New Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Dinkins aide and “the guy with the Black Wife and kids” has pledged to end Stop and Frisk, and given that he got elected over all the other candidates with far more money, he has reason to mean what he says. Choosing Bill Bratton as his new Police Commissioner is merely a fig leaf on the inevitable crime explosion, which many from Laurie Anderson to Annie Liebowitz have yearned for (it kept the rents down, whadda ya gonna do?) So the transition from “safe” Times Square filled with corporate America: ESPN Zone, Disney, the Today Show, etc. to squalid “shooting galleries” filled with addicts shooting up with needles, gang bangers, “polar bear hunting,” prostitution, in other words “Taxi Driver” the movie, is going to be rapid. A lot can happen in a year. Even two.
Unwary tourists who don’t really understand how the city changed (i.e. the police are now leashed against the feral, Black-Dominican-Puerto Rican underclass) are going to be victims. Quite a number of them. Times Square will quickly be the province of prostitutes, drug users, gang members, and junkies, all showing corporate America who owns and runs the place. Hint: its not the corporate people. Within a few years, New York will once again devolve even or especially in Manhattan, to what it was under Dinkins. A squalid hell hole. Known to be dangerous.
And how New York dies, and how rapidly, will prove to America and the world that walkable cities are a death trap. That only the car-based city can resurrect itself, being by its very nature resilient to demographic change. As New York dies, Vegas is reviving. Vegas stands to benefit from industries and institutions fleeing New York. And might even challenge Los Angeles as America’s business and cultural capital, as opposed to its political capital, Washington DC. This could well presage a movement towards a more blue collar, Vegas-oriented society.
New York shifted in the past ten years or so from Whites at 47% to 33%, and Black from 28.4% to 25.5%, Hispanic from 27% to 28.6%. Asians accounted for the rest of the gain. [Sources here and here]. Decline of White voters meant, well de Blasio as Mayor. Blacks declined as well, but not as much as the White decline (mostly Middle/Working class). The Hispanic and Asian gain was enough to make de Blasio Mayor, particularly with low participation and high Black turnout with Black block voting. Demography is destiny. In a place like NYC, held up only by a police force empowered to stop and frisk the most likely criminals (young Black and Hispanic Men), who the mayor is matters.
Mayor de Blasio promised to end stop and frisk. He means it, this pledge plus his identity as the “Black candidate” got him elected. So the vast criminal underclass now knows it can carry weapons illegally and prey at will on tourists, the Eloi-like Upper Class, and of course, each other. Already the subways have reverted to Dinkins like hellish conditions, with gangstas and the homeless criminal class acting at will. The NYPD knows full well that they will face an outcry at best and jail at worst in any confrontation with the non-White criminal class (which is about 99% of the criminals in NYC). Thus, wave and walk on by.
The first prominent victims are likely to be Broadway-bound tourists, generally middle aged or older White ladies who saved up for years to see a show. Dead or severely injured by “Knockout Game” i.e. Polar Bear Hunting, by “youths” (Black youngish criminals) seeking to knock out an unsuspecting (White) victim with one punch. Or, shootings “just for fun” (i.e. status among young men leading to sexual success, the real motive for “motiveless” crimes). This will have significant impacts on Broadway.
Broadway shows require significant investments, but when successful can run for years or even decades. The London production of Cats ran for 21 years and other big name musicals have run nearly as long in London and NYC. Big musicals require lots of expensive sets, designers, costumes, and often big name stars. But, tickets can easily run $150 for the hot shows, and at a 2,500 seat theater, that amounts to nearly $375,000 on a full, week-end night (Friday and Saturday). Obviously matinees have reduced prices and therefore gross revenue, and many nights play to less than packed houses. But these big, Andrew Lloyd Webber style musicals are quite popular (generally with middle aged and above White ladies from the middle to upper middle class) which is why there regularly several on Broadway and in London’s West End.
What Broadway can’t abide is their customers recoiling in danger because they’ve been killed or shot or beaten into the hospital. New York, and London, have lots of hotel rooms, though pricey. They have many things to do and see besides big musicals: world class museums, famous places showing up in films and tv shows, architectural and other wonders like the London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Chrysler Building, Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, Central Park, etc.
Ladies of a “certain age” will save up for years to visit these cities, take in the sights, and see those shows. There’s a lot of money to be made.
But the customers have to show up. And already, shows are shifting to … Las Vegas. Elton John (basically a Broadway show complete with fabulousness) is playing Caesar’s Palace for the better part of a year, and so is Britney Spears. Already there are talks of importing some Broadway shows to a Vegas casino, and Cirque du Soleil already has a permanent home in Vegas.
Vegas has plenty of hotel rooms and airline flights, and the rooms are likely cheaper than NYC by a fair margin. There’s things to do and see: Casino gambling, various museums, Hoover Dam, and so on. Nothing like London or New York City. But safer.
