Exodus from New York City hints at bleak future
So there is this 45-year college friend in North Carolina.
We were catching up by phone recently and he told me about his brother, who owns this property in Wilmington and is thinking of selling.
When’s the best time to sell, his brother asked his Realtor.
Anytime, the Realtor told him, because well-off people from New York City are fleeing in droves and looking for places to live like the coast of North Carolina.
Put the For Sale sign up and it’s likely a New Yorker will come calling, she said.
My friend has a daughter and future son-in-law who used to live in New York City. They fled when the coronavirus hit in the spring, with his daughter’s fiancee working his New York job remotely from North Carolina.
They have only been back to the big city a couple times since to close ties and don’t intend to ever return permanently.
They no longer consider it a desirable place to live.
You can get similar stories from people in Florida about an exodus from New York City large enough to stretch the line of cars up Interstate 95 from Orlando to Manhattan.
There’s another line to draw. It is connected by efforts to defund police, bail laws that allow quick release of those apprehended for many crimes, prosecutors not backing up police with stiff sentences to perpetrators, and a complete lack of support from Mayor Bill DeBlasio for police battling rioting and looting.
Murders rose by 50 percent in New York City in July, underscoring a trend that started in the spring. Businesses are boarded up, either due to looting or excessive coronavirus shutdown policies. All the things that used to make New York the place to visit – a solid safety record, tourism, entertainment, commercial vibrance – have been replaced by unrest and upheaval.
Rather than encourage people that this will end, the mayor is promoting a new round of “wealth redistribution” and downplaying an obvious spike in violent crime, rioting and looting.
People who have been successful in New York City are not dummies. They see the trends and have the economic capability that allows them to leave.
Sadly, the people who have had their neighborhoods and businesses destroyed or shutdown with excessive coronavirus business policies don’t have the same mobility. They are stuck. They are the ones being impacted most negatively by social activism gone too far.
So they will be the ones who will have to live with less police protection and higher taxes in the future.
The shame is that these people did not ask for this. A recent poll by Gallup showed 80 percent of Blacks want the same level of police protection or more, not less. The coverage of that gets muted by an agenda-obsessed media.
Of course they want police reform. Of course they want changes in some policies. Of course they want bad cops eliminated. We all want that.
But what is happening in New York, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Kenosha and Rochester has veered far away from needed police and social justice reforms to outright attacks by anarchist groups on cities and police. Bricks and mortar shells, disruption of people trying to eat in a restaurant, beatings of people merely driving down a street, and open looting have replaced protest signs and marches much of the time in these cities.
And where there is unrest, there is violence. Chicago homicides have increased 50 percent in 2020 and shootings are up 24 percent in the nation’s 50 largest cities. The increases are matched by record numbers of demoralized police putting in for retirement. Just as residents have given up on these cities, so have police, worn down from over-the-top policies dressed up as “reform.”
The mayors of most of these cities roll their eyes and play the blame game when they are offered National Guard troops to end the madness. Isn’t protecting all their citizens their job? How do they look in a mirror at night while dismissing obvious violence against their own residents as peaceful protest?
The ultimate tragedy is that the victims — residents and small business owners in predominately lower-class neighborhoods, many of them minorities — could care less about the political agendies of either party.
They just want to survive, economically and physically. And they are not getting much help from the leaders of their cities, corporations and Congress right now, who seem more concerned with hair appointments and protecting their political hides with virtue signaling.
If this continues much longer, New York City will not be the only origin of an exodus. Other cities will follow.
And in each of them, the people who need help the most will be left behind to somehow survive — with fewer police to protect them and wilting economic opportunity.
David F. Troisi is retired as editor of the Sun-Gazette.