New York City jumped the shark

Shutting down all public transportation in New York City is blasphemous.

You don’t understand unless you live here. This is a city where you can get pizza delivered to you at 2am in most neighborhoods. This is a city where most neighborhoods have a combination of one or more bodegas (small grocery stores), fruit and vegetable stores, pizza shops, Chinese food restaurants or convenience store like Duane Reade or 7/11, open 7 days per week, 24 hours a day.

In other words, trade is a 24-hour operation in the city. And that makes sense, given the the population of the city and the varied hours people work and play.

And New York City is not like other cities. Most people in the city do not own cars. Owning a car here is a liability and an encumbrance. Competition for parking spots in intense, parking lots are expensive, insurance rates are high, and so are the parking fines. A monthly MetroCard will give you unlimited bus and subway rides for $112. Contrast this with any of the costs of owning and driving a car in New York City.

Shutting down public transportation here is like banning driving in L.A. Or sunbathing in San Diego.

Shutting down public transportation means many people cannot get to work. When all the buses and trains are shut down, money from taxes on wages is not generated because the majority of New Yorkers cannot get to work. Businesses are closed (because their employees can’t get to work). They don’t make sales; they don’t generate income for the city.

The last two times public transportation was shut down, some vehicular traffic was disallowed. Meaning some deliveries weren’t made. This was probably a good thing, as most businesses wouldn’t have employees present to accept and process the incoming goods.

But limiting vehicular traffic meant pizza delivery wasn’t possible. Sales from home-bound hungry New Yorkers were decreased. (This being New York, there are lots of deliveries via bicycles.)

Shutting down public transportation and prohibiting cars and trucks means the city is shut down. Trade and sales decrease to a minimum. It’s beyond anti-capitalism, it’s downright profane in a city like New York to put up such barriers to trade.

Bloomberg did it first, in response to Hurricane Irene’s approach. Because he professed to be so pro-businesss, I imagine that he crunched the numbers and made an astonishing discovery that the city would actually save more money by shutting down than it would recoup by being open for business.

That’s a scary thought.

Maybe it means that Bloomberg discovered that the 2010 US Census’ count of New York City’s population was correct after all. (He originally challenged their data).

And/or maybe the current employment situation — with many people working two low-pating part-time jobs to make ends meet — means that the revenue from income taxes has decreased to such an extent that it makes more economical sense to not provide services.

And/or maybe the economic situation has so deteriorated that enough sales aren’t being generated to make providing services fiscally sound.

Then again, maybe Bloomberg and de Blasio just made a mistake in calculations and made the wrong choice when it came to properly preparing for the storms.

Either scenario is a little scary and feels like a harbinger of harder times to come.

15. February 2015 by sojourner hardeman
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