Wednesday, November 6, 2013

By a Landslide

Yesterday the city overwhelmingly voted in Bill de Blasio as our next mayor -- 73% to 24%. He will be our first progressive, our first Democrat, in 20 years. In a generation. For two decades, the city has suffered under the autocratic, authoritarian regimes of Giuliani and Bloomberg. Together, they demolished New York as we knew it, replacing its warm architecture with a city of frigid glass, replacing its colorful, creative people with dull, robotic consumers. They turned it into a narcissistic, sociopathic city. For 20 years, our leaders spouted their twisted values of greed, entitlement, and control, inviting others like themselves to come join them.

Yesterday, the city said goodbye to all that. Yesterday, the city overwhelmingly agreed: Enough already.


New York Times

First we said no to Christine Quinn, a continuation of Bloomberg. Then we said no to Joe Lhota, a continuation of Giuliani. Both no's were big, loud, and sweeping. We said yes to something new.

While it remains to be seen what de Blasio will do as mayor, what he has said holds weight. Words are powerful. Already, he has changed the rhetoric--and that changes the way people think and feel. We have gone from Bloomberg's ugly refrain "We want rich from around this country to move here. We love the rich people,” to speeches and slogans of egalitarianism and empathy.

Now we want de Blasio to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, but speeches and slogans are actions. Talking is doing. Every writer knows that. The new first lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray, knows that. She's a poet. There will be a poet in Gracie Mansion--a black, queer poet!--and an activist for social justice in City Hall. Whatever the new mayor does from here, it cannot be denied, this is really something new. (Bloomberg attracted people like himself to the city--plutocrats, sociopaths--maybe now we'll get a town filled with queers, poets, and leftists. I can dream, can't I?)

After 20 years of living under the thumbs of the cops and the billionaires, the city is in desperate need of something new. We need a psychic shift. We just got one.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

What are the odds the family moves into Gracie Mansion? You realize how close it is to the Dump he's greenlighting, right? About a tenth of a mile.

Anonymous said...

I've got tears in my eyes because I'm so happy that NYC is finally turning the political corner... and because I'm so sad that Oklahoma, where I live, is still so far from joining you guys.

Miss Phoebe said...

Well said!! A town filled with queers, poets, and leftists is why I moved here in the first place!!

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg is a Democrat that ran under the Republican ticket since he would not have been able to make it past the primary.

Last "Democrat" to win was Dinkins, who perhaps was the worst mayor in the last century.

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear!

John M said...

Sadly, it took years to get all of the douchebags to move here and target us as a place to live for their student and early days. It may take years for them to leave. On the good side, there have been a number of great kids that have come, too. Not all of them queers, leftists and poets, but not douchebag sociopaths, either. Hopefully, they'll stick around and make something better out of this gleaming, soulless Carriefest that Rudy and Nana Bloomie have created.

LorenzoStDuBois said...

In 2008 I could not believe what I was hearing out of a presidential candidate: thoughtful, intelligent, scornful of soundbites, refreshing rhetorical breaks from tepid democratic compromises. Talking about a more nuanced foreign policy, bringing back constitutional checks, bringing back regulation and a focus on the middle class, skepticism towards educational testing, bold talk on the environment and health care.

Turns out Obama's words didn't matter. I'm sorry, but DeBlasio's don't either. If we let him, he is primed to be NYC's Obama.

I admit it's nice that a progressive and anti-big business message is popular. So were Obama's messages, and it didn't matter. Deblasio's already starting cozying up to the policies of Rahm, Cuomo, and other monstrosities.

We got a guy in better than Bloomberg, now we have to hold him accountable. Whether he's some magical angel, or just another corrupt pol, we have to make his life hell if he doesn't do what is necessary to give this city back to the people.

This guy does NOT deserve your support. Not yet. Support must be earned. And words mean less than nothing. History should have taught you that.

We can all jump up and down about how a gay black poet will be in Gracie mansion. Did you know that this gay black poet worked for freaking Citigroup.

It's time to get serious about running this city. It's getting cold and our brothers and sisters out on the street are starting to freeze. If they - and all of us - not at the center of what we do, rather than this breakdancing mayor, then none of this matters.

Anonymous said...

So I suppose now that we have a Democrat in office all of the people that were willing to drop $3k a sq. ft for new construction on the outskirts of Chelsea are now going to leave the City and real estate prices will come back down to earth and all of the “high-end” retail will close up shop and all of the people who move/life here will give up their expensive life styles? I guess its time to shut down the blog. Or at least rename it: Jeremiah's Appearing New York. Because we all know that its not the millions of wealthy individuals that live here who ultimately determine the City’s make-up, it's the one guy who sits behind a desk in City Hall.

Anonymous said...

What Lorenzo said, yes, so much yes. This elevation of DeBlasio to sainthood when he hasn't done anything yet is absolutely preposterous. You guys are setting yourselves up for a massive disappointment, and I'm not entirely sure it isn't well-deserved. I don't like a lot of Bloomberg's policies, and I hate the way the city has basically been turned into a playground for the rich, but this "yes, bring back the grime and crime so we can chase away the yuppie scum" crap is basically a left wing version of the same hateful, nativist idiocy the Tea Party spews forth, and I'd like to think we're better than that.

