The one thing you know about the 2014 U.S. Open as it heads into its first weekend, is that it is as open to hope and change and surprise and drama and unexpected reversals as the borough and the city, and the state, and the country, where it lives. This is the glory of the great New York tennis tournament, the last of the year’s four majors, the world series of this sport.
Live From New York
With the next school year just a month away, New York City’s progressive mayor Bill de Blasio is continuing his war against academic achievement.
In his bid for mayor, de Blasio the class warrior cried that there are two New Yorks. He wasn’t entirely wrong: there’s the New York of Bill de Blasio and the New York of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo is an interesting character in American politics. As the Democratic Party moves to placates the left wing of its base—including teachers unions—Cuomo, setting his sights on a future White House bid, has been very tepid about moving too far from the center. He has compromised with the Republican-controlled state senate on many issues, one being charter schools.
Much to the chagrin of the progressive mayor, who seems to want to shackle lower-income children to underperforming public schools, Governor Cuomo worked with the legislature earlier this year to protect charter schools—and they seem set to thrive in the Big Apple.
Smoking is healthier than fascism. The aphorism’s latest affirmation comes via the death of a seller of cigarette singles at the hands of New York City police officers.
“Are you serious?” Eric Garner asked the approaching New York City cops. “I didn’t do nothing. What did I do?” No good deed goes unpunished. He apparently captured the attention of the police last week by breaking up a fight. But he appeared on their radar long before that.
“In a city where the authorities are increasingly focused on stamping out petty offenses as a way of heading off larger ones,” the New York Times reported this week, “the local officers had tangled with Mr. Garner time and time again, arresting him for selling untaxed cigarettes at a price far below what local deli owners could offer.”
Like many teenagers who came of age in New York City in the late 1950s and early 1960s, my Dad was reared on rock ’n’ roll. He was particularly fond of the harmony and melody of doo-wop music.
Dad wasn’t the only Goldstein enamored with doo-wop. For many years, my Aunt Sharon has hosted a radio program in California under the alias Sista Soul devoted to doo-wop called “Sista’s Place.” Many years ago, during a visit to his “sista,” Dad appeared on the show as “Brother Rajeev.”
So I thought it would be appropriate to spend the night before Father’s Day with Dad at the Seventh Annual Ultimate Doo Wop Show in New York City’s Beacon Theatre. The lineup included the Soul Stirrers featuring Willie Rogers, Shirley Alston-Reeves of the Shirelles, Charlie Thomas’ Drifters and rock ’n’ roll’s wanderer — Dion.
In recent years I have spent Memorial Day Weekend in New York with my Dad. This year we made a point of visiting the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which opened last week at the site of the 9/11 attacks.
The last time we were at Ground Zero (as it was then known) was on April 30, 2011. I will always remember this because the following day Navy SEAL Team Six killed Osama bin Laden. With the 9/11 Memorial & Museum opened, we concluded it would be appropriate to make our return.
There’s a familiar story of a man who has nothing, wins the lotto, and lives the same lavish lifestyle that he once criticized rich people for. Then, in just a few short years, he’s back in poverty, with only memories of good times.
Bill de Blasio won the lottery: a weak Republican opponent in an overwhelmingly liberal city that hadn't elected a Democrat mayor in two decades. There was fatigue over the Bloomberg and Giuliani years. Most New Yorkers couldn’t fathom a time when Times Square was littered with prostitutes, the Lower East Side with AIDS-infected heroin addicts, and Brooklyn with race riots.
De Blasio’s moderate Democrat opponents were seen as being too close to Bloomberg, and his more liberal opponents were mired in scandal: John Liu for his shady fundraising and Anthony Weiner for (insert your own joke here).
And so the people’s mayor was elected to right the injustices cast by evil Republicans over the last 20 years. Income inequality, police brutality, and Justin Bieber’s career would all be things of the past.
It appears, however, that his words were in vain.
Just in time for the Sochi Olympics, the Metropolitan Opera has premiered a new version of Alexander Borodin’s sweeping historical opera, Prince Igor. Based on a medieval Russian poem about a military campaign against hostile tribes from the Steppes, it is one of Russia’s most popular operas. Despite a ravishing score, it is infrequently performed in the West. In fact, it hasn’t been seen at the Met since 1917. So the opening night audience was filled with anticipation—the couple sitting next to me included a man who had traveled all the way from Texas to see it.
In the wake of Governor Andrew Cuomo's statement that “extreme conservatives” have no place in New York State because “that’s not what New York is about,” Mayor Bill De Blasio quickly agreed.
But Cuomo and de Blasio are not only proving their own prejudice, but also their ignorance of history. New York State and New York City have been home to some of the most extreme, misfit, rebellious, groundbreaking, status quo-shaking right-wingers in American history.
Libertarianism owes as much to New York City as it does to the rugged individualism that came out of the West. Ayn Rand, the mother of objectivism, moved to New York City in 1926. She wrote both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in New York. She lived here and died here.
Another notable New York libertarian is the father of Austrian economics Ludwig Von Mises. It was in New York that he wrote his landmark work Human Action. Murray Rothbard and Milton Friedman, two other economists whose opinions and theories totally reject the tax-and-borrow policies of Cuomo and de Blasio, are products of New York.
Mr. de Blasio made a perfectly demagogic speech upon being inaugurated 109th mayor of New York City on New Year’s Day, and as such it was very fine. It was what, after all, everyone expected of him. No one expected him to praise his two predecessors, Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, for making it at all possible to even entertain the notions of government-enforced income redistribution that were the principal theme of his campaign, that were, in fact, the only theme of his campaign. No one grudges him this, for the political game puts no premium on expressions of gratitude, let alone of debt. On the contrary, the practice among politicians of the democratic extreme is to blame every thing that happens on past governments.