Today is the 19th anniversary of 9/11. I can’t believe that it is 19 years.
There is a whole generation of kids who were very young or not yet born when the towers fell. Looking back, the years leading up to September 11th, 2001 feels like a pleasant dream in which we were violently waken up from.
Though it is nearly a full generation, the pain and the grief feel as fresh as if it was September 12th, 2001. My heart still breaks for those who died that day and their surviving loved ones. Time can do many things, including heal old wounds. But it can never erase the memory of what happened that day.
May the memories of those were killed that day and those first responders who have died in the years since forever be a blessing to us all.
In times of crisis, making tough decisions are the norm. The last six months with Covid-19 has forced these decisions to be made both on the governmental level and the individual level.
In New York City, the hospitality and the restaurants industries have been devastated. Initially, there was only takeout and delivery allowed. Then the restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor dining only. But, the revenue coming in could not compare to what was previously made when customers were able to eat inside.
Anyone who lives in the Northeast of the United States knows that we do not have warm weather 365 days a year. Before we know it, winter will be here and outdoor dining will be impossible. But both the Mayor and the Governor refuse to allow restaurants to open for indoor dining, even with limitations.
I understand why the Mayor and the Governor are still refusing to allow restaurants to allow customers inside. New York and New York City especially has worked incredibly hard to reduce our overall Covid numbers. I am also completely aware of how dense the city is.
They claim that they are waiting for a vaccine. The problem is that it will likely not be available for the general public until the end of the year or early next year. This city cannot afford to wait that long.
There are two problems with this refusal. The first is that New Jersey and the rest of the state does allow some indoor dining. Diners who are eager to go out to eat (and sit inside) and unemployed hospitality employees will not stay within NYC’s borders. The second is that the restaurant industry is one of the economic backbones of the city. Without this institution, New York City will die a slow and painful financial death, with Covid-19 being the final nail in the coffin.
In the business world, when a company’s expenses exceeds its revenue, hard choices in regards to staffing are made. For those who remain employed, their job is made twice as difficult due to the extra workload.
In normal times and in a for profit company, to say that this situation is not easy is an understatement. If one were to change the company to the public sector and add in Covid-19, the result would be nothing short of a disaster.
When the virus hit New York City earlier this year, it was all hands on deck for those who are considered to be essential workers. Over the last few months, we have been told time and again to thank them for everything they did. But what does Mayor de Blasio say to some of these people? See you on the unemployment line, we can’t afford to pay you anymore.
Meanwhile, the tax payers are shelling out $2,000,000 a year for First Lady Chirlane McCray’s staff. If that was not enough, ThriveNYC is just another governmental program that lacks tangible results, but money is still being thrown at it.
I have an idea. Instead of laying off those who the city relies on, perhaps he might think of taking from the top. Does his wife really need a videographer making $70K a year? Or a speechwriter earning $117k a year, who was hired after it was announced that City Hall would not be adding new employees to their rolls?
Mayor de Blasio talks a good game about appreciating those who put their lives on the line. But at the end of the day, it’s nothing but lip service. If he truly appreciated them as he says he does, he would find a way to keep them on the payroll.
Talking is one of the essential actions that makes humans humans. Anyone can string a sentence together. But it takes someone with the gift of speech to truly make an emotional connection with another person.
Yesterday, talk show and game show host Regis Philbinpassed away yesterday. He was 88. Born in New York City in 1931 to an Irish father and an Italian mother, he started his career in television in 1955.
Known as affable and friendly, Regis immediately connected with audiences. He had a down to earth charm that makes superstars of talk show and games how hosts. In those genres, the star is not the host. The stars are the guests and the contestants. But Regis was a star, in every sense of the word.
He will be remembered by audiences as the warm smile they looked forward to every week and and the charm that kept millions entertained.
In the Star Wars film series, Yoda was the character whose sage advice went far beyond the limits of the movie screen. One of the quotes is as follows:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
These days, one would have to be living under a rock to see the rise in antisemitic hate crimes. Unfortunately, some of this is due to the sharing of ancient and bloodthirsty lies by foolhardy celebrities. Stephen Jackson is one of these celebrities.
In New York City, Jewish teenager Mark Shepard tried to bridge the divide and talk some sense into Jackson.
Mark is the kid we need right now. By reaching out to Jackson in the way he did, his attempt to build bridges does more than any law can do. Will this get the ball rolling and create the monumental change needed to finally rid the world of the antisemitic b*llsh*t? No, but a simple conversation is sometimes all that is needed to create real and lasting change.
These days, its hard not to become cynical about the events in the news. But it all it takes is the simple friendship of two young boys that love is still possible.
Last fall, the internet was introduced to Maxwell and Finnegan, two toddlers from New York City who are best friends. Running into each other’s arms for a movie style hug, they touched the hearts and minds of everyone who saw the video.
Last week a video surfaced on Twitter of the two boys walking hand in hand, wearing masks.
These children, without knowing it, are teaching us adults simple lessons of friendship and decency.
