These Days, You Can't Make It Anywhere in New York, New York
Mayor Bill de Blasio has continued his predecessor Mike Bloomberg’s war on automotive traffic.
Taxes aside, New York has always seemed to me the perfect city to grow old in. There are doormen to help with packages; handymen and building superintendents to shovel the snow, take out the trash, and unclog the drains; restaurants of all kinds to deliver dinner; elevators so you don’t have to climb stairs; interesting streets to walk while you can; excellent doctors and hospitals (a bit harder to access now, thanks to President Obama’s raid on Medicare); and—I used to say—taxis to whisk you to midtown in 15 minutes. That last point is no longer true, and it’s no small inconvenience to those for whom subway stairs are an impediment.
Blame two mayors, Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio. The former, who led the city from 2002-13, had real accomplishments, from Gotham’s continuing drop in crime, to rezoning the city, to the No. 7 subway extension. But Mr. Bloomberg also held some zany urbanist notions. He pushed to reduce traffic with London-style congestion pricing, and when that effort failed, he reportedly decided to reduce the number of cars in Manhattan by slowing them maddeningly.
His administration pedestrianized Times Square, legalized rickshaws, and proliferated bike lanes. Because Mr. Bloomberg’s name is on the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health—thanks to his countless millions in donations—the mayor seemed to assume special expertise on the subject. Along with banning big sodas and limiting where New Yorkers could smoke, he tried to induce exercise by installing a raft of rental Citi Bikes.
Mayor de Blasio doubled down....
Myron Magnet, City Journal’s editor-at-large and its editor from 1994 through 2006, is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. His latest book is The Founders at Home. This piece was adapted from City Journal.
This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal