Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the New York City area in March, prompting a strict lockdown of the city’s schools and “non-essential” business, the real estate markets in the outer boroughs and suburbs around New York City, have experienced the largest boom in recent memory. in demand for residential real estate, including apartments and private homes in all price ranges has exploded from northern New Jersey to Westchester County to Connecticut to Long Island, due to longtime residents fleeing the city.
During the last two weekends in August, the streets of Manhattan’s Upper West Side were clogged with moving vans and U-Haul trucks being loading up with the belongings of the neighborhoods long-time, mostly upper middle-class residents. They are abandoning their homes due to fear and disgust over the rapid decline, since the pandemic struck, in the quality of life in the city as a whole and in their neighborhood in particular.
They are tired of being accosted in the street by aggressive panhandlers moved by the city into local hotels, being forced to dodge the makeshift encampments of the homeless which have taken over the sidewalks, and the common sight of illegal drugs being dealt openly in broad daylight, on the streets of their neighborhood.
They have had enough. They have decided to leave while they still can. Many say they have no intention of coming back, because they believe that the city they have known and loved all their lives is dying and will never recover.
This is very different from the more orderly exit from the city in the spring, when many of its wealthiest residents decided to live for a while in their summer homes, working remotely while they waited out the pandemic. Most of them had intended to return after what they believed would be a temporary disruption due to the pandemic came to an end.
But thanks to the arrogance and poor decisions made by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, there is no end in sight for the disruptions to the New York way of life, including many of the things that had made it so desirable. The lights of the Broadway theater district will remain dark until January at the earliest. New York’s great cultural institutions, including its world class museums and tourist attractions are only now starting to re-open under highly restrictive conditions.
MANHATTAN STILL FEELS LIKE A GHOST TOWN
Six months into the pandemic, the business districts of Manhattan still have the feel of a largely abandoned ghost town, even during rush hours. The food carts which used to serve millions of workers who commuted daily to their now empty offices in Manhattan’s skyscrapers have disappeared, along with their customers, who are now either working from home or who have already left the city for good.
The subways are running at 25% of capacity. The sidewalks of Manhattan are no longer crowded with wealthy foreign tourists looking to buy souvenirs and high end merchandise in trendy shops. Many of those shops and fancy restaurants, along with thousands of the city’s more modest small businesses, have already been forced to close permanently, while those that remain open for business are struggling desperately to survive.
It is now clear to the city’s longtime residents that the current bleak reality of the city is unlikely to improve much before next year, at the earliest. As the schedule for re-opening the city’s public school slips due to a power struggle between the mayor and the heads of the teachers’ unions, health experts are warning that a second wave of the virus can hit when the chilly autumn weather arrives. As a result, many of the city’s remaining residents who have the resources to leave, and who no longer have a compelling personal or professional reason to stay, are taking the next logical step. They are seriously considering joining the exodus before they become victims of the city’s crisis themselves.
THE TRICKLE OF THOSE FLEEING THE CITY IS NOW A FLOOD
Yet even as the trickle of refugees from the city has become a flood, the elected leaders who turned a serious health crisis into a catastrophe still refuse to accept responsibility for their stubbornly wrongheaded decisions, or even to acknowledge the scale of the disaster for the city they have created. Instead, Cuomo and de Blasio are desperately seeking to shift the blame to the federal government and President Trump, who exerted mighty efforts during the height of the pandemic that prevented the city’s hospitals and health care system from being overwhelmed.
The scale of the crisis created by the pandemic has been magnified by the years of mismanagement by the governor and the mayor of the city and state governments. Now Cuomo and de Blasio are loudly demanding that Washington step in to assume the burden created by their past mistakes which had nothing to do with the virus, by providing a massive bailout at the expense of federal taxpayers.
The current crisis facing New York City operates on several levels. One is the continuing public health threat posed by the virus. It has remained under control in New York City subsequent to the imposition of a draconian shutdown of businesses and cultural life whose huge economic and human costs no longer seem to be justified based upon current knowledge of the virus and how it spreads.
Since the end of May, the simultaneous health and economic crises have been accompanied by a breakdown in law and order and the handcuffing of the NYPD, leading to a sharp resurgence of gun violence across New York City. Cuomo and de Blasio have tolerated the systematic vandalism, adding to the climate of fear in the midst of the coronavirus emergency, in the name of promoting “racial justice.” Their political motive is to stay in the good graces of the anti-American progressives, Black Lives Matter and the violent Antifa anarchists who have seized complete control over the Democrat party and its fake news advocates in the mainstream media.