For some New York City residents of a certain age, their memories of the “bad old days” in the 1980’s are probably ones that they would prefer to forget.
Back then, I was a sheltered child, protected from the truth of the city. But now, as an adult, I understand why these memories are kept in the mental filling cabinet.
Recently, some have been saying that NYC is starting to return to the “bad old days”. Though Mayor Bill de Blasioinsists that we will not be back sliding into the past, the metrics state otherwise. Over the 4th of July holiday weekend alone, forty people were shot. Three of them were killed.
Before some of you jump on me, I need you hear me when I say that I am all for bail reform and police reform. If the city and the country is to move forward, we must address both ASAP. The last thing thing anyone wants is another Eric Garner or George Floyd case splashed across the headlines.
But I feel like there has to be a balance. The police and the justice system still need to be able to do their jobs.
I don’t claim to be an expert on these very touchy topics. I’m not and will make such a statement. But I am a proud NYC resident who cringes at the thought of my beloved city going back to an era which no one wants to revisit.
I don’t know what it will take to prevent us from rebooting the “bad old days” but with a 2020 twist. But I do know that something has to be done.
New York City is known as the city that never sleeps. There is always something to do or see, regardless of the time of day or night it is.
That is, until Covid-19 struck.
Yesterday, there was an editorial in the New York Post declaring that it was time to re-open the city.
In theory, I agree with the writer. Stores and businesses with the exception of those that are considered necessary are for all intents and purposes closed. Millions are out of work and relying on unemployment to get by. Schools are closed, forcing students and their parents to learn virtually. The number of New Yorkers who are now going to food banks and charities to ensure that they can feed themselves and their families have gone up exponentially.
But in reality, I don’t quite agree with him. As of earlier this afternoon, there are nearly 194,000 cases in the city with over 50,000 hospitalized. More than 20,000 New Yorkers have died. My concern is that if we re-open too soon, we are opening the door to a second wave of Covid-19 and erasing the gains that have been made in stopping the disease.
Like all of you, I am more than ready to re-enter the world. I am ready to go back to the office, to go to the beach, meets my friends for a drink, etc. Especially with summer unofficially starting this weekend with Memorial Day. But there is also a risk of getting sick or getting someone else sick. I’m not sure that is a risk I am ready or willing to take at this moment.
In a time of crisis, logic often secedes into emotion and chaos. While this secession is completely and understandably normal, it can lead to actions that would not otherwise be taken.
As many of my regular readers know, I live in New York City. Anyone who does not have their head in the sand is aware that NYC is one of the Covid-19 hot spots in the United States. Since March, those of us who live in the city have heard the same three words countless time: stay at home.
Unfortunately, there are some fools who are putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. Over the last few days, there were three incidents in which I have to question if the participants truly understand what we are going through.
Incident #1: In Bedford-Stuyvesant, a Yeshiva (religious school for Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews) was still open in spite of the order from the city to close all schools. Neighbors contacted the local police precinct when they saw students and teachers exiting the building. I am all for education and religious instruction (especially from my coreligionists), but would it hurt to use a little common sense?
Incident #2: A party in Canarsie was broken up by police. After two months of staying home nearly 24/7, I am more than eager to see another set of four walls and my friends. However, there is a little thing going around called Covid-19. This virus attacks and kills its hosts indiscriminately. That last thing I would ever want on my conscious is knowing that I may have been the one to give Covid-19 to someone else.
Incident #3: The weather this past Saturday was perfect. Last year at this time, I would have gone out for a drink without question. But not this year. According to news reports, several bars on the Upper West Side had a full house. Some patrons hung out on the sidewalk, unable to find seats inside. I am all for meeting my friends at a bar to relax after a long week, but not with the threat of Covid-19 hanging above us.
What the f*ck don’t they understand about staying at home?
With most of the country closed due to Covid-19, many have been asking when we can re-open the country?
I’m not a doctor, nor am I a scientist. But logic tells me that when we re-open, we cannot go back to where we were in early March as if nothing has happened. Depending on how hard the disease has it a certain area, re-opening must be done in stages. If history has taught us anything about epidemics, it is not to underestimate a virus.
In 1918, as World War I raged and the Spanish Flu killed millions, officials in Philadelphia bowed to pressure and chose not to cancel a parade. The result of this decision was the filling of the city’s hospitals and the death of thousands of people.
Across the country, there have been protests in regards to the stay at home orders. Three states across the South will soon be re-opening their economies.
I get it, I really do. It’s fine to stay home for a day or two to take a break from the daily grind. But staying home for a month or more without knowing when you can return to normalcy is frustrating. Especially when millions are out of work and not every employee has the opportunity to work from home.
I also get and respect the right to protest when we disagree with our governmental leaders. But I also know that New York City (where I live) is the national epicenter of this crisis. If the city (and the country by extension) were to open too soon, it might trigger a second or even third wave of hospitalizations and deaths.
My humble opinion is that the country as a whole can only open when testing is widely available and the number of cases is as close to zero as we can get. Then and only then, we can even consider opening the country and the economy.