It’s a defunct war zone that’s on the verge of collapse. But, don’t fear, we’re very woke here.
ASTORIA, NYC- We arrived from Prague on July 4th of last year not really knowing if it was going to work out.
My wife and I had the same objective: to advance our careers. This is probably the reason why 90% of people move to the city. You come in, claw and hustle, stay if you make it, split if you don’t. It has been one year since we’ve been based in New York City, and our status here is still yet to be determined.
Our journey in NYC did not necessarily begin auspiciously:
I arrived here around midnight on the Fourth of July. My family and I walked up out of the subway and onto a street that looked like something out of movie about some token “bad part of town.” Drunks were sprawled out over the stoop at the subway entrance. People on the sidewalk were screaming at people in cars. The people in cars were screaming back at the people on the sidewalk. Trash was blowing by in the breeze. Groups of young men were shifting around on street corners. Nobody had any interest in us — it was just interesting to walk through a scene that seemed so contrived and set up as to almost be a cliche of itself.
Then we rounded the corner to go to our Airbnb. There was a fight going on right in front of the gate. At least a dozen people were gathered around a car, rocking it and screaming profanities that revolved around “pedophile-mother-f’cker.” We scurried into our apartment. Welcome to Brooklyn.
I didn’t think NYC was going to be as easy as I thought it was going to be. I knew there was a chance that I could have hit the first pitch out of the park. I had helped out some people in power positions in my industry here before. But as my emails went unanswered it became clear that they were just using me — in Asia I was a benefit to them, in NYC I was a nothing. I would have to dig in.
I knew that pulling off NYC would require a reasonable amount of serendipity and raw chance. It didn’t seem very daunting at the time — the work of a chronicler is powered by these forces. However, throughout my first season in NYC I wasn’t as up for it as much as I usually am. The bar is a research tool, but it’s a lot different scurrying between bars in the icy cold of a wintertime city than it is under the balmy sun of the tropics. I didn’t invest in cultivating connections; partially because it requires a different toolkit to do so in your home country. I also realized that I liked doing things the way I always did them … and I didn’t really want to change. I interviewed for a couple of positions and I ominously recollected what it’s actually like to work for somebody. I crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t be hired … and signed with relief when I wasn’t.
Nonetheless, it started coming together for me here in NYC: a series of speaking engagements were aligned, film projects were going into production, and the value of being located at the crossroads of the world was manifesting itself. This could work out after all …
Then the pandemic blew everything up. Or, more accurately, our politicians’ over-reaction to the pandemic blew everything up. I couldn’t have seen this coming — nobody could have — and, ultimately, NYC was almost as good of a place as any. If I knew the pandemic was coming I would have based myself in a Republican state … but that’s splitting hairs a little — at least I wasn’t Trevor’ed.
However, what happened definitely has an impact on shaping my overall feelings towards NYC and the degree to which I will be able to operate here in the future.
I originally came to NYC for a short list of reasons, but chiefly because it put me at the center of world in terms of air travel routes and I figured it would be a good, multicultural environment to raise my girls. But now — and into the foreseeable future — I have to recognize that it’s not the same place it was when I arrived, and many of the benefits of living here do not currently exist:
The airports – There’s nowhere to go. All of my projects / jobs / speaking engagements have been cancelled, so it’s a moot point that I’m 10 minutes from LaGuardia, an hour from JFK, and 80 minutes from Newark. Media agencies – They are shut down, work remotely now, or have moved elsewhere. Most are cash-strapped and are not hiring. Many have gone woke, lost all credibility, and are not places that I would want to work. When even the NYT is putting out intentionally misleading news with political objectives, the industry as a whole is in trouble. Crossroads of the planet – Friends and contacts are no longer coming through the city looking to meet up. I have an apartment in an awesome neighborhood but nobody coming in to show it off to. The art and culture – Gone! This sect was leaving the city even before Covid. You have to wonder how many promising acting / music / art dreams have been permanently snuffed out because our government chose to value the almost dead over the living. (Maybe I should shoot a film about this?) International community – Standing by yourself in the street with a cocktail in a to-go cup really isn’t a good way to make friends. Family – I haven’t been up to visit my family in Rochester since the end of football season and my wife’s family makes her and the kids properly social distance for weeks before they will go near them. Bills games – NY State announced on Wednesday that it won’t be allowing fans to attend games in Orchard park. This alone is a reason to riot.
School for wife and kids – That’s going well. They are happy.
So out of all the reasons why I came to New York City there is only one that still stands. I’m not sure what I’m doing here. You spend the extra money to live in a big city for the perks of life in a big city. Without those perks all you’re doing is wasting money. I can sit in my room and write on the internet anywhere in the world. I moved here for the “something more” that the place offered — the prospects of which are pretty much gone.
Meanwhile, the woke mob has entrenched themselves here. The municipal government allowed massive crowds to assemble to protest in violation of the social distancing protocols they imposed upon us for months … and did nothing as looters ravaged the city. They hung their police force out to dry and hardly shrugged when they were attacked. As they voted to defund the police to save black communities from cops, crime spiraled out of control in precisely these same areas. 42 people were shot on Fourth of July weekend, bringing the weekly total in the city up to 101 shootings. Over the past 28 days 250 people have been shot in NYC.
Police officer hit by cars in Bronx pic.twitter.com/RFh4T4zRgq
— Ringo Lennon (@Ringo_Lennon123) June 2, 2020
This is how Sunday played out:
The first victim was a 21-year-old man in Brownsville, Brooklyn, according to the New York Post. ..
A few minutes later, the police was notified of another shooting in The Bronx, where a 29-year-old was found with a gunshot wound in the chest. He was taken to a hospital and declared dead.
Less than an hour later, a 15-year-old boy was shot outside a building on Madison Avenue. He was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.
Shortly after 8 p.m., the police were notified of three men being shot inside 306 E. 171st St. in The Bronx—just a couple blocks down from where the earlier shooting had taken place.
A 22-year-old and 27-year-old who were shot in the chest and neck respectively were both pronounced dead upon arrival at St. Barnabas Hospital, according to police.
Just before 9 p.m., a 45-year-old man was shot in the head inside a building in Stapleton.
They didn’t stand a chance. Welcome to Bill De Blasio’s New York City. pic.twitter.com/JyX3dnedOj
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) July 7, 2020
But of course this crime is happening far from where decision makers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez live in luxury. It’s happening in the communities that these politicians are claiming to be protecting as they call to abolish the police. But let’s put this in perspective: nine unarmed black guys were killed by cops in the USA throughout all of 2019; in a 15-hour period this weekend nine black guys were killed by civilian violence in NYC alone. Apparently, black lives only matter when cops are doing the killing … and of course nobody bothers to count all the black lives that are essentially saved by the police.
And to think that all this is all happening in a big city that up until a month ago was one of the safest in the USA.
For most New Yorkers, there’s really no good reason for them to continue living in the city. Most people here work office jobs that can now be done remotely from anywhere, or are artists one tick away from insolvency, or service workers who would be hard pressed to call what they’re doing a career. NYC is a luxury. It’s a place that people chose to live for the joys of being here or to advance a career. People live here because they want to live here, not because they have to — and masses are on the way out.
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