Diary

NYC's New Suicide Sculptures (metaphor for economic reality)

New York is full of brilliant ideas these days. Let’s look first at the suicide sculpture metaphor, then the economic reality.

From Wednesday’s New York Times:

Statues Seem Ready to Leap, but Police Say They Won’t
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
Published: March 9, 2010
They stand about six feet tall and look like naked human beings. Over the next few days, 27 of them will be scattered across rooftops and ledges of buildings in Midtown Manhattan — including the Empire State Building — as part of a public art exhibition.

About the same time that the first figure was placed atop a four-story building at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue on Tuesday, the Police Department issued a statement reassuring New Yorkers that the figures are not despondent people on the verge of leaping to their deaths.

Police officials said they were trying to prevent an overwhelming number of emergency calls from concerned pedestrians or office workers. Nevertheless, they said that all emergency calls about a potential suicide would be taken seriously — even those from places where one of the figures is located.

“We are going to respond no matter what because there could be a jumper at the spot,” said Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman.

The figures, which are anatomically correct, are modeled after the body of the artist Antony Gormley, who created the exhibition, which is being presented by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Gormley did the same thing in London in 2007.

Is anyone surprised that lots of people would call 911? Does anyone think that clogging the 911 line is a good idea? In a nanny state government that forbids toy guns, why is this OK? How much did this guy earn for this “art”?

Stupidity all around, but that’s not surprising for New York.

Moving on to suicidal economic news, the New York Times loves the proposed soda tax:

Editorial
Healthy Solution: Taxing Sodas
Published: March 8, 2010
Seldom does one idea help fix two important problems, but a proposal to tax sugary soft drinks in New York State is just that sort of 2-for-1 solution. The penny-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sweetened drinks is a way to raise desperately needed money for the city and state in a bad economy. It also could help lower obesity rates, which have soared in recent years.

The Legislature in Albany should adopt this tax quickly.

Increasing New York taxes to support outrageously generous public union pensions — bless your hearts, New York Times and Mayor Bloomberg.

What is the other solution to New York’s fiscal crisis? Billions in increased borrowing, of course:

Paterson’s No. 2 Sets Broad Plan on New York Fiscal Crisis
By DANNY HAKIM
Published: March 9, 2010
ALBANY — New York could borrow billions of dollars to address its urgent budget shortfall and a financial review board would be established to impose new discipline on future spending under a five-year financial rescue plan that Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch will present Wednesday.
(…)
Mr. Ravitch, who was asked by Gov. David A. Paterson to draw up the blueprint, is seeking to curb the runaway spending that has helped plunge New York into fiscal crisis. Despite the recession and talk of fiscal austerity, state spending this year soared by 10 percent over the previous year’s budget.

Keep on spending!

The state faces a $9 billion shortfall for the fiscal year that begins April 1 and a $15 billion gap for the following year.

The plan, which requires legislative approval, seeks to address New York’s immediate cash needs by permitting the state to sell bonds to help cover operating expenses.

Keep on borrowing! Does anyone want to buy a bond from a bankrupt state run by David Paterson?

If the Madison Square Park Conservancy wants to add some art, why not ditch the suicide sculptures and have a replica of the Diana sculpture that once graced Madison Square Garden? The Roman goddess Diana was an emblem of chastity.

Suicide sculpture — an urban metaphor for these times? Why not move them from Madison Square down to Wall Street?