A highlight from Episode 260: Episode 260: Can New York City Ever Recover?
Have conceptualist this whole approach to new york in what you're trying to accomplish with. I've been in the city for the last almost a decade. My family worked in the city from nine hundred. Eighty six to nineteen ninety five and so i have a perspective of the city as a child that was dangerous and dingy. It's the perspective at a lot of older people have new york city but you know after a certain time people came in and change the city around it had a completely different trajectory. And as fred segal says the city was shown that it could be governed and so seeing the city slide towards what seems to be what i saw as a child motivated me to put together a series of projects. Use my skill set so that people can have an understanding of where the city is heading so that it hopefully doesn't head that way in the future. Share your sense of history. I remember the decay of new york to a point where it seemed. Almost ungovernable tourism was collapsing. People didn't feel comfortable going into the city and then along came giuliani and he brought in cheap And in two years they turned the whole thing around. It was astonishing and they both written books about it. And the city was on a trajectory to get healthier and healthier safer safer more and more prosperous and when mayor bloomberg came in he basically continued hussein policies and then all of a sudden you get to blasio and as part of i think a national movement away from everything that works towards everything fails and it was kind of remarkable. So when you decided you're going to try to communicate what's happening in new york. You really do it in large part. By letting new yorkers shock new york city is it's people you know people all new york city's buildings in new york city's cultured so on and so forth. But you remember. There's more than just manhattan. New york city is large. It's five boroughs in a lot of the flavor has bloomed from the city. That's been around. Me is older than the united states itself comes from its citizens and so it was important to talk to people on the ground. New york city is a surface city. It's a city that you take the subway. You walked out to your bodega. You interact with your neighbors in a very dynamic way so you have this kind of visceral connection no other cities who get in cars and you go from point a to point b new york city you come out of europe very small apartment and you explore you. Change directions on a whim and so to understand that into translate it to people who don't live in a pedestrian style city. You have to talk to the people who live in the neighborhoods and you know we went out to. I think all five boroughs are represented. We went too far distant. Parts of queens. I mean what people don't realize is there's parts of new york city that look like everyday suburbs. But they are in new york city to the far parts of braga far parts of even brooklyn and so it was important to go to those places to fill in those places to make that trek across miles and miles of buildings in various places. So that the voice of all new yorkers represented throughout the project. Did you find any concerns about physical safety just with the dramatic rise in crime. You know it's interesting. Because i had been traveling for a little bit. Had come back to the city to work on the project and even in the short amount of time. While i had been on the road the city had declined in so when i went to the outer boroughs i went to brownsville where there's been a number of incidents. I went to tilden house. I went too far rockaway. I went to south rocks with the nicer housing. In to be honest with you. Why actually witnessed. The most threatening incident was actually in midtown midtown manhattan fifty first and third. My wife and i in two friends had just had dinner. We were standing on the side of the street. We're at fifty first and a brawl broke out in front of us and a gentleman said he was going to pull something out of his bag to deal with the store owner and for a moment that nineteen ninety one part of my brain kicked in and i nearly through my wife to the ground in his friends tackled him and it became an incident in all the years. I've been there. I've never witnessed something that could have potentially slid such a bad direction. And i witnessed it at fifty. I in third right. This wasn't in the night to housing a south bronx. This wasn't in some distant part of queens. This wasn't in any part of brooklyn. It was literally three feet in front of me. And that was kinda testament that midtown has taken a severe beating between covid riots in now just complete mismanagement by leadership in the city. Why do you think it affected manhattan more than the other boroughs to imagine that it happened. Which had been the center of prosperity would now become a place. It's a danger. And i remember watching the riots on tv. People in fifth avenue deliberately going around breaking into stores stealing. But have you. Do you think it will recover. What's interesting is during the pandemic in the lockdown. We would go out at certain times. And it's interesting because if you went into harlem or you went into parts of the bronx you went into parts of brooklyn. People kept continuing their lives as normal because they didn't have the luxury of being able to escape the city in so the outer boroughs i would say in many ways currently speaking 'cause we went to all of them there's more traffic there's more business. There's more commerce and interaction in the thing is is manhattan is fourteen miles tall. It's roughly two miles wide at its largest thirty four square miles. It's actually not that big. And most people think of midtown sixtieth street down to say fourteenth street or twenty third street depending on who you ask and so this is a business area. There are people who live there are plenty of buildings but there's a lot of businesses in people typically commute from these outer boroughs and so those businesses have been shut down and when the businesses are shut down. There's no reason to go there. People have learned to work from home. This had a massive economic impact in the outer boroughs. You know where people weren't particularly visiting a lot anyway just continued their lives in in some ways they have recovered better than manhattan and again. Because if you think about it at least in my building seventy percent of my building has left the pandemic we did not leave in a lot of people with manhattan. They just actually physically less than a lot of people are not coming back for. Those people didn't have that opportunity in harlem in other places like that they had no choice but to continue life as normal as possible. They had to try to keep their businesses going and then they had to fight off and rioters which made it worse. It's actually a fascinating dynamic that the outer boroughs where people just have to do. It will probably fare better but again if the current state we've talked to police commissioner bratton and he thought that it could be ten years before the city comes back because the damage is on an infrastructure level. It's undone policies and things that were put in place that made the city function from the base level up in so to put those policies back into place to reinforce the infrastructure of the city functions which is largely what had happened in that period from giuliani into bloomberg is very very difficult. The amazing thing was that the bretton giuliani reforms digital and it's interesting that the objective reality was they work. I saw bloomberg