I am a New Yorker.
A product of New York’s public schools, its mean streets, its melting pot, museums, nightlife, Broadway.
For most of my life I was brimming with pride to proclaim myself a New Yorker. Even when I lived in Paris, I was quick to advise all that my heart, my mind, my persona were reflections of the unique electricity that flowed from the epicenter of everything wise, cool, smart and spectacular.
Like the iconic Saul Steinberg illustration, I viewed New York as the center of the cosmos and everything beyond its borders to be less, inferior, crude, tasteless and boorish. Seated comfortably in the nose of a 757, vodka on the rocks in hand, I would share the Gotham joke about the flybys that we would soar over, from the tip of JFK to the strip at LAX. All those rubes below, darting in and out of Walmarts, taking their Chevies to the levies. Good old boys, we had their number.
Today, the memories of that hollow and distorted sense of superiority disgust me. The flybys are called “America.” Those are the “rubes” who fly the red, white and blue on their front porches, who send their children to fight for our freedom, who build our cars and grow our corn, feed the world and wildcat our energy out of the hardscrabble soil.
My once glorious New York is hardly a state of the union any longer. The newspaper of record is now a PR rag with a partisan political agenda. The mayor now decides how much salt “We The People” can eat. The taxes are confiscatory, levied to fund broken schools, social injustice and nameless, faceless bureaucracies in the name of every group that decries itself The Victims Of The Month.
Yes, New York has its great museums and parades for every cause, but it is now a member of the EU, situated just to the left of Copenhagen.
My once beloved city has floated away.Email This Post