PROTEST VIOLENCE COMES TO ROCHESTER
Cuomo’s refusal to carry out his threat voiced at a press conference several months ago to oust de Blasio as New York City’s mayor due to his inability to deal effectively with the rising violence in the city has led, inevitably, to a new challenge to law and order in the upstate New York city of Rochester. Nightly protests organized by Black Lives Matter began in Rochester last week over the suffocation death, March 30, of 41-year-old black man Daniel Prude while Rochester police were trying to take him into protective custody. Prude died when officers pinned him to the ground, under physical circumstances that appear very similar to those which resulted in the death, two months later, of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
However, Prude was not put under arrest, or suspected of having committed a crime. Instead Rochester police were treating him as an individual who was suffering from a mental health crisis and who needed to be restrained for his own safety.
Videos from the body cams of the three police officers trying to restrain Prude show them holding Prude lying head down and forcing his head and chest into the pavement for several minutes until, apparently unnoticed by the cops, he stops breathing.
The county medical examiner’s autopsy report concluded that Prude’s death was a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The New York state Attorney General’s office has been investigating the case since mid-April and has not yet determined whether to seek criminal charges against the Rochester cops involved.
The public protests demanding that the cops involved be fired and charged with homicide began after a local Rochester newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle, ran a feature story last week on the circumstances surrounding Prude’s previously unpublicized death, based upon information provided by a Prude family lawyer. The protesters are also demanding that Rochester police no longer be dispatched in response to 911 calls reporting incidents involving a mental health crisis for which the cops lack the proper training.
At a news conference last week, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren admitted that she had known about Prude’s death and had seen the “disturbing” video of the incident “several months ago,” but vigorously denied that she had been involved in an effort to hide his March death and the circumstances surrounding it from the public.
NYPD GETTING CAUGHT UP IN THE CONFUSION
In New York City, the local cops are getting caught up in the confusion surrounding the unwillingness of both de Blasio and Cuomo to respond to growing pressure from the increasingly desperate owners of restaurants in the city for a plan that would allow them to open for indoor dining, at least to some extent, before the onset of colder weather makes current outdoor legal dining arrangements in the city impractical.
One of the excuses that Mayor de Blasio is giving for refusing to permit indoor dining to proceed is that the 150 employees of the city’s sheriff’s office and 100 city health department inspectors available to monitor compliance with social distancing regulations inside the city’s 27,000 restaurants (before the pandemic hit) is woefully inadequate. In response, Governor Cuomo suggested last week that 4,000 NYPD officers be reassigned to a task force operating under New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to enforce the regulations.
Since the pandemic started several months ago, de Blasio has ordered NYPD officers, on several occasions. to break up public religious events such as funerals and make arrests for violating the regulations. During the same period, de Blasio has ordered police to ignore identical violations in the course of Black Lives Matter demonstrations. That blatant, politically motivated inconsistency has badly undermined the willingness of many city residents to continue compliance with Covid-related measures, starting with the mandatory wearing of masks.
The NYPD already has its hands full try to contain an explosion of gun violence across the city since the George Floyd protests started at the end of May. Another reason why making the NYPD responsible for restaurant supervision is a bad idea is the department’s critically low morale in the wake of de Blasio’s public submission to Black Lives Matter demands that he slash the department’s budget by a billion dollars this year.
Some of de Blasio’s and Cuomo’s critics contend that there is no need to get police or the sheriff’s office involved in supervising the compliance of the city’s restaurants. They point out that the State Liquor Authority and other state agencies have already been monitoring all establishments throughout New York State which are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages to the public. Last week, the state reported that more than 900 such establishments have received citations, and more than 160 have had their liquor licenses suspended for social distancing and maximum capacity violations.
Others suggest that a simpler solution would be for the city to hire or re-assign existing civilian employees to monitor of restaurants for compliance, in the same way that it has recently hired 1,700 new employees to carry out contact tracing for all newly reported cases of Covid infections.
NEW YORKERS TIRED OF GETTING SPECIAL TREATMENT
Citizens of New York City have long since grown tired of being singled out for special treatment by their elected officials, like bad children being punished for disobeying their parents. They have yet to be given any reasonable explanation for why city restaurants are still forbidden to de what’s already legal for restaurants in the rest of New York state, serve their customers food indoors, under strict compliance with social distancing rules and seating capacity limits.
