Broadway and Peachtree

by Jay Nordlinger

In Impromptus today, I begin a series called “The Fate of New York.” It’s about life before, during, and after the Giuliani-Bloomberg era. For 20 years, we have had only Rudy or Bloomy as mayor — no one else. And it has been a golden age. We will have a new mayor beginning on January 1. He will likely be the Democratic nominee, a leftist out of Central Casting (Sandinistas and all).

Will we go back to lawlessness and fear? To not being able to go out at night, to not being able to use our parks? To putting a sign that says “No Radio” in our cars? (I’m not sure that cars have radios anymore, as they did when the Giuliani-Bloomberg era began, but they must have something.) That is the concern, at least of some of us. Too few remember the bad old days. Too few know what it took to usher in the golden age, and maintain it.

People may assume that harmony is normal — that they’ll always be able to sashay down the street listening to their iPod, as though they were in Peoria. May they be spared a rude awakening.

For Part I of my series, go here. Readers have written in with testimonials about New York. I’d like to share just one of them today, from a reader in Georgia:

Dear Jay,

In 2000 and again in 2001, my wife was a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? They flew us to New York City and put us up in a hotel right across from Lincoln Center. The taping times gave us plenty of time to explore. Here I am, pushing my wife down Broadway in her wheelchair after midnight, feeling perfectly safe.

In contrast, the next summer we drove to a Braves game in downtown Atlanta. Had to get directions to the ballpark from a man standing in the middle of the road drinking a quart bottle of malt liquor inside a paper bag. After the game, we got lost and drove right down Peachtree Street. Cops were holding two guys in handcuffs on the sidewalk, and they just waved at us to keep on going when we asked directions.

Good luck to NYC post-Bloomberg.

The Corner

The one and only.