“Cuomo and de Blasio are refusing to face what rioting means for New York”
June 2, 2020 | 7:54pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio tours Flatbush with Councilmembers Farah Louis and Mathieu Eugene and Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte on Sunday, May 31.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
Everybody who grew up in this town has at least once ridden the rickety wooden escalator at the center of Macy’s Herald Square — a building almost as iconic to New York City as the Empire State Building. They’ve made movies about them both.
And so a city with 40,000 cops hasn’t the will to station a couple of hundred of them between its cultural heritage — kitschy as it sometimes may seem — and an opportunistic mob?
Shocking and shameful.
The thing with anarchists, with rioters and with looters is that if you give them an inch, they’ll take your city’s soul. And it has been the policy of New York City for several nights now to give them as many inches as they demand.
But when Gotham’s top uniformed cop kneels in solidarity with nihilism — as Chief of Department Terence Monahan did Monday — the nihilists didn’t go home and stream Netflix.
They went out and took another bite from the Big Apple.
And not just at Macy’s. And not just in Midtown. The Bronx was burning Monday night, and suddenly it was 1977 all over again. It’s been going on for days, everywhere — and the pressing question Tuesday afternoon was: What will Wednesday bring?
To be sure, anarchist provocation and garden-variety greed seem to have paralyzed the national will as well. Yet New York is supposed to be better than that; so far, it has been anything but.
Hand the blame to Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo. They’re content to declare curfews and cluck on about social justice and peaceful protest. But that’s it. And that’s not enough.
Sure, the mayor and governor have coronavirus-recovery distractions — but do the two of them even understand what the rioting means? They don’t act like it, but how could they not — they’ve both been in town a long time, they’ve been down this road before and they know where it can lead.
Surely they know that urban tumult doesn’t end until it is brought to an end — sometimes by direct action, sometimes by wholly preventable tragedy.
In 1991, anti-Semitic rioting in Crown Heights took two lives and then ran for three full days and nights — allegedly with the approval of then-Mayor David Dinkins. He denies he let it run, but the fact is that when he finally ordered his deputy police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, to end it, it ended.
So even belated firmness works.
But in December 2014, ever-escalating anti-cop protest turmoil was tolerated — even wink-and-nod encouraged — by de Blasio’s City Hall. Each day was more violent than the one before — and it didn’t end until a suicidal lunatic drawn by the disorder opened fire on two cops sitting in a patrol car in Brooklyn, killing them both.
Feckless acquiescence of the sort we’re seeing now bred tragedy — and worked only insofar as the shock of the assassinations took the steam out of the demonstrations, and they faded on their own.
So there are two models here.
De Blasio can go the firmness route — and Cuomo, who has never before hesitated to interfere in the mayor’s business, can back him up. That is, if need be, he can force de Blasio’s hand.
Or they both can stand by and let the rioters roll.
Then there will be more looting, more burning, more victims — and an ever-escalating sense that the city is incapable of preserving the public peace and that it lacks the courage even to try.
Let’s be frank: The notion that the actions of four cops in Minnesota on Memorial Day in any way justifies the continued fracturing of New York City’s social order 10 days later is nonsense on its face.
And the willingness of Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo to tolerate what has been happening in New York since last Friday — violence is rampant upstate as well — is scandalous beyond words.
For the two of them, it’s always been better to do nothing than to alienate an interest group — but effectively accelerating municipal mayhem through studied inaction is something altogether new.
And it needs to end.
If you want to read more Opinion News articles, you can visit our General category.