As a recent editorial in the New York Daily News pointed out, “Governor Cuomo hasn’t given a scientific explanation of why indoor dining can’t return here. Virus case rates, new daily cases and population density in the five boroughs are similar to in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester, where indoor dining’s been underway more than two months, without causing an outbreak.”
Adding insult to injury, the editorial notes, “Cuomo insists, without evidence, that NYC remains in detention because its residents and leaders are uniquely incapable of following or enforcing social distancing rules.”
Public support for continuing the ban on indoor dining at the city’s restaurants fell even further after New Jersey governor Phil Murphy’s decision to allow all New Jersey restaurants to re-open their dining rooms at 25% of capacity last week.
RESTAURANT OWNERS TAKING CUOMO AND DE BLASIO TO COURT
On Tuesday, lawyers for two restaurants in Staten Island, and a new group calling itself Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue (IROAR) representing restaurants across Brooklyn and Staten Island, filed a $2 billion class lawsuit against Cuomo and de Blasio in a Richmond (Staten Island) County court. The lawsuit demands emergency relief for restaurants throughout the city by allowing them to immediately reopen for indoor dining at 50% capacity.
After the papers were filed, IROAR staged a public rally in front of Staten Island County Courthouse by restaurants owners and their employees. They protested their unfair treatment by the governor and the mayor, who reneged on their promises to allow New York City restaurants to re-open for indoor dining as soon as the city had met its reduced Covid infection targets, which happened back in July.
Earlier, Cuomo had singled out restaurants in New York City for special treatment. He made them the lone exception to phase three of his statewide re-opening process, which started on July 6 and permitted indoor restaurant dining to resume elsewhere throughout the state.
In defending his decision to keep the city’s restaurants closed indefinitely at a recent press conference, de Blasio called eating in a restaurant an “optional” activity available only to those with the money to pay for such a luxury, and closed to those who cannot afford to do so. The mayor’s suggestion that everyone living in New York City should be denied the opportunity to eat or drink in a fast-food restaurant or neighborhood coffee shop because only rich people can afford to eat in restaurants is ridiculous on its face. But even if you accept that twisted logic, how could de Blasio justify keeping more than 200,000 mostly poor New York City food service workers unemployed just to satisfy his elitist socialist ideals?
He couldn’t. Last week, de Blasio bent a little under pressure by saying that he will announce his conditions for re-opening city restaurants for indoor dining before the end of September. Granted that announcing that he will make an announcement didn’t amount to much of a concession, but at least it was better than de Blasio’s previously stated position that he might not allow restaurants in the city to re-open until after a Covid vaccine is widely available.
THE FIGHT OVER RE-OPENING NYC PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Mayor de Blasio also folded under intense political pressure from the teachers’ unions two weeks ago by agreeing to their demands that the first day of school for the city’s 1.1 million public school students be delayed 10 days until September 21, the day after Rosh Hashanah.
The city and the Board of Education will use the extra time to complete their preparations for the start of a very different type of new school year. Most students will spend their class time in heavily modified school building classrooms. On other school days, they will be sitting in front of a computer screen at home trying to learn remotely.
City and school board officials will try to complete the distribution of personal protective equipment to schools, the hiring nurses for every school building and the upgrading of ventilation systems in classrooms in time for the new opening day. The preparations also include the distribute four million face masks, 3.5 million bottles of hand sanitizer and 80,000 containers of disinfectant wipes. In addition, more than 3,500 electrostatic sprayers, the same type used to disinfect the NYC subway system every night, are being deployed to disinfect the surfaces in public school buildings. In the meantime, teachers and school principals will try to prepare themselves for this massive experiment in “hybrid learning.”
Most public-school children will report to school between one and three days a week and participate in online classes the other days. Parents who do not feel that the schools are safe enough for their children have the option to keep them at whom, learning remotely full time.
So far, about 37 percent of city parents have decided to keep their children at home full time. That leaves about 600,000 families planning to send their children back to their public schools starting on September 21.
WHAT CLASSROOMS WILL LOOK LIKE
In the remodeled public-school classrooms, desks will be spaced six feet apart, reducing their capacity by about one-third to a maximum of only 9 or 10 children at a time. Students, teachers and other staff will be required to wear masks all day, except for a brief lunch period held in classrooms.
Public school buildings will be marked with new signage indicating how students can maintain the necessary social distancing in hallways and bathrooms. Windows will be kept open, even on cold and rainy days, to enable the circulation of more fresh air to disperse any virus particles presents.
