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Sunday, October 27, 2013

New York City: Back To The 1980s (Part 2)

For several years I have intermittently reported on a gradual deterioration in New York City street conditions.  The major media is catching on. Today's New York Post reports on an increase in subway panhandling as well as growing public disgust.

One side point: The popular perception is that the crime increase (or crime wave, if you will) is attributable to the recent federal court ruling holding that the City must revise its procedures on the controversial (and effective) stop-and-frisk technique.  I strongly disagree; see my post from earlier this year which pre-dated the court ruling by months. The trend is not months in the making; it is years and it began to show during (but was hidden by) Bloomberg's second term.

The fault line in New York politics is this: Were you here (that is, in New York City itself and not its suburbs) before Rudolph Giuliani's election as Mayor in November 1993?  

I'll bet that question would yield an interesting break in the two-to-one support predicted for Sandinista candidate Bill de Blasio (D-Managua) over insipid Republican candidate and typical ex-bureaucrat Joe Lhota.

The full text of my report from this past spring is below:
If recent crime statistics are an indication (and they are), New York City may be returning to the ugly, pre-Giuliani years of rampant violent crime, when Gotham was less Sex and the City and more The Warriors.  Many Manhattan neighborhoods are seeing alarming spikes in crime, but my reporting will tell you that quality of life crimes or degradations are on an upswing, stats or no stats.
Anecdotal evidence of this retrograde transformation (or deformation) is widespread throughout "good" neighborhoods, in Central Park, City Hall Park, virtually every subway line and every transportation terminal (the exception is the new PATH station downtown).  Belligerent street people -- smelly or evidently deranged (or acting that way on purpose to effect the "pay me to go away" shakedown) -- have returned with a vengeance.  However, this trend has been developing for several years.  For example, the midtown Port Authority bus terminal has had a permanent homeless class since at least 2009 but which has steadily worsened over the last six to nine months.

Eric Dixon is a New York and New Jersey lawyer who grew up in New York City during the Koch and Dinkins Administrations (1978-89; 1990-93). You can guess his preference now.

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