I admit it – I lived in New York City for 13 years. I resided in Brooklyn and worked in Manhattan. It was fun. I got married, had a wonderful daughter, and things were going well. Then I lost my job, got divorced and then, in 1998, I departed the Hallowed City and returned to Berkshire County in Massachusetts where I was born and raised. The employment situation in New York had deteriorated for me and I needed a fresh start. It happens to a lot of people.
Leaving New York was as welcome a change as going there was. Despite all the good things about city living, New York’s smug attitude about itself had gotten to me. I came to the conclusion that New York is The Most Overrated Place in the World.
If you are a conservative in New York City, as I was, you may be ridiculed, hounded and harassed. Often it is in a joking way, but it is real and it turns out to be no joke. I lost a very important job ultimately for being a conservative, although I never could prove it.
But the final joke is on New York. Because despite its reputation as Fun City and a place where people get along – visitors often say that New York is very friendly, despite their preconceptions – many New Yorkers are really malicious people who must survive in a dog-eat-dog liberal environment. They must play along, and New York is largely for the leftist die-hards who can endure the political and cultural mau-mau that residents are usually subject to.
In a city where people go in order to get to “the top”, there is sometimes merit that is rewarded and positions advanced on ability and knowledge. But on the other hand, there are huge amounts of lying and corruption and deceit and political machinations.
I moved to New York in 1985. At that point, the city was in a shambles. Corruption was rampant, the city’s Great Bankruptcy was only 10 years in the past, corporations were fleeing taxes and crime, every subway car was covered stem to stern in spray-paint graffiti, parks were closed or were commandeered by drug dealers, streets were filthy, the police were afraid of the criminals, while the Mob and labor unions were stealing the place blind.
I ignored it all. I was an artist and had good ideas. I had good connections and was intent on “getting to the top” of the art world.
I soon realized that it was even tougher than I had predicted it would be. I got stuck living in a dumpy hotel downtown and the old man across the hall died. He was dead for three days before they found him. That was pretty gruesome and disconcerting, good stuff for a novel. I soon ran out of money and had to borrow a whole $100 from my father. I was hanging by a thread. Finally I moved into a boarding house in Brooklyn and things stabilized. Over the next few years, I got work, had some art exhibits, got married, had a kid, and everything seemed to be going my way.
Then eventually things went south as they often do in life. And living in New York makes things triply difficult. Despite having a wonderful wife and daughter, I took my eye off the ball and lost my job. And New York is a hard place for someone who is 40 and unemployed, particularly for someone like me who did not have all that great a work history. After all, I was an “artist”. What need had I for stable employment? When was I going to be “discovered”? It was only a matter of time, I was certain.
A year after losing my job, I was home with my daughter while my wife worked. Great setup, by the way. Rudy Giuliani took office then, in January 1994. After suffering through decades of liberal Democrat abuse and watching the city deteriorate around them, the voters took a gamble on a conservative Republican. After Giuliani whipped the city into shape in just a few short years, even the most die-hard left-wing New Yorker grudgingly considered him to be a genuine savior.
Rudy did what any rational leader would do. He put a stop to the corruption, re-oriented the economy to growth, sent out the police in force to fearlessly fight crime – organized and otherwise – arrested the graffiti vandals, and generally did what they do in places where normal people live normal lives.
Four years later, however – even though the city was getting better and better – I threw in the towel. New York remained too politically-correct and the contemporary art world to which I was seeking entrée was full of postmodernist dreck that I wanted no part of. There was no scholarship or quality anywhere. I came to detest the people and the art. I saw the light.
But ultimately the city simply began to bore me. I had stopped reading the stupid New York Times years before and now was surrounded by people who read it like it was the Bible. I realized that they were morons, that all the glamorous offices and tall buildings and the wealth and the two-thousand-dollar suits did not in any way make up for the corruption, stupidity, arrogance, self-absorption, materialism and simple-minded slavishness to liberalism that I loathed. After a Republican had saved the city from ruin, nobody seemed to want to admit it. By 1998, they had fallen back into their usual habits, relentlessly criticizing conservatives.
I still visit New York to see my daughter. But it is usually a quick trip with no side sorties. Every once in a while, I might go to the Onassis Center or the Metropolitan Museum to see some classical art. But the contemporary arts are a bust and I don’t even waste a single step visiting those dopey galleries I once considered significant. The Museum of Modern Art built a new headquarters building that was supposed to be an architectural landmark that turned out to be a big dud. And most of the paintings inside are duds too. But don’t say that too loudly in New York. They’ll call you names. Because their reputations and wealth and self-images are all tied up in that stuff. They can never let anyone see that the emperor has no clothes.
There still are some good people in New York who are scholarly and appreciative of the triumphs of Western civilization in the arts. They favor low taxes and free enterprise. They embrace family values. But they are in the minority. Despite Giuliani’s reforms, New York today is largely controlled by a leftist cabal of financiers, bankers, artists, black-power radicals, corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and media people who are in large part gay, feminine, feminist, socialist, redistributionist, materialist and communist. Real men with Constitutional hearts are not welcome in New York City. Then again, New York was a hotbed of anti-revolutionary fervor at our nation’s founding.
New York is overrated because New York is over-liberal. Liberals are always inflating themselves to appear stronger and more important than they are. Truth is, liberals are extremely insecure people and they brook no dissent out of sheer fear. And if the truth gets out about New York, and if the average farmer in Kansas came to realize that he is more crucial to America than all the New York elites combined, that would be hell for New York and its earth-sized ego. But good for America.
Perhaps someday the truth will come out. But don’t hold your breath. Just be grateful that you know what the truth really is. Because it is more valuable than you can ever know. And you are blessed to know it.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.