Crime is up and high-end retail is down in Bill de Blasio’s COVID- and riot-plagued New York City. Should he build a wall to keep people and businesses in?
I’m being facetious about the wall — I think. No one is seriously contemplating an Escape from New York-style structure to trap residents inside the city.
But maybe they should be.
Italian designer brand Valentino — maker of $4,000 handbags for women and $1,850 windbreakers for men — is so frustrated with collapsing demand in the city that they’re actually suing to get out of their lease on Manhattan’s storied Fifth Avenue.
The Daily Mail reported on Monday that the luxury goods maker wants out of a 2013 lease nine years early for a retail space they’ve been paying $2,513 per square foot for on average each month.
For perspective, my house is in a wooded foothills area north of Colorado Springs, complete with mountain views, and for which I paid about $100 per square foot, just the one time.
The suit claims that “business at the premises has been substantially hindered and rendered impractical, unfeasible and no longer workable.”
The lockdown might be ending, but New York City’s woes have just begun.
The DM story notes that “even as brick-and-mortar stores reopen, foot traffic in the area, which boasts the popular tourist spot Saks Fifth Avenue, has drastically decreased.”
Part of what makes exorbitant rents like the one Valentino pays for its Fifth Avenue location is that it’s the kind of location where the rich and famous people shop to see and to be seen.
Masks take a lot of the fun out of that. So does the sound of gunfire.
Can Fifth Avenue as we know it survive COVID and a return to pre-Giuliani New York violent crime rates?
Weekly NYC shootings soar 358% over same time period last year, data showshttps://t.co/u0aKmNwWqo
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) June 22, 2020
Who do they think they are — Chicago?
NBC New York says that “shootings last week skyrocketed in NYC compared with the same time period in 2019, from 12 last year to 55 in 2020.”
Don’t be shocked. Just two weeks ago, de Blasio performed a Gephardt-Level Flipflop (difficulty multiplier: 3.5) when he did a 180° Triple Lindy flip onto the #DefundThePolice bandwagon.
My friend (and New York resident) Jazz Shaw wrote for Hot Air on June 7:
Earlier today, while discussing AOC’s half-baked proposal to defund the police, I noted what the unfortunate results of such a move would be. Thankfully, that was only a hypothetical conversation… at least until a few hours later. No matter how bad things might get in New York City under the administration of Bill de Blasio, we were never going to fall that far down the rabbit hole, right? Well, hang onto your hat, Alice, and keep an eye out for a giant bunny with a pocket watch. After just saying on Friday that he was opposed to doing anything along those lines, Hizzoner did yet another complete about-face and announced plans to “shift funds away” from the NYPD.
It says something about the power of the progressive mob that de Blasio was once the voice of sanity on #DefundThePolice, even if only very briefly.
Jazz also reported that “entire city blocks in the Big Apple are currently composed of burned-out husks or empty storefronts with all of their windows smashed out.”
Today we learned that the rot has spread all the way to Fifth Avenue’s priciest storefronts.
Under Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and city mayor de Blasio, statewide and local encouragement of lawlessness has been an ongoing project. On January 1 of this year, the state abolished cash bail for most crimes — including nonviolent felonies — and the results have been as awful as they are unsurprising.
Craig Trainor wrote on Monday for National Review:
In New York City, January 2020 saw a 30 percent increase in crime from January 2019. In January and February, 482 individuals were arrested for serious felony offenses, released without bail, and arrested again for committing another 846 new crimes — over a third of them serious felonies. By early March 2020, crime was up in by double digits. The NYPD released an unequivocal statement: “Criminal justice reform serves as a significant reason New York City has seen this uptick in crime.” The dangers were foreseeable and the consequences unnecessary.
Compounding the deadly folly of eliminating bail, New York used the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to push the longstanding progressive goal of eliminating prison sentences for all kinds of convicts.
Back in March, de Blasio began releasing convicts wholesale without concern for the city’s struggling retailers, be they Fifth Avenue or the mom & pop shop on the corner.
By early April, more than 1,500 had been set free:
“Largely through efforts from judges, district attorneys, defenders, DOC and New York State DOCCS, over 1,500 people have been released from jail since March 16,” the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice touted in a fact sheet posted online. “Today the jail population is at a number last seen in 1949.”
The 20 percent decline from 5,447 city inmates to 4,363 reflect data through April 6, the sheet says.
Those sprung in the last 21 days include 329 “violent felony detainees” and 207 “non-violent felony detainees,” the report says.
So while it’s true that the Wuhan virus has had a serious impact on New York City’s glitzy shopping scene, the longer-lasting and deeper wounds are self-inflicted.
And while plenty of big cities exist happily without super-luxury retail outlets like Valentino’s, it’s impossible to survive without the small shops, restaurants, and convenience stores city-dwellers depend on daily — for their consumer needs and in many cases, for their jobs.
New York City recovered from a decades-long increase in violent crime, finally brought to heel by Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioner, William Bratton. By going after small crimes like breaking windows and jumping subway fares, they sent the message that crime wasn’t welcome in New York City — and criminals took that message to heart. New York City went from being a deadly national embarrassment to a renaissance and became one of the safest big cities in the world.
Bill de Blasio came into office promising to end broken windows policing, and he did. Since then he’s gone further, supporting everything from elimination of bail to #DefundThePolice to releasing hundreds of violent convicts.
The results speak for themselves, and really New York’s decline — its derenaissance, if you will — has only just begun.
Mister, we could use a man like Rudy Giuliani again.