De Blasio also accepted another major union demand, in order to forestall the union’s threat to stage its first strike against New York City public schools in almost 50 years. Under the agreement, de Blasio said the city would require monthly, random, rapid Covid testing of 10 to 20 percent of students and staff in all city school buildings, starting in October. Any students or staff members who refuse to get tested will not be allowed to enter school buildings. The refusing students will be allowed to participate only in remote learning sessions, while any refusing teachers will be placed on unpaid leave.
The mayor acknowledged that the blended learning plan will still pose a problem for working parents because they will have to make child care arrangements for the days that their children are scheduled to be learning remotely from home.
“For all the parents of kids who are going to be in blended learning, it does mean a few more days where they are going to have to figure out accommodations,’’ de Blasio said.
“But … we were juggling a lot of important factors.”
In addition to the teachers’ union, de Blasio had been under pressure to delay the first day of public schools by two dozen City Council members, Council speaker, Corey Johnson, city public advocate Jumaane Williams, and even Governor Cuomo.
At one point, Cuomo said that if his three daughters were still of school age, he would hesitate before sending them back into New York City public school buildings. While he is allowed all public and private schools in New York State to open, he is expecting at least some of them to encounter trouble with Covid infections. “I think you will see K-to-12 [schools], just like colleges, they’ll have a plan, they’ll open, and then you will see a certain number that close,” Cuomo said.
CUOMO AND DE BLASIO: NEW YORK’S POLITICAL ODD COUPLE
Cuomo and de Blasio have been targets of intense criticism over their reactions to the Covid pandemic ever since it started. At the same time, they have been squabbling among themselves over who has the final authority to close or re-open the city’s schools, enable indoor dining to resume in restaurants, and whether de Blasio can maintain law and order in the city after submitting to protester demands that he transfer $1 billion dollars of the NYPD budget to other city programs.
In June, Cuomo said at a news conference that he had the power to “displace the mayor of New York City and bring in the National Guard, and basically take over the mayor’s job” if de Blasio failed to halt the looting and vandalism which were destroying hundreds of stores and businesses in Manhattan.
After de Blasio announced the $1 billion budget transfer, Cuomo asked sarcastically, “Where did you take the billion dollars from? Does it mean I am more safe? Does it have any effect on police abuse? I don’t know what it means.”
WHO IS THE BOSS?
The relationship between the two men dates back to 1997, when Cuomo, who was serving as then-President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hired de Blasio as the regional director of HUD in New York. In other words, Cuomo was de Blasio’s boss, and the lines of authority were clear. However, when de Blasio was elected mayor and assumed office in 2014, Cuomo had already been governor of New York State for four years and insisted that he had the authority to veto any of de Blasio’s policies which needed approval from Albany. Their first clash came quickly, when Cuomo rejected one of the proposals upon which de Blasio had run for mayor, instituting free, universal pre-kindergarten schooling for every child in New York City to be paid for by a new tax on the wealthiest residents of the city.
Cuomo’s reason for rejecting de Blasio’s proposal was based on his fear that excessive increase in New York’s taxes on its wealthiest residents, who provide the lion’s share of both New York city and state tax revenues, could figuratively “kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.” Higher taxes give wealthy people a stronger incentive to save much of that tax expense by moving their official residence from New York to a lower tax state, such as Florida.
DIFFERING VISIONS OF THE CITY’S FUTURE
That concern was never very important to de Blasio, and the difference of opinion between him and Cuomo over that issue is still evident today. It is being displayed in their contrasting reactions to the flight of large numbers of wealthy and upper middle-class residents from the most expensive neighborhoods of Manhattan.
As recently as two weeks ago, de Blasio reassured Errol Louis, the chief political reporter for the local NY1 cable news channel, that many of the wealthier residents who have left New York City because of the pandemic will be returning, and most of those still talking about leaving will eventually stay.
“We can’t overrate the moment. We are clearly the safest place in America right now when it comes to the coronavirus,” de Blasio said. “I think, in fact, people in this country are looking at New York getting safer and safer, healthier and healthier in terms of the coronavirus. They’re seeing our economy start to come back.”
“I think a lot of folks who went to their country homes are going to wait until they feel it’s the right moment and a lot of them are going to come back.”
On the other hand, the mayor insisted, “I’m not going to beg people to stay. I know this city will rebound. I know it and I know others will come. [This] is a passing moment. There will be a vaccine and then all the strength of New York City will reassert again.”
