Welcome back, New York, to the hell of the 1970s: “Chaos on Christopher: Iconic Village stretch overrun by drug dealers, prostitutes, violent youths,” the New York Daily News reports:
Christopher St., the Village’s most iconic block, has been taken over by drug peddlers, prostitutes and marauding youths, residents and shop owners say.
Teenage troublemakers regularly wreak havoc along the colorful strip of boutiques, bars and restaurants extending from Seventh Ave. to Hudson River Park, merchants say.
Crime has spiked in recent months, prompting cops to step up patrols and longtime residents to retreat indoors.
“You take your life into your hands when you come down here, especially after dark,” said Bob Goodman, 69, who has lived in the area for more than three decades. “Friends of mine have been mugged. Places have been broken to. There are fights all the time.
“I’ve never seen it like this. Fifteen years ago, you could walk down the street and you wouldn’t have to worry about getting mugged on your way home.”
Say, who was New York’s mayor in 1996? I wonder how popular he was amongst the residents of Christopher Street back then? And as Daniel Henninger wrote a decade later, New York’s avant-garde elite longed for a return to the pre-Giuliani era:
The ’70s golden-agers in the Times story don’t deny what was going on then–but they kind of miss it. The photographer Mary Ellen Mark remembers “it was a time of costume and excitement, a time of youth and great energy.” Caleb Carr, the novelist of old-time New York, thinks the city has been “sterilized by the Giuliani years.” He says that “like a troublesome child taking Ritalin, New York may be more manageable now, but it has also sacrificed its personality.”
By ignoring traditional law and order, and focusing on growing New York’s nanny state, Giuliani’s successor seems more determined than ever to bring back the city’s Death Wish and Taxi Driver-era character.
And the city’s chief newspaper has a similar focus, whether it knows it or not. Or to paraphrase Jim Treacher, you can marry a person of the same gender in New York City, but you can’t eat your Fourth of July hamburger without the Gray Lady slapping it out of your hands before it raises your carbon footprint.
Not nearly as much as printing a daily newspaper does, but that’s different.