Those who know me, know that I love our city and consider it to be the greatest city on earth. Not that I have visited every city on earth and can make that claim with verifiable proof, I just know it in my bones. But recently I have had some ominous feelings about our city. I’m usually the first to shrug off all the bad karma that has been happening. And I agree that there is a lot of awful stuff happening living within this science-fiction-pandemic movie with political and anarchist side plots everywhere.
Driving through Manhattan recently brought tears to my eyes as to how things could have gotten so bad so fast. Or maybe it has been slowly eroding, not unlike my basketball and cognitive abilities, over the last seven years under our Marxist Mayor and Fascist Governor. Roads that once accommodated several lanes of traffic to move cars through the arteries of NY are now narrowed to one or two lanes as bus lanes, bike lanes and poorly engineered off-the-curb parking has replaced them. Not to mention the Citi-Bike stands and outdoor dining construction. I tried driving from downtown to Chelsea and couldn’t believe how long it took. I made the mistake of remembering that at one time in my youth, it was possible to park on the street in Manhattan, but after looking at the street signs about traffic I realized that I didn’t have the PhD necessary to interpret what the hell they all meant. I was born and raised here, and I don’t understand when and where it’s legal to park, how the hell does some newcomer from Kansas figure it out? You got me!
I finally gave up and threw the car in a lot for a few hours figuring I didn’t need the $60 anyway, and the poor lot owner was probably going to be out of business soon anyhow. Walking the streets of Chelsea was like trying to perambulate through Calcutta in the old days, and I mean no offense to Calcutta. Mother Theresa would have had a field day in Chelsea as there are more homeless there than there are homeowners. How did this get like this? I understand the pandemic, but is there no management of this city at all? Don’t they care about the people who have to live and work here, raise kids here, have some quality of life?
And speaking of city management, what do you have to do to get a permit to do construction in New York? I think all you have to do is just ask. There are more street and building construction sites than at any other time I remember. I am happy that it is gainful employment to so many, but how in God’s good earth are you supposed to navigate them. Shouldn’t someone be managing them so that one site doesn’t lead into the other?
I am not a Democrat or a Republican, and frankly couldn’t care less what party was in charge, as long as they do the right thing and make the city safe, inviting, easy to navigate. And by easy to navigate I don’t mean for bikes, scooters, mini-cycles, unicycles, etc…. I mean it’s a city, not a circus, right? Or maybe it is a circus and the clowns are running the show.
We were damn lucky to have lived through twenty years of safe streets, subways, buses in a growing well-managed metropolis. It took seven years to change all that. I dread the next year, because if the Mayor didn’t care about the last seven years, he will never care about the last one of his administration. And the Governor is just as bad, taking every opportunity to blame everyone except himself. And where is the hope? Where is the shining star coming to lead us back to normalcy and safety? In an unusual state of pessimism, I really don’t see one yet.
The only good thing is that Rockaway remains a refuge from the madness. Did someone say rock jetties are coming? Thank God for that at least! Maybe I should have a Snickers bar?
By Lou Pastina