Monday, October 25

New York’s last chance?


Midtown NYC Food Block, 2021.

Photo: Andrés Correa Guatarasma / Courtesy

EFE.- Eating next to the garbage is the new menu in New York. The improvisation of the authorities in their dance of limiting and expanding restaurants at the same time during the pandemic has led to the saturation of sidewalks and streets, now narrower than ever.

Thus, they serve cocktails and ravioli alongside rats, sewage, cars, bicyclists, pedestrians, thieves and homeless, in an anarchic scene more typical of a market in Bombay than of the very expensive 5th or Madison avenues for rent. It’s a war for subsist in a city many have fled precisely because of disproportionate taxes, crime, impunity and the deterioration in the quality of life. Without surprises, in this chaos road accidents have also increased and, of course, hostility.

New Yorkers, who have a reputation for being demanding, cultured, neurotic and impatient, have slowly given way to deterioration. Some do complain, but others assume that being “strong” and boasting of living at the top implies never – never – admitting that New York is not paradise, especially now. It is a macabre game of pleasure and slapping, between the city and themselves.

Now again it’s time to vote in New York, where the Democratic Party reigns as much as Chavismo, the Castros, Putin or Peronism. Thus, their primaries are the real elections and the opposition hardly exists.

To be Mayor of New York is seen as the second most powerful elected office in America, second only to the White House. But the “capital of the world” has had in the last 8 years – elected twice – one of the tallest politicians in stature and proportionately mediocre that this country has known.

Bill de Blasio –Edited his German name Warren Wilhelm Jr. to sound more drinkable– it represents the incompetence that a conceited metropolis like New York should never have allowed itself to. His personality is an enigma: is he a nearsighted who does not perceive problems, an irresponsible cynic who ignores them and / or simply an incapable giant? And in 2019 he even had the audacity to aspire to the Presidency …

Beside him, the egomaniac and caudillo Governor Andrew Cuomo is a marvel. They both detest each other and have done everything to confuse New Yorkers with their stretching and shrinking measures, paying demagoguery and population stampede since before the pandemic.

With all this panorama, the lesson does not seem learned and Support for the “socialist” wing grows in the region. Their slogans? Less money for the police – although they live with private security – and more taxes “on the rich” … the few who have not moved.

“One thing about New York City: you are here or you are nowhere. You can’t reach another level of anxiety, hostility or paranoia anywhere else, ”says Gatsby Welles, the idle, millionaire, young lead in the latest movie of the now. morally vetoed Woody Allen, A rainy day in NY.

Like Allen, New York has certainly had much better days, with or without hysteria. But the upheaval that the world has experienced – including, of course, the United States – requires that it is time to mature, even when it is more than two centuries old.

The New York of 2021 is neither civilized nor avant-garde. Let the family of the actress who was hit by a skateboard a few days ago at Lincoln Center say so; or the 77-year-old chef who was thrown out of his restaurant window last week in the “war zone” that Washington Square has become in the West Village, the same square where Robert Redford and Jane Fonda ran barefoot in Barefoot in the Park.

If New York does not choose well this time, it will remain only for dystopia and horror movies, with more rats than people, literally.

Andrés Correa Guatarasma is a Venezuelan correspondent and playwright residing in New York, corresponding member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language.

(The Tribunes express the opinion of the authors, without EFE necessarily sharing their points of view)


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