Midtown Manhattan and Times Square looked like a war zone Tuesday. The mayor and his would-be successors are a lost cause, but if Gov. Cuomo won’t stop the looting, we’ll lose our retail tax base and hundreds of thousands of jobs — for years.
Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman — icons of New York, windows smashed. But that’s not the worst part: It was clear that the office-building and retail managers and workers were bracing for more.
From Central Park South through Rockefeller Center through the Bowtie to Herald Square, hundreds of essential workers — most of them minority men — scrambled to sweep up the broken glass. Then, they unpacked lumber pile after lumber pile, block after block, to board everything up fast, before the looters strike again.
Midtown smelled and sounded like a woodworking shop — but instead of building something productive, property owners are bracing for destruction.
No major elected official — not Council Speaker Corey Johnson, not Comptroller Scott Stringer, not Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — has shown public solidarity with the retail owners, managers, and workers who are bearing the brunt of New York City’s failure to keep order.
Macy’s — which sponsors two of the city’s biggest events, the July 4 fireworks and the Thanksgiving Day Parade? Abandoned by the pols to a mob, because the pols are afraid of looking racist.
The optimistic view of this is: Well, so what? Stores have been closed for three months anyway, due to a lockdown that all responsible people (of all races) are still observing. Workers — 350,000 people worked in retail last year — were already on temporary furlough.
This thinking — quite common on woke, white, “urban Twitter” — is a fatal mistake. Chain stores such as Macy’s were already struggling pre-pandemic. Small businesses were squeezed between high local taxes and cheap online shopping.
Even before the rioting, for Manhattan retail to reopen post-pandemic was a big bet. Office workers and tourists are much their foot traffic — but they won’t be back soon. People who have lost jobs and income are unlikely to resume big spending.
Now, though, what’s the bet? You reopen your store mid-June, and a new wave of riots causes tens of thousands of dollars in damage? “Insurance will pay.” Maybe, maybe not — insurance often doesn’t pay for civil unrest. And insurance rates will soar.
“Cuomos want NYS ripped to pieces. Trump called them out today. 10D chess. They want Trump to use military so they can blame him for any inevitable deaths and injuries. That way they can disavow any responsibilty. Trump is calling them out now, because this is their fault for not acting. Cuomos are traitors to the US.” — Anon