Wednesday, December 21, 2005

NYC's Transit Strike -- A Blast from the Past

To any native New Yorker (I was born in Manhattan), the news that NYC's MTA strike is now in its second day has a nostalgic ring. The clock has turned back to the pre-Giuliani way of life. For some 20 years, New York has been relatively strike-free. Mayor Giuliani cleaned up the city, and kept the unions in line. It was, it appears, like Camelot, doomed not to last. This strike is a sign that something is going wrong.

Another sign was Mayor Bloomberg's choice of Raymond Kelly as police chief--he was widely reputed to have turned the city into a crime disaster area under Mayor Dinkins, so why on did Bloomberg bring him back? Surely, there was someone else who could do the job.

We were in Manhattan not so long ago and the signs of decay were everywhere--garbage swirling in the wind, a hustler trying to pull a fast one on a Starbuck's cashier, menacing figures and homeless wandering the streets. This phenomenon has been noticed by others, including Taki in his Spectator column, and a another friend of ours just back from a visit.

As New York City's elevator operators used to ask: "Going down?"...