Skip to comments.The Big Apple's Turn Left
Posted on 11/06/2013 11:34:01 AM PST by Kaslin
The new mayor of New York City is a Red Sox fan. According to the rules of the New York I grew up in, I'd expect to see the Hudson turn into a river of blood and Zabar's to close due to a locust infestation before that happened.
But if De Blasio's remarkable rise proves anything, it's that the rules can change. A liberal's crazy liberal, De Blasio still waxes nostalgic about the noble struggle of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, for whom he raised money in the 1980s. He violated the ban on travel to Cuba for his honeymoon with his formerly gay wife, and he often talks as if he's handing out literature in Union Square for the former left-wing New Party, for which he used to work.
For conservative pundits, he's the Austin Powers of pre-Rudolph Giuliani urban liberalism, a near perfect throwback thawed out for our amusement. Social justice is his bag, baby.
But for those of us born and raised in pre-Giuliani New York, he can also conjure images of Charles Bronson in "Death Wish," the gritty vigilante flick that symbolized the city in that era.
Vincent Cannato, a historian at the University of Massachusetts, wrote the definitive book on John Lindsay, the mayor of New York from 1966 to 1973. Cannato's book "The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York," tells the story of liberalism's now-forgotten golden boy. Charming, improbably handsome, resolutely liberal and Republican (until he switched parties), Lindsay had the dubious distinction of overseeing much of New York's horrific decline into legal, fiscal, racial and moral chaos.
Lindsay's defenders are legion in New York. In their minds, everything was going great and then, suddenly, when Lindsay left office, the place went off a cliff overnight. Cannato says that whenever he appears at an event to discuss his book, the Lindsayites swarm to defend their hero. One of their primary talking points is the fact that Lindsay fulfilled his vow to "throw open the city to producers from Hollywood," ushering in a renaissance in New York filmmaking.
And it's true. But just look at the movies born of Lindsay's efforts: "Taxi Driver," "The French Connection," "The Prisoner of Second Avenue," "Panic in Needle Park" and other films depicting a rotting Big Apple -- a "voluptuous enemy" with "the stench of Hell," to borrow a phrase from Pauline Kael's review of "Taxi Driver."
Hollywood may have exaggerated the extent of New York's Stygian gloom, but you can only exaggerate the truth. And anyone who lived in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s can recognize that while "Death Wish" may have been a caricature, like any good caricature it captured the likeness better than the subject would have liked. When I was a kid, street crime was a given, rationalized by many liberals as the price one had to pay to live in such a wonderful metropolis.
De Blasio comes from a wing of liberalism that looks nostalgically on the days when New Yorkers were immeasurably worse off but urban liberals had more confidence. He has promised to get rid of the "stop-and-frisk" policies that helped make New York City the safest large city in the world. (There was an average of more than six murders a day in 1990. This year, the city is on target to average less than one.)
He talks as if all of New York's problems stem from the fact the rich find it too hospitable. This despite the fact that city spending went up nearly 50 percent on Michael Bloomberg's watch alone, fueled by ever-higher tax burdens on the city's wealthy (the top 1 percent account for 43 percent of city revenues).
Maybe a De Blasio mayoralty will be constrained by the successes of the last 20 years and the expectations of New Yorkers. But there's an irony here. A city with a better memory would still surely be liberal, but it would not be defrosting someone like De Blasio. He would be impossible without the successes of the Giuliani administration (and Bloomberg's willingness to sustain them), just as Giuliani would have been impossible without the accumulated failures of his predecessors.
De Blasio's success proves the one eternal rule of the game in politics: Victory is never permanent, nor is failure.
That grossly understates it.
Bill DeBlasio is a Communist.
He must be a hell of a man... or maybe not.
Aren’t liberals in general communists?
It may soon Join Detroit in ruin.
OK . . . when did the Big Apple turn right? It’s always been an experiment in big-government leftism, for centuries even.
We’re taking NYC all the way back to pre-1980s level. I’m betting NYC becomes uninhabitable in 10 years.
I’m growing less and less sympathetic to cities and city dwellers. It’s like choosing to live below an active volcano.
Call him by his real name, Warner Wilhelm.
It’s 11:59 on Radio Free America; this is Uncle Sam, with music, and the truth until dawn. Right now I’ve got a few words for some of our brothers and sisters in the occupied zone: “the chair is against the wall, the chair is against the wall”, “john has a long mustache, john has a long mustache”. It’s twelve o’clock, America, another day closer to victory. And for all of you out there, on, or behind the line, this is your song.
Please! They turned left when Bloomberg the phony republican was elected, then when the council removed the two-term limit. They deserve everything they get. I won’t be visiting, probably ever.
Say hello to the Dinkin’s Days, New York...
You really do deserve what is coming, while all those “Evil Wall Street Millionaires!” the TV has told you to hate so much will be safe and comfy in the Connecticut or Upstate homes, you will be stuck in the hell you created, unable to walk down a street without fear.
How long until the Adult Bookstores and Movie Theaters begin popping up again in Times Square? I’m old enough to remember when open-air drug-dealing was the biggest market in that area.
“The new mayor of New York City is a Red Sox fan.”
Aha, there’s the problem right there. Anyone with sense was rooting for America’s team, the Cardinals. ;-)
Well, not really, unless you count cities like Hilo (Kilauea and Mauna Loa), Naples (ItalyVesuvius), Seattle (Mount Rainier), Catania (Mount Etna), etc.
But along that line of thinking, the first man to build cities after the Flood was Nimrod, who also established the first postdiluvian pagan system. Pretty much all cities after his (save Jerusalem IIRC, established by Melchizedek) follow Nimrod’s pattern.
Had I any doubts about never going back to NYC before, they’re gone now.
Escape from New York will look like an optimists view of what it could become with some improvements.
New York elected a Communist as their mayor..be proud New York, your the laughing stock of the country..but I guess in order to find out how really bad Communism is they have to experience it themselves, so for those New Yorkers who voted in this Commie schmuck, choke on it and enjoy
ON THE ROAD TO SERFDOM - 73% OF NEWYORKERS PUT THEIR DESTINY IN THE HANDS OF A COMMUNIST
Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it. - John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams, 1777
When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws dont protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed. AYN RAND
Obama/de Blasios fait accompli Under de Blasio New York will suffer a worse devastation than 9/11.
You're very close to the mark. What else is a very liberal liberal but a communist? And communism always has a ruling elite.