19 Dec 2008 8:53 am   //   Filed under: Hard times, New York is different

What do we do if New York starts to suck?

One reason New York City could afford to be ambitious in the 2000s is that we got so much tax money from rich people in the financial services industry. Well, that’s a wash. Since October the mayor has cut a lot of important city services. The governor has proposed taxing everything (taxis, soft drinks, you name it) and cutting money for schools and hospitals. The MTA expects to cut service and raise the cost of the 30-day MetroCard from $81 to over $100. And importantly, a lot more people are out of work and things aren’t looking up for them.

We know from history that New York City runs in boom and bust cycles. The time I’ve lived here (since 2002) has been a pretty good run. And the city, no doubt, has better days ahead. But we’ve all heard stories about the junked-up, broke, crime-ridden New York City of the 1970s and 1980s (or at the very least we’ve seen The Warriors). Yikes!

Suppose 2009 gets ugly.

Like a lot of New Yorkers, I love this city, but I’m not from here. I’m here because, on its merits, New York City is the best place to live that’s still within a few hours of my family. I have a real job, a solid community, and a lot of good friends here. This is still the best city in America.

But I’ve talked to a couple of New Yorker friends recently who are doing what I’m doing: A small part of my brain is quietly formulating a contingency plan for what to do in case New York starts to suck.