New York City’s lockdown and violent crime spike have driven away many office workers, and on Thursday business honchos finally told Mayor Bill de Blasio that they’ll be reluctant to return unless he cleans up the streets. What took them so long?
“We need to send a strong, consistent message that our employees, customers, clients and visitors will be coming back to a safe and healthy work environment,” some 160 business leaders in the Partnership for New York City implored Mr. de Blasio in a letter. “People will be slow to return unless their concerns about security and the livability of our communities are addressed quickly and with respect and fairness for our city’s diverse populations.”
That’s putting it gently. Mr. de Blasio’s two terms have been a slow-rolling disaster that New Yorkers experience on a daily basis from rising vagrancy and public drug use to faltering subways, a public housing scandal, and failing schools. The city’s prolonged economic lockdown, new state bail law that makes it harder to hold suspects after arrest, and a $1 billion cut to the police budget have magnified the growing public disorder.
A 25-year-old woman on a recent Saturday morning was assaulted on a subway platform in Manhattan’s business district. Women have complained about being stalked by homeless men whom the city has put up in nearby hotels. Last month a man on his way to work was randomly shot in the arm in Grand Central Terminal. Meantime, hundreds of businesses have shuttered, many permanently, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reopened only very slowly. New York City’s French bakery chain Maison Kayser declared bankruptcy this week, and New York Sports Club said it plans to file as well.
Gyms in the city were only allowed to reopen at 33% capacity last week, and Mr. Cuomo finally relented to letting indoor dining at 25% capacity on Sept. 30. The Partnership for New York City has estimated that a third of small businesses will close permanently. New York City’s unemployment rate was 19.8% in July, one of the highest rates in the country.