I left New York City.
For six days, we were in a small Midwest town celebrating a family member's wedding. It was idyllic, a slice of Americana. People don’t litter, lock doors, or start brawls. They do stop to say hi to strangers while jogging, show lost drivers the way by getting inside unknown vehicles, and offer free merchandise to shoppers who insist on paying. The community is built on trust, respect, and powered by hard work; manufacturing and agriculture.
The return to Gotham was a bleak reminder of how far we’ve slipped under one party Democrat rule; Mayor Adams, Governor Hochul, a Soros backed DA Bragg, a clueless comptroller, and a radical 51 member City Council body.
Heading to Lower Manhattan from LaGuardia airport, we drove past myriad deteriorating neighborhoods, courtesy of exclusively Democrat policies created by ideologue voters and those too lazy to get to the polls. Homelessness, graffiti, and garbage abound. Normals were inside - in Manhattan, on a Saturday night! Aimless throngs of teenage boys and young men, many smoking weed, with skateboards, blared music with words that will get one canceled from life. Then it got worse; we approached Canal Street. Sandwiched between two of the most expensive zip codes in the world, lined with multi-million dollar lofts in landmarked cast-iron buildings from the mid 1800s, is a hotbed of criminal enterprise indistinguishable from a third world hellhole.
Illegal vendors have taken over, stretching from Grand street and Broadway (in Soho) to Howard Street and Broadway (in Tribeca) and going East to Church Street. For six blocks, counterfeit designer goods are laid out on bedraggled fabric covering nearly the entire width of the sidewalks. There is trash piled up around all the cheap merchandise; hypodermic needles, bottles, rats, food, paper, you name it. Strangely, no environmentalists ever protest in this vicinity or take issue with the root cause of the strewn detritus. Foot traffic is impossible; walking in the middle of the busy streets is the only way to navigate the uncurtailed illegal activity.
The person to blame is City Council’s District 1’s representative Christopher Marte.
Marte is a Leftist’s wet dream. A single young man and professional campaigner, he ran on abolishing police, removing security from schools, tearing down jails, and weird climate ideas. Marte has remained silent during the 39% spike in major crimes and 100% jump in hate crimes while he has been in office, which makes total sense as policies he supports make anything thwarting crime impossible. His annual salary funded by taxpayers is somewhere between $120,000 - $200,000. Both Soho and Tribeca fall directly under his domain, along with Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, the Financial District, Battery Park, the Lower East Side, and the Civic Center - almost all of Lower Manhattan, save the West Village.
On the City Council’s own website, it says, “Together, we make the laws governing New York City.” For anyone living in New York, we cannot believe this to be the case. What laws? What governing? The only thing that our rulers are doing is ignoring the laws and reinventing the textbook definition of the word, “governing.” City Council
introduces and votes on legislation having to do with all aspects of City life. Insert, abolish illegal vendors here. It negotiates the City's budget with the Mayor and approves its adoption. Finally, it monitors City agencies such as the Department of Education and the NYPD to make sure they're effectively serving New Yorkers. Pause.
This. Is. Not. Happening.
The Department of Education is irrevocably broken and the NYPD was defunded and demoralized by both City Council and Mayor by $1 billion dollars.
Taxpayers should be refunded. These two city agencies are not serving us and this is an absolute fact proven by New York City taxpayers spending the most in the nation on public school children, $28,000 per public school child annually to be in the bottom half of the nation for reading and writing and the aforementioned crime spike.
But let’s get back to the illegal vendors, of which the city offers no exact number. It isn’t just the criminal aspect, the trash they create, and the danger they cause, it’s the direct threat they force onto the economy. During lockdowns, they were seemingly the only “businesses” able to operate - all others were forced to close but continue to pay bills. Illegal vendors also missed the memo on masks and spacing. According to the Gothamist, "[legal] street vendors across the five boroughs are reporting loss in sales of up to 80%." Illegal vendors “add to daily frustrations and revenue loss for the small business owners who run the carts, according to street vendor advocate Mohamed Attia, the executive director of the Street Vendor Project.” Then, there’s the revenue loss for the city; brick-and-mortar businesses pay that thing called rent and must adhere with New York City’s nightmarish regulations that are increasingly anti small business.
Christopher Marte, if you have a minute, can you please tend to your district?
Jackie is a weekly Human Events contributor, 1st book hitting the shelves in March 2023, Jacqueline is a Manhattan native focused on NYC issues, finding solutions, and providing a voice for the void.