I voted for this guy, but still, let's see what DeBlasio does, hold him accountable for not fulfilling promises, and keep in mind that this one man with little practical political experience is now running one of the largest bureaucracies on the planet. He'll need our help to keep him honest, and keep him on track. We don't need to worship at his altar just because he's "The Notbloomberg," and we sure as hell have to make sure he doesn't go too far. He won by 50 points, yes, but in an election with the lowest turnout in NYC history. He makes too many missteps and alienates too many moderates, and you'll see some "Giuliani II, This Time it's Personal" guy get swept into office in 2017. CALM. DOWN. A lot of what Bloomberg did (new parks, expanded bike lanes and waterfront access, pedestrian plazas, expanded Subway projects, boroTaxi) has been great for the city, and not in a "for the rich" way, and I'd hate to see them get reversed out of spite (see DeBlasio's asinine "the jury is still out" comments on pedestrian plazas, despite them having a 70% approval from New Yorkers in polling).

We're in this together, people. The objective isn't to chase out the rich people and transplants, it's to wake them up to the reality of what the more onerous things they do has wrought. They're here because they love this city, too. We have to help them see things from our perspective and get them, many of whom are "limousine liberals," to work with progressives to improve the city for EVERYONE. Not just them, and, I cannot stress this enough, NOT JUST US. We have been royally screwed over the past 20 years, but that doesn't mean we return the favor, continue a cycle of vengeance, and kill the city's in some pathetic attempt to recreate 1977, like a middle-aged, chubby, balding man asking a 20-year-old model on a date so he can "feel young again." All he ends up doing is looking like a fool, and ruining his marriage. I LIKE the newer clean, safe city, as well as the older local businesses and grimy charm, and there's room for both, damn you all!

BrooksNYC said...

Jeremiah sez:
"....maybe now we'll get a town filled with queers, poets, and leftists. I can dream, can't I?"

I, personally, tick two out of three boxes, so.....hear, hear!

I wouldn't count on the entrenched powers-that-be losing momentum anytime soon. Not locally, not at the state level, and certainly not in Washington D.C. Those of us hoping for more than "variations on a theme" have got to rouse ourselves from the couch and get more involved. Voting once every four years just isn't enough to fix what's broken.

Still, I'm thrilled to have a new mayor, and wish him well!

Little Earthquake said...

He is just a politician. He cannot give you any more power over your life than you already have. Are you making the most of your freedom?

Caleo said...

After the celebration someone needs to explain why 80% of eligible voters stayed home last night.
That's a huge number, and apparently the lowest turnout in history.
I agree with much of what Anon.12:54 said.
Hold DiBlasio to his word...if you can.

Anonymous said...

"First we said no to Christine Quinn, a continuation of Bloomberg. Then we said no to Joe Lhota, a continuation of Giuliani. Both no's were big, loud, and sweeping. We said yes to something new."

So if Chris Quinn=Bloomberg, and Lhota=Giuliani, then why doesn't De Blasio=Dinkins? Take off your rose-colored liberal glasses long enough to remember that Dinkins rode in on a wave of hope, talking in allegories about the "gorgeous mosaic" of the people of the city (almost identical to this "tale of two cities" rhetoric), and he left office having taken a city that was bad and made it much, much worse.

I'm a registered Democrat. I voted for Lhota. I DON'T want to see your version of New York come back, Jeremiah. I lived through it already and once was enough. These long-gone days that you pine for, rents were so low because the quality of life here was atrocious. Once the streets were cleaned up, people wanted to live here again. The landlords will charge what the market will bear.

You can't have low rents and the high quality of life we're used to after 20 years of non-Democratic mayors. Rents will only go down if demand goes down, and demand will only go down if reasons begin to exist why people don't want to live here or move here anymore (like crime).

After talking to a lot of De Blasio supporters I realized a lot of them had this delusional idea that a De Blasio mayoralty would have more affordable rents compared to a Lhota mayoralty. Do people think he has any control over the decisions of the rent guidelines board? What is he going to do, magically create money out of thin air for new construction of affordable housing? And what about the affordable housing at the Atlantic Yards complex? This was De Blasio's pet. He accepted donations from Bruce Ratner and now is not surprisingly mum on the issue.

Not to mention the fact that he owes the unions that basically got him elected huge favors. Does anybody seriously think he's going to toe the line for us taxpayers when it's time to discuss the issues of back pay?

Anonymous said...

And as if poets, leftists, artists and middle class people can be sociopaths?

Anonymous said...

Don't break our hearts, deBlasio! Even when they try to stop you---you gotta keep being who you campaigned as.

Nunya B said...

I'm glad the author brought up the glaringly apparent yet rarely discussed point about how NYC's exemplary structures are being plucked out of the city and replaced with drab automaton architecture. I wrote an article about this subject for the DwellingsNYC site called, "Then & Now: The Appearance & Prevalence of Automaton Architecture" I included several pictures of architecture that once was and what stands there now--it's simultaneously sad and disturbing.

