Every day there’s a new story about the death of New York, how we’re so broken we can never be rebuilt. And every day brings a new crazy piece of news to a New York already on the brink to prove those people right. Our elected officials are crushing our city and state. Enough.
A new rule, for instance, bans events “where patrons buy tickets to see a performance,” Don Cazentre reported at Syracuse.com last week. “It seems to have suddenly popped up in the rules this week,” he said.
How does charging a cover for music put us at risk for the coronavirus? Like every other dagger in the heart of small business, it doesn’t. Enough.
We can’t live like this anymore. The constant new rules, the continued dance around reopening. New York City is failing. Our governor and mayor are keeping us in a state of disarray.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says gyms can open; Mayor Bill de Blasio says nope. Officials are no longer keeping us safe; they’re flexing their muscles just to prove they’re in charge. Cuomo and de Blasio’s squabbles, perhaps entertaining in normal times, are destroying us in the age of COVID.
The rest of the state has had indoor dining for nearly two months but New York City has been stuck with tables in street parking spots. Restaurants and bars in the city that never sleeps are forced to close at 11 p.m. Yet the city infection rate, according to de Blasio, is 0.24 percent.
And Cuomo is already threatening to close restaurants again in the fall. But NYC hasn’t even really opened yet! If we can’t open restaurants now, we can’t open them ever, and our city dies. Enough.
The real problem is limited outcry from New Yorkers. Cuomo and de Blasio are destroying the fabric of our city, and people are too afraid of the virus to stop them.
Throughout this crisis, we’ve seen a division: One group, the pajama-wearers, can work from home indefinitely, never leaving their couches. They happily collect their checks and spend their time smug in the satisfaction that they have handled this pandemic flawlessly. They bake bread, buy a Peloton bike and post Instagram pictures of sunrises from vacation homes. They’re happy to listen to every backward directive from elected officials. They haven’t suffered like their fellow New Yorkers.
The second group has either worked through the lockdown or had sleepless nights wondering if their businesses will ever reopen. They’ve contended with ever-changing rules, ever-deferred opening dates and constant attacks on their livelihoods. I’m a pajama-wearer, but as a lifelong New Yorker, most of my world consists of people in the second group.
Many of these people compare their lives right now to living in a totalitarian regime, where rules make no sense but people are afraid to say so.
The East Village bar Lucky had its liquor license pulled, according to the Web site Eater, after the owner started a petition “to reverse the state’s new mandate that bars must serve substantial amounts of food with any alcohol purchase.” The Village Line bar in Erie County mocked Cuomo with its menu items, and it too had its liquor license suddenly pulled.
If you speak up, your pain could be extended, and every business owner in New York knows it.
You don’t have to think the coronavirus is a hoax — I don’t — to see these rules make no sense. But what they highlight, more than anything else, is that we are not all in this together.
Stop torturing small-business owners with nonsensical regulations and unfair enforcement. Enough.
De Blasio and Cuomo love to celebrate how well New York handled the pandemic. Please. We didn’t cooperate and stay inside for so long so our kids could go to school, maybe, sometimes.
We did it to “flatten the curve” and not overwhelm hospitals for a few months — but then to be able to go to dinner, listen to live music and get a drink with a friend.
We did it because we love New York and want it back.
We want our lives back, all of us — not just the pajama class.
If you love New York, stand up for it now or don’t be surprised that when you finally change out of pajamas and leave the house, there will be no more New York to return to.