Because Vegas is a segregated town. Segregated by the Automobile. Physical distance, the lack of rapid transit, and lack of “walkability” means that poor areas are physically separated from the nice tourist ones. It is possible for the people living in the Vegas ghettos and barrios to walk to say, the Strip. But they’d have to brave the searing desert heat (or chilling cold in the Winter) to do so, and have to walk maybe 12 to 13 miles. That’s work. And the whole point of being a thug is avoiding at all costs, hard work.
I fully expect a number of Broadway shows to simply move to Vegas, and more than a few launch in Vegas to start with. After all, its a business not a charity. Vegas has the customers, the facilities, and a large visitor base already existing, with various thug-related incidents to be sure: mostly related to rapper entourages, but nothing like the free-fire zone of de Blasio’s NYC, which is sure to resemble “Escape from New York,” “Death Wish,” “Taxi Driver,” and “Warriors” all rolled into one non-stop movie in real life.
With Broadway shows sure to move to Vegas, slowly at first, then accelerating, you will see film and TV production move from New York City to Vegas. The New York/New Jersey environment was America’s first film capital, but production moved to Hollywood to escape both brutal winters that hampered filming and Edison’s patent enforcement harassment. As America’s cultural and business capital, however, New York remained a radio, and then TV center of production, with a nice business of New York set movies running throughout the decades.
This nexus of film and TV production depends on the pool of Broadway and off-Broadway actors. The Equalizer, Blue Bloods, Person of Interest, Elementary, Kojack, Law and Orderen, all shot in and around New York City and employed a large number of theater actors. It was not difficult to find victims, witnesses, and villains there, because the pool of professional actors was large and talented. Not the case in say, Toronto, Chicago, Philly, and other places where auditions have to be done far from production, mostly in LA.
As Broadway (and inevitably, off-Broadway) shows move to Vegas, so will the theater workforce. And film and tv production will follow the workforce. This has significant impact on the position of America’s cultural capital. Which depends on being the Los Angeles alternative for TV and Film Production. That’s because Vegas is fundamentally a different city than New York.
New York has always been a water-transport business center, with a centuries old business class that jostles for status and aspires to an aristocratic spirit. First as a port, which remains fairly important for the East Coast, and then as a point for Great Lakes commerce (via the Erie Canal and Hudson River), New York was a shipping town. For a while, also a manufacturing town. But shipping and the related finance functions have dominated New York since the days of the Dutch settlement. And with finance and shipping in particular, comes the pretensions of aristocratic refinement. Museums, opera houses, symphonies, competition among the business elite for the most mannered, refined, elegant possessions, houses, clothes, and accessories make New York a very different place than Vegas.
Vegas is essentially a tourist trap created by the Mob, extended by publicly traded gambling companies, designed to separate as much money from tourists as possible. With a side business in conventions, golf, and other tourism related things, Vegas has very few pretensions and remains at heart a blue collar town. While blue stocking aristocrats in New York City, the kind you might see in HGTV’s “Selling New York” would sneer at white haired old ladies and men in shorts and flip flops feeding quarters into slots, Vegas loves those people. They’re … money on feet. As a mass-market tourist operation for adults, Vegas is at pains to make people comfortable without requiring class markers like formal dress, and high status, just to attend entertainment. Want to see some fabulous magicians with White tigers? Sure, show up in your flip flops. Money is what matters.
Which makes for an interesting contrast. HGTV (used) to show “Selling New York” with ultra rich people buying hideously expensive Manhattan real estate through an orbiting ecosystem of fawning, suck-up women and gays. “Selling LA” showed the West Coast side of the sycophancy and groveling by the shysters out for a big commission. For a while, it was a mainstay for HGTV. [Which seems to have gone downscale for now, offering cheap Canadian content of the Property Brothers and other budget minded shows.] Meanwhile the History Channel, A&E, and the Discovery Channel have a whole Vegas based ecosystem. If its not Pawn Stars, its American Restoration, or Counting Cars, or Flipping Las Vegas, or Selling Las Vegas. All featuring Blue Collar White guys, struggling to make a deal or a flip that makes them a profit.
While the New York based shows emphasized the women and gays fawning over the rich people, the Vegas shows offer Blue Collar White guys with expertise in various areas, struggling to make deals or complete work that will make them a profit. Often, the expertise will be surprising, such as the true market value of a condo, a car, or a piece of Americana. There will be buffoons for comic relief, fake “tension” and such, but generally the blue collar protagonists win or at least avoid a big loss. And their customers are interesting too. Generally older, Blue Collar culture (though not means) White people, they spend often up to $40,000 on cars, or up to $20,000 on various restored items, collectibles, and such.
