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Posts Tagged ‘Times Square’

New York went through some difficult times in the seventies and the eighties. I lived there during the latter decade and there were places you didn’t go, people you didn’t look at, and times of day you stuck to well-traveled, familiar locales. Nowadays it’s about as clean, safe and friendly as a big city can be. How much of that is attributable to Rudy Giuliani’s tenure as mayor is subject to speculation – except if you happen to be Rudy Giuliani. In his worldview (or rather, his city view), New York is a place he twice rescued. We all know about 9/11, for he never fails to remind us. The first time, however, was when he took over as mayor in 1994. It’s true that he brought to the office his particular view that government must be made accountable and individuals must be made responsible. To that end, he managed to remove much of the bloat associated with welfare rolls and city government. He also inflammed racial tensions, wasted time overzealously prosecuting quality of life issues, and alternately exasperated and embarrassed his constituency with his public antics and private shenanigans. Those activities receive no mention in his speeches or campaign literature. Nor are there allusions to the robust national economy under Clinton or the arrival of the Mouse in all its corporate glory, which seemed to clear the way for the vast number of national brand stores so beloved by tourists everywhere. Today Times Square may look like just another theme park but it is indubitably safe and by god, New Yorkers do look each other in the eye. New York is fat and, if not happy, then self-satisfied. The Big Apple can handle being cast as the villain opposite Rudy’s white knight. After all, it gave rise to a thrice-married, opera-loving, gun-hating, gay-embracing immigration-accepting, Saturday Night Live-appearing mayor who is now running for President as a conservative. Hell of a town.

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