New People in Old Neighborhoods, by Louis Winnick
After the defeat of Edward I. Koch, New York no longer has a mayor who regularly asks the populace, “How’m I doing?” But the city’s residents do a great deal of temperature-taking of their own. Those with homes in the city, or careers tied to New York businesses, worry whether they will be forced to give up and leave. As City Hall flirts with fiscal insolvency, the city’s major private-sector employers—primarily Wall Street brokerage houses—shift their back-office operations out of state, insinuating ever so gently that it is easier to find clerical workers who are numerate and literate in places like Tampa, Florida.
Beyond the fiscal crisis are a number of “structural” problems—bridges that are old and ill-repaired, prisons filled beyond capacity. And there is crime: in the last week of February more Americans were killed on the streets of New York than in the ground war against Iraq. And, as in the rest of urban America, there is a substantial underclass permanently on welfare and tempted by every vice, people whom the city cannot afford to sustain, much less uplift.
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