Anonymous said...

A corollary to my earlier ("we're in this together") post above:

http://therealdeal.com/blog/2013/11/06/get-ready-for-the-de-blasio-construction-boom/

Anonymous said...

you people have no idea what this City was like in the late 80s/early 90s. People leaving in droves. nice job.

laura r. said...

yes. for example: malls in mexico are the same facade as texas LA boston etc. same corps as well. as i have said many times, this is not a "NY thing", its global. way beyound bloomburg-di blasio-obama. lets hope for some small changes. we can maybe win some battles, but we lost the war. be realistic everyone. di blasio is a teeny fish in a tremendous pond.

Anonymous said...

I'm old enough to remember what it was like in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and aughts. It wasn't that bad back then, seriously it wasn't. We lived our lives, played sports, went to school, hit the bar, started a band, smoked weed on the streets, whatever.

Now, Manhattan and much of Brooklyn is a gated community. It's safe, heavily policed, sterile, boring and overpriced for anyone but the one percent. Everytime i hear someone whine "but the bad old days will return" i smiley warmly. Let's hope.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that no town filled with queers, poets, and leftists has ever survived. WBAI comes to mind.....

laura r. said...

in 1975 there was a brochure printed for tourists: "welcome to fear city"-then there were tips on how to be safe. basically dont go out dont go anywhere. i just saw it on "uptapped city"- check it out.

Anonymous said...

The last Democratic mayor was a complete disaster. Say what you will about Giuliani, but he cleaned up a crime-ridden city and made it safer for all of us. Children no longer get accosted by drug-addled crack whores in Times Square. As for Bloomberg, yes he went overboard at times with his personal agenda but how many people now enjoy the High Line, smokeless bars and restaurants and cleaned up parks. No mayor is ever perfect and I wish the last 2 had also been a little more middle of the road. Enjoy your win now folks. You have voted for a man that is not likely to be able to deliver on many of his promises. (You really think Albany will approve a tax on the rich to pay for pre-k?)

Anonymous said...

The de Blasio campaign's deputy communications director suffered a seizure of some sort (back in the halcyon Area/Palladium days, the temporal proximity to dB's win would suggest too many fistfuls of blow, but I know better than to insinuate as much in today's buttoned-down epoch) in front of his house on Wednesday morning. Not terribly remarkable until one considers that the aide's imprimatur is decidedly Establishment: glitzy private secondary school affiliated with Bryn Mawr; 3.88 at Penn; Biden and Obama internships culminating in an Obama campaign post; thence de Blasio. These are all laudable things in one's professional trajectory, and I can tell you from firsthand experience (having worked in this realm on occasion) that there tends to be quite a bit of bifurcation between "campaign" and "administration" types... but this isn't your average Dem machine hack; nay, this guy is being deified in the media as the grassroots choice, the revolution in Democratic affairs, if not the second (and decidedly less problematic!) coming of Huey Long. And frankly, it's telling that de Blasio would rather hire hyperprivileged, itinerant non-New Yorkers than ambitious upstarts (maybe even some alumni of Dante's incipient alma mater, Brooklyn Tech) oppressed by Bloomberg's "tale of two cities"... or better yet, seasoned veterans of municipal government who can plough through the ideological maelstrom with tautness (the delightfully obstreperous Harvey Robins--a mensch and a half overflowing with innovative ideas who never got to work with a commodious budget under Koch and Dinkins--immediately comes to mind).

Bottom line: Stop and frisk will go away, thank heavens. Central Park South will no longer reek of horse shit. Maybe we'll even go the way of the better Portland and legalize it once and for all. But in many ways, dB's win is merely symbolic of the passing of the torch from the post-political, transgovernmental super-elite (exemplified, uneasily and rather crudely, by Bloomberg; who in practice amounted to being nothing more than a pawn for such "etiolated" ye olde WASP Establishment groups as the CFR, Pilgrim Society, and so on) to a "Brooklyn-based" upper middle class that sublimates its capitalistic guilt through noblesse oblige. Yes, they may live in Brooklyn. But they're still the children of Cambridge, New Haven, Middletown, and Palo Alto. As a friend from that milieu once said of Park Slope in the 70s, "Back then, you couldn't even send your kids to school in Brooklyn." My rejoinder: "Then how the hell did my father, the son of a Greenpoint gangster, get a scholarship to Boston College?" It's a very insular worldview, quite hermetic in its obsequiousness. In their worldview, pre-gentrified Brooklyn may as well be Yoknapatawpha County minus the numinosity.

The erstwhile Warren Willhelm--who shrewedly eschewed his father's Yale (and all of the dastardly connotations that name evokes) for a full ride at NYU when it was still a middling commuter college, who had the "foresight" to apply for a Truman scholarship while haranguing the administration over tuition, who retains a peculiar affinity for the Red Sox even as the MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY (not that I'm much for sportsball, but still)--displays the kind of political ingenuity seldom seen since Bill Clinton. Let's hope that he fulfills a modicum of his promises and doesn't desert New York for New Hampshire (if you get my drift, since Hillary may only be a one-termer due to medical concerns) in 2020.