It's a reality theme park you can visit - if you're willing to channel your inner Snake Plissken.
Hundreds of thousands of people prefer to beat feet. At least that many have already fled the Big Apple, perhaps because violent crime has gone up several hundred percent. Because New York has become the prison portrayed in the movie - only this time, for the law abiding. The criminals have the keys to the city now and Mayor Bill de Blasio is their "Duke" - and "A-Number-One.”
Everything that used to make New York City the place to be - such as great restaurants, world-class museums and cultural attractions - is gone.
Because the government - the Duke of New York - closed them all down.
While all the things no one wants to be near - mumbling squeegee schizophrenics, Antifa and BLM thugs and run-of-the-mill thugs abound, almost as if the Duke wanted it that way.
But if you live in the city, you still get to pay among the highest rents - and taxes - in the country while you Netflix and chill. Turn up the volume to drown out the sounds of gunfire and mayhem below. Hopefully, Amazon will send you a frozen steak from the restaurant you can't go to anymore.
No surprise, people are loading up U-hauls and heading for greener - and safer - pastures. The good news is, the traffic's light.
“All of the things I loved about New York City kind of just disappeared,” ex-New Yorker Casey Madden told ABC News. She now lives in Tampa, Florida.
Young people under the age of 35 especially are bailing - in part because there’s nothing for young people, especially, to do. How do you date when you can't go out? When it’s not safe to go out? When you can’t tell what a prospective date looks like - because their face is covered by dirty old bandana?
It's enough to make you sick - of the city.
“All the kids are leaving,” Mark Ehrhardt, the owner of Movers - not shakers told The New York Post. “the studio and one-bedrooms are emptying out like crazy. And no one else is moving in."
Because why would they?
At least a quarter million people no longer live in New York, according to the latest data. And that's just so far this year, with three months yet to go. The New York Times says the number of people heading for the hills is up 50 percent vs. the same period last year.
“The first day we could move, we left,” former New Yorker Jaime Welsh-Rajchel told The Times. The family now lives in Pennsylvania.
Tricia Briere may be the next one to pack her bags. She is one of the latest victims - not of the virus but of the violence. Last Wednesday (Sept. 9) a stray bullet from a drive-by shooting grazed her as she was finishing up a DMV road test in Brooklyn.
This is becoming as commonplace as mime shows and street theater used to be.
The number of people shot in New York just last week - 101 - is nearly four times higher than it was last year which isn’t surprising given there are probably four times as many criminals on the streets of New York last week, courtesy of the Duke - Mayor de Blasio -who let them escape from Riker’s Island, the prison that used to keep New Yorkers safe.
Back in March, de Blasio ordered them let loose just as he was locking down New York’s non-criminal population, which was ordered to imprison itself in the name of stopping the spread while the gangs took over the streets. Since then, more than 1,000 people have been shot in a city with among the strictest gun control laws on the books - and the most lenient attitude toward criminals in the country.
Juxtaposed with the harshest attitude toward those who aren't.
If you don’t wear a mask, you risk arrest. But if you smash up a business, it’s laissez-faire - the only form of capitalism still allowed in a city that was once famous for business, not crime.
The lights are still bright at Times Square but the formerly bustling sidewalks and streets are practically empty; the showrooms lining Fifth Avenue are there - but the windows are boarded up. Atlas looks down upon a vacant Rockefeller Center. How long before he shrugs, too?
Broadway is silent. The Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center, Moma - all closed or half capacity.
Why stay? It’s not just that people need to work. They want to live. And New York is dead.
Hedge fund manager James Altucher says NYC was murdered by its own leaders, people like the Duke. Nothing to see, not much to do - except try to avoid being shot. And getting out while you can.
Altucher recently wrote a widely published essay which amounts to a kind of autopsy.
The work is gone - and won’t be coming back - for reasons of economy as much as reasons of safety. Businesses that were forced to do business remotely came to realize that in-person business is no longer necessary. That lots of money can be saved - by not paying those high rents and high taxes - while workers can own a home in the safe suburbs for half the cost (and half the taxes) of an unsafe apartment in the city.
The life is gone.
All the verve that made New York the the place to be has been stamped out, leaving it a place to flee.
A tragic irony. People used to come to New York from everywhere, because where they came from was nowhere. New York City was everything, the place where things happened.
Now it’s the place where things die - people and businesses.
It’s a wonder there’s anyone still there.
The Duke says "New York is coming back" - but it's hard to see how it could with politicians like himself throttling the city's beating heart. The Duke says the revival will happen when new people with "creativity" and "talent" replace those with both of those qualities, who've been driven out.
Which makes about as much sense as warehousing people sick with COVID with elderly people in nursing homes - the people most likely to die from COVID.
The NYC exodus will continue in earnest, the Hudson River will part, and the people will escape to a more promised land.