker put it back in 1866, a New Yorker who knew Albany as a former legislator, secretary of state and judge.

His wisdom, as demonstrated repeatedly over the ages, is timeless.

Yet there is something different, and especially troubling, about this time. The possibility of permanent decline and the ultimate destruction of the New York we know is unmatched in modern memory.

With Republicans reduced to hecklers, Albany Democrats, oblivious or reckless or both, are marching toward the cliff in an Alfred E. Neuman, What, Me Worry? Way. The rising chorus of “Stop!” goes unheeded.

Washington is sending train loads of money to blue states to bail out their high tax, high spend habits. As longtime government guru Dick Ravitch writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Congress has been generous, allocating more than $12 billion to New York state, $6 billion to the city, $6 billion to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and $9 billion to the state’s schools.




Besides, even if it were true that only the rich would get hit, raising taxes sends the wrong message in a state where so many people and businesses already have left or are thinking about it.

What business would want to come here now? Why should existing ones continue to pay more and more for dangerous and dirty streets and arbitrary pandemic shut downs?

The answer for many is no, no, hell no, and they have given up on New York. The proof is in the sagging real estate market and the empty storefronts in even the best locations.

Not all of those leaving are rich, but they’re all afraid, and not just of the inevitable cost of living increases that follow as the taxes ripple through housing, services, transportation and every bottle of beer and bag of potato chips sold.

Many are also understandably afraid of crime and public disorder. A snapshot of NYPD stats over two years paints an unmistakable picture of a city in serious decline.

Murder climbed nearly 45 percent last year and is up an additional 13.5 percent this year. The increases translate into an additional 153 New Yorkers shot, stabbed and strangled.

Shooting victims are up 72 percent in two years, and car thefts are up a staggering 91 percent. The city is in a death spiral, with unprovoked attacks and subway pushings adding more reason for rational fear.


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