Strange times in New York City
It's strange times in New York City. COVID — and confused government policies — has commercial buildings desolate in Manhattan. Few are returning to work in their offices despite politicians proclaiming otherwise. Restaurants can open for food but not for drinks. Gatherings are forbidden — unless it is to protest. Crime is through the roof, months after elected officials allowed looting and forced police to turn a blind eye.
The Hamptons — where I write this from — is filled with business-owners and CEOs in no rush to return to Manhattan. As the Partnership for NYC president, Kathryn Wylde, rightly said in an interview this week, wealthy New Yorkers who fled the city during the coronavirus crisis "don't want to come back." The top one percent of earners currently account for 40 percent of New York state tax revenue, according to numbers, and in a city dominated by ultra-liberal voters, there is concern about what happens next if New York raises taxes.
In fact, taxes being raised will cause even deeper problems in N.Y. The wealthy are afraid to speak up — targeted by demonstrations at homes or "cancel culture" in a world where differing thoughts are often attacked.
This week, I — and a number of other business executives — were thrown out of Facebook discussion groups formed to discuss NYC's problems for suggesting that Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are to blame for the situation we find ourselves in and should be held responsible. Organizers of these groups removed us for "discussing politics" as they advocated calling City Council members for an answer to the increased homeless and crime problems now dominating wealthy neighborhoods in the city. I — a native of NYC who has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in New York City — was called a troll for daring to suggest that Cuomo and de Blasio are responsible. Daring to criticize Democrats in New York is cause for being canceled.
People are afraid to speak out.
For the next few years, the city that never sleeps will be sleeping. Without restaurants, culture, and all the things that made our city great, many will be leaving. Taxes, overregulation, soft-on-crime policies like bail reform leave many like this native of NYC wondering why the hell we need it. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio will go down in history as the great destroyers of New York City.
Let us pray that sane minds prevail in New York City. I don't have my hopes up.
Ronn Torossian is a native New Yorker and entrepreneur.