“Bill de Blasio’s singing ‘Imagine’ while his city’s in flames”
He will be remembered as the worst mayor ever to govern New York City.
Despite a long track record of failures — from actively contributing to a crumbling educational system and a staggering increase in homelessness, not to mention a laughably quixotic run for president of the United States — it was de Blasio’s surrender of New York City to looters, rioters, vandals and criminals who brazenly, repeatedly assaulted police officers that killed off his legacy.
In his final hours, in a boarded-up New York City, de Blasio rhapsodized over John Lennon’s “Imagine” at a press conference.
“I don’t mean to make light of this, but I’m reminded of the song ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon,” he said. “We played it at my inauguration. I think everyone who hears that song in its fullness thinks about a world where people got along differently. . . . About a world where we didn’t live with a lot of the restrictions that we live with now.”
It was unclear if de Blasio was referring to the nightly curfews his constituents have routinely violated or the pandemic-induced quarantining that city residents shook off, en masse, to protest the death of George Floyd, but reaction on Twitter — the often fatal arbiter of a career’s life or death — was vicious.
“I can’t believe how dumb this motherf - - - er is.”
“What a parody of a mayor, God help us.”
“I imagine him resigning.”
The night before, local 11 p.m. newscasts barely had enough time to report on the mayhem: Despite an 8 p.m. curfew, a ban on traffic below 96th Street and parts of Soho blocked off by police, thousands of protesters — again, in a pandemic — roamed the streets. A gunman in The Bronx was shot dead by police after he opened fire on at least two people.
Looters and rioters openly attacked police officers, kicking, assaulting and in one case running over a cop.
Lt. Jorge Rodriguez was clubbed so hard in the head by a rioter that, he said, “It felt like I got shot. This was a riot. We were fighting for our lives. They were throwing rocks, bottles, vacuum cleaners. They threw a moped at us.”
The city, which has seen 420,000 of its richest residents flee the coronavirus, will undoubtedly lose an even greater part of its population, already pushed to the limit by high taxes and costs of living, crumbling mass transit and school system, an exploding homeless crisis and a general sense that the benefits no longer outweigh the costs of living here.
Anyone who remembers New York City in the 1970s was shocked to see The Bronx burning again. The notion that this great metropolis, which has survived so much in recent decades — 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, the Knicks — could fall so far, so fast was unfathomable.
Yet here we are, the sad legacy of Bill de Blasio.
To be sure, Gov. Andrew Cuomo shares blame here, but New Yorkers — and history — remember only the mayors. So just as the Crown Heights riots will always belong to David Dinkins and 9/11 to Rudy Giuliani, this desecration and destruction of New York City, the effects of which will be felt for years, belongs to Bill de Blasio.
“This city has been through so much,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “But I want to remind EVERYONE who is feeling worried, frustrated or angry that we will come through this. New York City ALWAYS has.”
That’s true. And we will survive de Blasio.
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