Bye-Bye, New York

Mayor-elect Eric Adams, having announced he would appoint a woman of color as NYPD Commissioner, has chosen Keechant Sewell, sending a clear message to the people of New York: The most important qualifications for a job in this city are race and sex—things that one is born with and over which one has no control. (Though apparently these days one can change one’s sex, which leaves the Left falling over itself to explain why one can’t also change one’s race.) 

This is not an auspicious beginning. 

Now, if you’re sitting in a New York apartment, or perhaps huddling for warmth on the street next to a burning police car, you’ve been repeating the same mantra to yourself for the last few months: Eric Adams can’t be as bad as Bill de Blasio. Everything will be alright. 

Everything will not be alright. In the depths of the current catastrophe that is Manhattan, “not as bad” is not good enough. To flourish once again, New York needs a La Guardia. New York may get a La Guardia some time in the future, but it’s not getting one now. 

New Yorkers hung on all through 2020, pulling together as instructed, sacrificing their livelihoods and spending their savings while the wealthy treated it like a carefree sabbatical. Then 2021 dawned and the real threat of disease receded like flood waters, leaving exposed the ugly, mollusk-encrusted mechanisms of an aspiring police state which will be damned if it’s going to give up one ounce of its “temporary” powers. 

If Adams were serious about rescuing New York, he’d announce an end not just to masks in schools, but to masks everywhere. He’d announce an end to the disgusting policy of “checking papers” at the doors of restaurants, which has created a second tier class of citizens who sit outdoors in flimsy wooden-and-plastic enclosures with heat lamps suspended overhead.

Eric Adams recently said that he wants to make New York “the center of the cryptocurrency industry” by offering special incentives to those companies to keep their operations in New York. Too bad. Too little, too late. Adams must realize that capital is fleeing the city even faster now than it was last year. He wishes he could just flip a switch and trap everyone’s money inside. But he can’t. 

Professionals in cryptocurrency and decentralized finance are precisely those who are most suspicious of government mechanisms for stealing capital—that is a motive force behind the entire crypto concept. A “decentralized” industry doesn’t have a “center.” And these professional crypto traders and entrepreneurs are much, much smarter than Adams and his policy gurus. They know where opportunity is, and where it isn’t. They won’t stay here. 

New York is not a city of opportunity. It was 20 years ago. It was 10 years ago. But no longer is it the place for young people to come and make their fortunes and their way in the world. Policy is being designed to please intellectually ossified Park Avenue leftists, whose main concern at their advanced stage of life is not dying. That is why New York is willing to take any ridiculous precaution and suspend most of life itself for their sake. New York has become the perfect city for old affluence to spend its declining years. It is a gigantic, expensive geriatric ward. 

I do think New York will rise again. But it’s certainly not going to come back in the next few years, and certainly not under this mayor. New York, to revive itself, must offer overwhelming attractions for youth and opportunity. It specialized in precisely that for over a hundred years. But today, it offers up the ashes of yesterdays’ opportunity, to be “enjoyed” by yesterdays’ burnt-up youth—shuffling down the streets, blinking at the sunlight and clutching their masks in a constant state of bleary-minded paranoia. 

The most lavish special incentives could not convince me to start another business in New York today. The uncertainty is great, the long-term risk immense, and the short-term upside non-existent. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, New York, I think Florida is calling my name.

About Dan Gelernter

Dan Gelernter is a columnist for American Greatness living in Connecticut.

Photo: NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Kips Bay. Noam Galai/Getty Images

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