Saturday, September 22, 2018

Welcome to the Shitshow

What a shitshow this city has become!
Between the street fairs, the construction and the broken-beyond-repair subway system, it’s 24-7-365 gridlock.
This city’s entire infrastructure is falling apart! This is no doubt due to a) the fact that it’s over 100 years old and b) the unprecedented number of luxury high-rises being built, with their exorbitant electrical and plumbing requirements. (That infinity pool won’t fill itself!)
These were just my casual thoughts while running an errand in Chelsea today.
But then I walked a few blocks south to the West Village and people were blissfully and obliviously eating their $25 brunches, with their overpriced mimosas (bargain basement champagne and frozen orange juice) and avocado toast: a piece of bread with a schmear of avocado on it—millennials’ great contribution to civilization. (By the way, you should read what Anthony Bourdain has to say about brunch, and you’ll never eat brunch again!)
I keep thinking of that speech in Network (a cinematic masterpiece that’s coming to Broadway—I hope they don’t fuck it up): “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. [You can substitute “brunch spot” for living rooms.] Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”
Of course, the flip side of this “great economy” is the cratering and hollowing out of every city, suburb and rural area in this country that isn’t on one of the prosperous coasts. Or the hidden poverty that exists in those coastal cities themselves. Just look at all the empty storefronts in New York City. On the flip side of that, you have the multitude of empty luxury apartments bought by LLCs (read “money-laundering operations”). I think those apartments should be converted to housing for the homeless!
I’d recommend watching the Frontline documentary Left Behind America1 (about Dayton, Ohio) for a good reality check. Or maybe just take a subway above 96th Street.
Wages have been flat or decreasing for the last 40 years. Where is all this money coming from? Have we become a city of inherited wealth, trust fund babies and Russian mobsters? (OK, that was a rhetorical question.) After all, former mayor of New York City (and possible future presidential candidate) Michael Bloomberg famously said, “If we could get every billionaire from around the world to move here, it would be a godsend.”
I just finished reading several books about Donald Trump’s scary rise to power and the truly scary thing is that some of the things he said and campaigned on actually make sense! I should be a Trump voter! After all, I’m a poor, middle-aged white guy! He and Bernie Sanders both ran as “populists.” The difference is that once Trump took office, he proceeded to do the exact opposite of what he said he was going to do (i.e., giving a $1 trillion tax cut to the rich), as opposed to Sanders, who has continued to rail against the “1%.”
So, we just keep going, pretending that everything is great, while an accused rapist is up for a seat on the Supreme Court—a court that has already had one seat stolen and is about to have another seat stolen because of a president who himself stole an election (to cite just the latest example in the daily litany of Trump disasters—a word I can’t even use anymore because Trump ruined it.)
But, hey, at least I have my avocado toast.