In another recent interview, when the mayor was asked about the flight from New York City’s upscale residential neighborhoods, he answered confidently, “If you don’t think New York City is coming back then you don’t know New York City.”
DEMOCRATS REALIZE THEY CAN’T LET RICH PEOPLE LEAVE
Cuomo, on the other hand, still does not share de Blasio’s confidence on that point. During the early months of the pandemic, whenever Cuomo discussed the needs of the state and city for emergency federal aid, the restoration of the SALT (state and local tax) deduction for federal income taxes was always high on Cuomo’s list. The deduction was capped at a relatively low level ($10,000) by Trump’s 2017 tax cut, effectively raising the net cost of state and local taxes to New York’s wealthiest residents. Cuomo understood that the since the cap on the SALT deduction took effect, in 2018, it has been a powerful financial incentive behind the sharply increased number of wealthy New Yorkers who were moving out-of-state even before the pandemic hit.
Cuomo brought up the Trump cap on the SALT tax deduction at a news conference Tuesday and accused Trump of having used it to deliberately “target” New York City’s tax base. Cuomo said that it was part of Trump’s “war on cities” which he said, “is an unsustainable position for the federal government.” He predicted “mayhem in this country” if that policy is not changed soon.Democrat elected officials from other high-tax-states such as Illinois, California and New Jersey have also been clamoring for the restoration of the SALT deduction for the same reason, and they have been criticized as hypocrites for it. Republicans point out that those taxpayers who benefitted the most from the SALT deduction were homeowners and other high income people who paid the most in state and local taxes, and therefore saved the most from the deduction. The hypocrisy lies in the fact these are exactly the same high-income people who are being targeted by Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden for higher taxes to fund the $4 trillion of new federal spending that he and the Democrats are proposing.
In one of his daily press conferences after New York’s Covid infection rate came down to very low levels at the beginning of the summer, Cuomo talked about his phone calls with wealthy friends who had left their luxury apartments in Manhattan during the height of the pandemic for their vacation homes, and asked them when they were coming back. When those friends were reluctant to give him an answer, Cuomo said he offered to treat them to home-cooked steak dinner as soon as they returned, as an incentive, but he did not report any takers for his offer.
THE HIGH COST OF THE CONTINUING EXODUS
Despite de Blasio’s optimism and Cuomo’s encouragement to stay, the exodus of New York’s wealthiest residents is accelerating, and the prospect of further losses in city and tax revenues due to their departure has aggravated the already serious budget difficulties facing Cuomo and de Blasio. Both had been hoping that President Trump and the Republicans would agree to include billions of dollars in direct federal aid to the city and state that had been included in the $3 trillion package that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats had passed several months ago as their version of the next federal emergency coronavirus aid bill. But Trump and Senate Republicans balked at the high cost, and, among other demands, insisted that the amount allocated for direct aid to cities and states be reduced to the actual cost to cities and states of their immediate Covid-related expenses. Even that has been delayed over continued wrangling in Washington over other measures in the aid package. Now that Election Day is less than two months away, chances are exceedingly slim that Pelosi will allow the passage of any bill containing direct aid to the city and state lest it benefit the president. That leaves de Blasio and Cuomo with very difficult options.
De Blasio is facing a projected $9 billion deficit which has prompted him to threaten to lay off 22,000 city workers unless he gets emergency authority from the state legislature in Albany to borrow the money to cover the deficit. Borrowing that money would be, at best, only a temporary fix for what is likely to be a long-term fiscal problem that the city may now be facing.
The impact of the Covid crisis has hit state agencies, such as the MTA, very hard as well. When Cuomo and de Blasio instituted their initial lockdowns on the city in March, everybody understood that ridership on public buses and subways serving Manhattan would be reduced drastically, which was the case. But they also expected bus and subway ridership to recover quickly once non-essential businesses and offices were allowed to start re-opening this summer, but in fact, most of the riders have not returned.
COUMO TAKES OUT HIS FRUSTRATIONS ON TRUMP
Governor Cuomo revealed his growing frustration with the lack of any additional financial aid from the federal government in the immediate future during an angry diatribe at his press conference Tuesday in which he accused President Trump of “actively trying to kill New York City.”
Cuomo angrily declared that “Donald Trump caused the Covid outbreak in New York. That is a fact!” because the president and the scientists at the CDC and NIH failed to detect the spread of the virus from China to Europe. That allowed infected European travelers to bring the virus to New York City before Trump imposed a ban in March on flights from Europe.
