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‘Thank you, Mayor de Blasio’: An ex-NYC tourist’s lament

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Thank you, Mayor de Blasio. Thank you so much for saving me $5,000 to $10,000 or more each year.

Please allow me to explain.

I have traveled annually from Philadelphia to New York City for the Big East NCAA Basketball Tournament. Depending on how well or how poorly my team might be doing, I might stay in a hotel for three to five days, spending between $1,500 and $1,800 on expenses, including a hotel room, meals and various entertainment. If the team that I’m rooting for wins the tournament, then “the sky’s the limit” for spending celebratory money in your fair city, just as it might be for many sports fans. 

But, since you have approved of defunding New York City’s police operations by at least $1 billion, I no longer feel safe traveling to or spending time in the Big Apple, and I think I am likely to stop attending the Big East Tournament in the near future. Instead, I probably will go to other cities where my team is scheduled to play during March Madness.

So, thank you for that savings, mayor.

In the summer, my family and I usually travel to New York City to see at least one Broadway show, to enjoy a variety of fine-dining restaurants, to visit museums and other cultural events. We typically include staying in a hotel for at least one night as part of our family getaway. Our favorite museums to explore are the Neue Galerie and the Guggenheim Museum, and we always enjoy strolling through New York’s many ethnic communities. 

But, since you have been unable to control the violence and looting in your city in recent weeks, and with shootings and other violent crimes spiraling upward dramatically in the past two weeks, I honestly would fear for the lives of my family if we were to visit NYC now. So, instead of traveling there, we will stay home this summer, saving between $2,000 and $5,000. 

Again, mayor, thank you for that savings.

And, of course, New York City has always been a favorite destination for my family during the end-of-the-year holidays … or, at least it has been until now. We’ve always tried to coordinate attending the annual Progressive International Motorcycle Show at the Javits Center with wandering through the beautiful Christmas decorations and events at Rockefeller Center, as well as enjoying the city’s many other incomparable delights of the season — not to mention doing a little holiday shopping on the side. When time has permitted, my wife has always loved to see the Rockettes stage show at Radio City Music Hall. 

Like our other trips there, a holiday visit might cost us several thousand dollars, but we always have considered it to be worth every penny. 

But this year, I’m afraid, we are not likely to travel to New York City for those wonderful holiday events — because who knows how safe, or even how holiday-spirited, your city will be by that point, given what’s happened in just a few short weeks of the “defund the police” mania promoted by you and others.

You see, your excuses and lack of intervention in allowing your city to burn, in allowing the destruction or defacing of statues and buildings, in allowing police officers to be challenged, threatened and injured while the perpetrators go free, in allowing mobs to take control of your streets or even whole neighborhoods — all of that will keep us from spending our hard-earned money, or risking our personal safety, in your city. 

Besides, I’m not so sure I want to see one of my favorite cities in the world after it has been reduced to such a sad and dangerous state of affairs.

So, once again, Mayor de Blasio, thank you for my savings.  

But I do feel sorry for the many wonderful hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, sports and music venues, and innumerable small businesses – along with the countless owners, clerks and salespeople, ticket-takers, restaurant and hotel staff, cabbies and other employees – who all will lose as a result.

Michael Landau is the retired owner and president of HLC Industries, a five-generation family textile company based in Philadelphia, and a board member of the Palm Beach Center for Democracy and Policy Research, a nonpartisan public policy research center.

Tags Bill de Blasio defund the police Floyd protests killing of George Floyd New York City NYPD

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