I was enrolled in a private high school on the upper east side of Manhattan in 1981. The school had just moved to a new building and I was getting my bearings of the new neighborhood as school started. I went around the corner on Madison Avenue to Gristedes to pick up some food and found myself standing behind Art Garfunkel in line. Just a few days, later he and Paul Simon would stand before hundreds of thousands of people congregated together in their remarkable concert in Central Park.
Twenty years later, I was living on the upper west side of Manhattan and heading to my office across the street from the World Trade Center. I did my civic duty by stopping by the local school to vote in the Democratic primaries that sunny Tuesday morning which put me a bit behind my regular routine. As I entered the 72nd street Broadway subway station, someone said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I decided to get on the local train and work out of my firm’s midtown office, as I assumed that downtown would be a bit crazy. I had no idea that the day would end with almost 3,000 people murdered in a series of terrorist attacks.
Now, on the nineteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I wonder what New York City will look like next September.
A global pandemic has forced my daughter to move out of her apartment in NYC and move home to Westchester, while a son opted to move into the city to video conference into his college classes down the street. The closure of businesses for many months forced many stores to close permanently, while those which were able to reopen could only accommodate a limited number of people, leaving many people standing in lines outside. They stood alongside homeless people who were moved into neighborhood hotels to lower the concentration of people in shelters, as well as the growing number of people standing in line for food assistance. A series of riots after the killing by police of a Black man further strained the social fabric of the city.
In 1981, two wealthy White Jewish males gave a free concert to millions of people who sat and sang together in close harmony to the joy of the city’s Jewish mayor. Twenty years later, radical Islamic terrorists attacked America’s financial and military centers, killing thousands and causing billions of dollars of damage. And now, just a year away from the score anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, many New Yorkers (particularly the wealthy) are fleeing the city headed by a progressive mayor blind to anti-Semitism. New Yorkers are unable to sit together, let alone in harmony, but have collaborated to rid the city of its White Jewish congressional representatives as they elect radical progressives.
The trendlines of September in New York do not inspire hope, unless you’re a Progressive looking to break a society which you never much cared for.
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