Cuomo added that because of Trump, there will be “no federal funds for New York City and New York State post-Covid.”
Cuomo also criticized the president for his refusal to support more federal funding for major New York City transportation projects such as the construction of a new AirTrain rail line to serve the rebuilt LaGuardia Airport and the money needed to complete the Second Avenue subway line.
Cuomo ignored the fact that the Trump administration has agreed to include some of the additional federal aid money the governor is seeking in an interim aid package to be passed by Congress immediately, but which has been blocked by Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The governor accused Trump of pursing a vendetta against the city in which he has lived and worked for almost all of his life. “It’s personal. I think its psychological. He is trying to kill New York City,” Cuomo said.
In reaction to the governor’s accusations, White House spokesman Judd Deere told the CNBC business news channel, “Governor Cuomo seems paranoid. Every time New York and New York City has needed something, President Trump has delivered. The only people trying to harm New York City are the liberal politicians and their failed big government policies.”
Additionally, while his tough talk may earn him headlines, it certainly does nothing to convince the president to come to his aid, as he has done in the past, for example when he sent a floating hospital and ventilators and other needed equipment to fight Covid when Cuomo asked at the beginning of the Covid crisis.
AVOIDING BUSES AND SUBWAYS
Many workers in Manhattan offices who got used to working remotely from home decided they didn’t ever need to return to their offices, and their employers agreed. Other former commuters to Manhattan who were afraid of the risk of Covid infection from using buses and subways, found other ways to get to work. Some began driving their cars into work, taking advantage of the sharply reduced volume of traffic on area roads, bridges and tunnels, or they found other ways to avoid mass transit.
One of the more interesting real estate trends reported in the New York Times is the counterflow of high-income Manhattan workers who can’t work remotely, because of the nature of their jobs. They are now moving out of their current apartments in Manhattan or the outer boros for another residence within a 15-20 minute walk of their workplace, eliminating their need to take a bus or a subway.
While those workers will wind up staying in Manhattan, they are lost as fare-paying customers for the MTA’s buses and subways, adding to its already huge operating deficit since the Covid pandemic hit. The result has been a dramatic cutback in MTA spending plans for the foreseeable future, barring a massive injection of new federal funding, which also seems unlikely. The cutbacks include the elimination of all of its current system improvement projects, such as the upgrading of signals and equipment, the indefinite suspension of completion of the next section of Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway line, and a reduction in normal daily train and bus schedules of up to 40%.
The list of unforeseen long-term impacts from the pandemic on the quality of life in New York City goes on. For example, it is still too soon to measure the full impact on Manhattan’s service economy of the forced permanent closure of tens of thousands of its small businesses, or the continuing impact on tourist-related businesses of Covid-related international travel restrictions and quarantines. Even worse, neither Cuomo nor de Blasio have announced any serious plans to deal with them.
Meanwhile, the exodus of lifelong Manhattan residents is accelerating with a growing sense of urgency. Local moving companies say that they cannot keep up with the demand.
Perry Chance, the owner of Show Up movers told The New York Post. “We have four of our own trucks — but we have so many books that we had to start using U-Haul trucks!”
“The volume has increased by at least 70 percent [in recent months].
“[Clients] are mostly moving out of luxury buildings.”
Chance said that about a quarter of his customers are moving to nearby states, and almost all of the rest are moving to New York suburbs, mainly in Long Island.
THE VIEW OF AN OLDER “GUARDIAN ANGEL”
Curtis Sliwa, founded the Guardian Angels civilian anti-crime organization in 1979, when New York City’s streets were widely considered to be unsafe. He reports that his Manhattan neighborhood around West 87th Street these days looks like it is in the middle of a “mass evacuation.” In the building where he lives, Sliwa says that 9 out of the 12 units are currently sitting vacant.
Sliwa has been walking up and down his neighborhood’s streets, stopping at each of the parked moving trucks to ask those inside where they are going. Most have confirmed that they are moving out of state.
He described one woman who looked like she was about to cry while sitting in her moving truck. She told him she was going to Virginia, and then explained that she had been living in the area for more than 40 years, but couldn’t stay any longer. “Curtis, first the pandemic hit us and now the quality of life is so bad.”
Sliwa intends to run to succeed de Blasio as New York City mayor next year. He says of his neighbors, “These are the people who elected de Blasio, who live here. It’s a progressive, liberal neighborhood. And now there’s a visceral hate here for him — the feeling that he has virtually singlehandedly destroyed this city.”