Surviving in New York City, in Style

Being an ex-New Yorker is worse than being an ex-Marine. You’re branded for life. Diction lessons, joining the Southern League, and marrying a girl from Idaho can camouflage the beast and it may lay dormant in the chest cavity for decades like the "Alien" in that scary movie.

But , it’s only a matter of time, when, due to stress or elevated blood-alcohol levels, the brash, "know it all" Nooo Yawker worms its way out for all to see. It’s not a pretty sight, but those who witness the event are invariably discreet (they are never New Yorkers), and the incident passes without mention.

However successful the ex-New Yorker might be in burying those roots, there remains a compelling need to stay connected with the "Rancid Apple." It’s a form of masochism, I suppose, and remains unexplainable.

For many years the weekly Village Voice magnificently covered New York City’s internal struggles and more than satisfied my need for linkage. Although, I despised every position the rag represented, I couldn’t wait for the next edition. People like Alexander Cockburn, James Ridgeway, and Joe Conason often drove me crazy, but they were outstanding writers often critical of US foreign policy.

Unfortunately, "The Voice" became consumed with the plight of the under-classes. The paper was mired in a style more suited to the 1960s and what once passed for irreverence became tiresome. When some of their best writers moved on, "The Voice" lost its cutting edge and it was time for me to find a better link.

New York magazine panders to the prosperous and sophisticated Gothamite. Rather than bleating about police brutality in Brooklyn like "The Voice," New York readers are more interested in locating the best bagel in town, or learning which Park Avenue surgeon performs the ultimate in face-lifts.

New York kept me plugged in to "hot" restaurants I would never visit and supreme live theatre a non- or ex-New Yorker can only see taped on the "Bravo" channel.

It’s not that I’m embarrassed about subscribing to New York magazine, but having it mailed in an unmarked brown envelope is simply exercising prudence. My postman once questioned my sexuality when I received a sample copy of Architectural Digest. (I’ll save for another time the neighborhood’s reaction to my "Buchanan For President" lawn sign.)

Ok, you’ve got the message and can see why there’s not much to say about New York magazine. It’s slick, the writing is first-rate, and it’s a good place to visit if you want to know the prevailing neocon views. But things have changed at the magazine.

Last year’s horrible events have smothered the confident swagger at New York, but, I was not prepared for the August 12th edition. The magazine’s front cover is usually reserved for photos of the beautiful people playing in The Hamptons, or celebrating the opening of a new bistro in the SoHo. Not this time.

The large box in the center of the front cover announces the lead story:


The box is surrounded with photographs of a gas mask, a solar-powered/wind-up radio, a radiation meter and other essentials like "Radiation Blocking Tablets."

It was like reading an upscale version of Soldier of Fortune magazine.

The reader is asked, "Should you plan for the unthinkable?" It continues, "Some call it paranoia. Others call it preparedness."

Although the article seriously deals with some subjects like the vulnerability of the water supply and what to do if exposed to a "dirty-bomb," the overall tone seems like cocktail party chatter.

Finally, the article details their recommended "72-Hour Survival Kit." It contains, the gas mask ($170 — children’s mask $200), the radio ($95), Katayn water filters ($200 ea.), and dozens of other items totaling about $5500.

It wouldn’t be a New York magazine article if they didn’t ask, "Want to rough it in style?" Among the items in their Deluxe Survival Kit are; a HOPE (High office parachute escape — $899), and a Sea Eagle 14SR sport boat — for evacuation by the Hudson or East River — ($3200).

As an expert on the subject of Survival Kits (see Blumert’s credentials below), I suggest that the following items be added to the New York list.

  1. A white flag to surrender;
  2. An English/Arabic dictionary;
  3. An English/Hebrew dictionary;
  4. A letter from a Rabbi complimenting the bearer for his good works;
  5. A letter from a Mullah complimenting the bearer for his good works;
  6. A poison pill should the quality of life in Manhattan plummet and become unbearable (e.g., the good restaurants are all over-booked).

Note: From 1991 to 1999, Blumert sold thousands of Ron Paul Financial Survival Kits featuring gold and silver coins. At this writing, every single purchaser has survived, although a few did succumb to natural causes.