Your Intrepid Reporter Hits The Hotspot

Ah, New York City! That most communist of dystopias, with more politicians and bureaucrats—and four-legged rats, too—per square inch than anywhere else in the universe, closets that the denizens mistake for apartments, thoroughfares ankle-deep in trash, neurotics galore, traffic jams 24/7, and a profound ignorance of and contempt for places more civilized.

Relieving the sordidness and misery are world-class restaurants—oh, wait: Our Rulers closed them. Well, how about an afternoon at Manhattan’s renowned museums? Nope, government shut them, too, though they’re still fleecing us for their upkeep. (Nor does the normal rate of plunder satisfy; as the Met confesses, “We’re joining the American Alliance of Museums to ask Congress to add $4B”–as in billion—”in relief funding to museums and cultural nonprofits.” I suppose all the newly unemployed taxpayers can eat cake and ice cream.)

Indeed, New York’s despots have obliterated everything that compensated somewhat for the Big Apple’s extortionate prices, rude natives, and intemperate weather. Thanks to politicians and bureaucrats, Gotham languishes in unrelieved squalor. Atlas Shrugged[ATLAS S... AynRand Best Price: $5.88 Buy New $20.10 (as of 03:15 EDT - Details)

We fled the Coronavirus Capital a month ago, when New York’s tyrants threatened their subjects with quarantine. Isolating Manhattan Island is so easy that even the incompetent political class could pull it off: simply barricade all bridges and tunnels to the mainland. That’d turn the borough into a gigantic prison—and believe me, it’s unbearable enough when you know you can leave. Worse, the despots could demand anything—vaccination, hefty fees, shredding the Constitution—as the price of release.

But a month’s absence from our apartment, with its antiquated plumbing and houseplants, worried us. Besides, the best time to travel is when Our Rulers order us not to!

So we rented a car and headed into traffic that seemed a bit lighter than normal. I celebrated every vehicle as a finger in the eye of the State. My musings distracted me from the electronic signs blinking propaganda at us: “STAY HOME. STOP COVID 19.” Hey, if staying home will stop the plague of government, I’ll do it. Otherwise, leave me alone.

For reasons I cannot fathom, Pennsylvania has closed its rest areas (but not its toll plazas; gotta love the State!). During our flight four weeks ago, all of them were blocked; I wondered then how forcing travelers to queue at gas stations fights contagion, but who am I to question Our Rulers? This time, some were open—a few with an array of porta-potties. All that odoriferous, germy plastic oughta conquer COVID-19, yessirree.

Like Pennsylvania, New York has cut its “services,” but its highway robbery continues apace. After coughing up $16 at the George Washington Bridge—no, we weren’t buying it; that’s what these thieves charge to cross it—we arrived in Manhattan.

Atlas Snubbed Krawchuk, Ken V. Buy New $19.99 (as of 03:03 EDT - Details) From the bridge to our apartment, I don’t think we slammed on the brakes even once. No traffic. At rush hour. Thank you, Rulers! The silver lining to your destruction of civilization is that you’ve finally fixed the congestion clogging your roads. Somehow, I expected you to have kept the jams while eradicating the jobs causing them.

The sidewalks, as empty as the streets, are filled with fear. But the litter that blankets all asphalt and concrete is gone. So are the cops, speaking of trash.

New York City tortures drivers with “alternate side of the street parking,” forcing them to move their parked cars from one side of the road every other day. Theoretically at least, street-cleaning machines then rumble along the cleared curb. But Our Rulers, in an eerie show of mercy, suspended “Alternate side” lo, these many weeks ago. Ergo, I assumed we’d wade through knee-high debris. Nope: the streets are nigh immaculate. That’s no doubt due to Marxist New Yorkers’ blindly obeying Leviathan’s commands, in this case to cower inside. But those bare byways also prove the uselessness of the Sanitation Department’s make-work—or perhaps its harm: does “street-cleaning” exacerbate the very problem it addresses, as do government’s other policies?

If you love New York’s bustle, you’d grieve at the ghost town it’s become. Restaurants are closed—myriads permanently, I fear, including my favorite Chinese one. Others gamely offer take-out, so we snagged a pizza. What a work of art is New York’s pizza, oh, yum! Look for Our Rulers to ban it next (“Pizza may help spread COVID-19, a new study from the CDC shows. Mayor DiBlasio will sign legislation next week protecting New Yorkers…”)

As we munched, brainwashing bombarded us. We listen to classical music on the radio; the station, allegedly a “public,” non-commercial one, nonetheless advertises concerts and similar events. But Our Rulers killed such pastimes and their ads, so only propaganda now echoes between sonatas and symphonies: “Wash your hands, stay home, wear a mask, practice social distancing.”

American Contempt for ... Williams, Walter E. Best Price: $14.29 Buy New $11.75 (as of 02:30 EST - Details) On the streets, the indoctrination intensifies. “Free” wifi kiosks that are really just hi-tech billboards (smartphones had already rendered them obsolete when they were installed five or six years ago) clutter Manhattan. And their ads nag as monolithically as the radio’s did: “Stay home even if you are healthy”; “Cover your cough or sneeze”; etc., ad nauseam.

Dismayingly, the very people who should most vigorously fight Leviathan’s nonsense—the businessmen the lockdown is bankrupting—are drunk on Koronavirus Kool-Aid, so far as I can tell. If a store is “essential” and therefore open (Bloomingdale’s is not, shockingly enough), it plasters signs on its doors ordering customers to wear masks, to social distance, to cringe in fear… OK, I made up that last. But how infuriating that entrepreneurs are bossing rather than catering to their clientele!

This went personal when I patronized one of the holes-in-the-wall that dot Manhattan. I’ve visited this little emporium many times and was pleased to see no directives about masks on its door. Back in the day, I’d enjoyed browsing its shelves. Now the proprietor has roped them off: only a 3-foot-square space immediately inside the front door is still available to purchasers. Not much of a welcome, if you ask me. And one woman already occupied this tiny area! No matter: I crowded in behind her.

With a sheer, plastic shield covering his masked face, the clerk looked as though he’d forgotten the rest of his haz-mat suit,. Later, as I hiked the City, I’d spot more such get-ups, but this was my first.

I tried not to laugh as I asked for my item; he fetched it, took my money, and then announced, “Next time you come, wear a mask, or I won’t let you in.”

Few things irk me as much as vendors mistaking customers for vassals. And so I retorted, “Oh, don’t worry, there won’t be a next time. Besides, masks are ridiculous—this is a cold, after all, not bubonic—”

Well. Along with our freedom to worship, that of dissent has disappeared, too. The guy’s face purpled. “Whadda you know?” he roared. “I was sick wid dis crap!” America’s Great ... Best Price: $14.73 Buy New $14.73 (as of 03:11 EDT - Details)

I actually stood there trying to reason with him before coming to my senses. That, and I feared he might throw me out bodily.

I emerged onto the sidewalk to see four people standing there, each bent over a phone, all precisely 6 feet apart. A line! Merely to enter the 3-foot square! And here I’d barged inside upon arrival. I have a lot to learn about our cowardly new world.

Lines have always cursed New York. Prior to Our Rulers’ plandemic, certain restaurants, bars, and events featured a perennial column of trend-setters outside. I’ve always avoided these places. I’d rather chow down on chow fon immediately than wait two hours at Maison Chi-Chi, all so I can fork over $95 for three—count ‘em, three—pieces of roasted potato and a single scallop. Likewise, give me a DVD and a bowl of popcorn on my comfy couch instead of a wait in the snow or summer’s broiling heat before a jammed theater, where the only remaining seats are behind the Harlem Globetrotters.

But now, with restaurants and theaters shut tighter than Al Gore’s wallet, the lines have moved to drug stores and supermarkets. Outside most, a file of sheeple, bent over their phones at six-foot intervals, straggles down the block. There’s no admittance without a mask, so those wishing to eat mimic the flock.

Lost in thought, I crossed deserted intersection after deserted intersection without even looking for traffic. Midway through one, I glanced up to behold a car speeding directly at me. “Oh, Lord,” I cried, “don’t let me die of coronavirus!”

I didn’t, any more than New York did. It required a contagion far more virulent than COVID-19 to decimate Manhattan: politicians and bureaucrats. Their economic embargo is an act of war, a weapon governments usually employ against foreign enemies but now aim at their own serfs.

Time to return fire.