See, a “Very Vegas Christmas”:
Publishing of course will move to LA. Already much of the profit in publishing comes not from some “Great Literary Novel,” but selling the rights to say, the “Hunger Games” to a major studio, and generating profits off what amounts to a two hour plus commercial for the book. But Publishing will resist moving longer than Broadway, given the institutional inertia. Broadway and film/tv production are ad-hoc affairs, done and then disbanded. Publishing houses last for decades or centuries. But even they are not immune to crime, and publishing has an Achilles Heel. The industry depends on young women.
Most of the readers, assistant editors, junior agents, and the like are young or youngish women. Uniformly White, from an Ivy or near-Ivy college or university, they work for generally peanuts, often receiving parental support, hoping to move up to one of the few higher slots that pays enough to live decently in an expensive city like New York. Publishing and being an agent for writers is “respectable” in a way that say, working in a pawnshop isn’t (unless the young woman gets on TV, then all bets are off). Young women will live three or four to an apartment, and put up with a certain level of crime, to pursue “respectable” careers that give prestige and status, and pursue that elusive higher level Alpha male (a Wall Street Master of the Universe, Publishing/Authorial God, big-time “journalist” etc.) One higher in appeal than just the indie-rocker/addict found in places like Minneapolis.
But young women are sensitive to crime, and will not take risks beyond a certain level. That level can float around, based on the quality of the Alphas, the status offered by working in a position, but ultimately too high a level of crime and violence drives them away.
And it will be interesting to see how Publishing’s foot soldiers react to being in Los Angeles. While New York City has plenty of in-shape women and a modicum of fashion models, there is not the dichotomy of life in LA for women.
On the one hand, LA is filled with women who are about four feet tall and look like a barrel. The influx of Mexicans from places like Chiapas or Michoacan makes LA look very, very Indio. Not the Vincente Fox, six foot five, “Conquistador American” Mexican, but Southern Mexicans with very little European blood. And on the other hand, every would be actress and singer is in LA, frantically watching her weight with aerobics, pilates, yoga, organic seaweed and cucumber diets, competing for the very few openings in movies, tv, and manufactured pop tarts (Britney, Miley, Selena, etc.)
Not to mention that in LA, the Mexican underclass monoculture has eliminated the high/middle brow culture that still exists to a degree in New York City. You can find car shows, tattoo expos, Smiths / Morrissey cover bands (Mexican emo/goth kids love Morrissey for some reason), but not much Opera, Ballet, Symphonies, or high brow theater. Sure the odd “at loose ends” star like Brian Dennehy might do a one man show (otherwise known as a “hire me” public audition) but the odds of say, seeing a Harold Pinter or David Hare play in LA are exceedingly slim. As is finding a good bookstore, or deli, or anything else relating to middle and high brow culture.
For Publishing’s young women, their non-White competition will be non-existent, for the most part, but they will find themselves in shock at how beautiful and in shape the most pretty girls are in the competition for Alpha males. Who are, in many ways, far more Alpha than the biggest Wall Street Master of the Universe. Said Master won’t make the money that even say, a lower level movie star Alpha makes (think Leonardo di Caprio or Shia La Boeuf). Certainly nothing like say, Robert Downey Jr. money. Not to mention white-hot fame. No one asks for the Masters of the Universe autograph, gushes over them in the streets, and begs for a picture. Even some middling Alpha on a pay cable TV show few watch will get that.
The shock will be, women in publishing who help set fiction standards, mores, etc. finding that having the correct Ivy League school counts less than the shape and firmness of their ass, the beauty of their smile, and their ability to improvise and adapt in social situations. Up against the Kristen Bells of say, 2003, beautiful young women who trained their whole lives to act and sing and have the faces and bodies to prove it, the publishing women will have to adapt or fail. The anger, and then the acceptance will be interesting to watch. As will the inter-female class fights between beautiful blue collar women (as actresses, they can’t waste time going to college and not working) and non-beautiful but pretty Ivy League women.
New York City has other industries of course. Fashion, and Finance. Both are already moving out to other places.
Fashion has moved already in part to Miami, and Los Angeles. Warmer climes, a more distributed, reliable network of suppliers, is part of the reason. Design requires prototypes and models, and its easier to shoot in LA or Miami, with more light and better weather. LA in particular has a network of existing, small-run, high cost apparel manufacturers who can take a design and make it into a run of say, 100 dresses, in a very short time. Actual mass market production will remain in China and Bangladesh for the time being of course, chasing cheap labor. But just like young women, the fashion designers and customers are crime sensitive beyond a certain level. It might float around a bit, but too much street crime impacts the ability to get models into fittings, secure fashion shows, and attract celebrities and journalists.
The ability of designers to create ad-hoc security for shows is likely to have them moving out NYC last, but the lure of better weather, and high rollers in Miami and LA is likely to drive at least some of them to lucrative and less competitive markets. The critical part will be the ability of small suppliers to quickly sew together prototypes for fashion shows. Too much crime impacting these suppliers and the fashion people will be forced to move.
And when everyone gets in a car to go places, this makes people behave differently. More individually. More atomized. This is why liberals hate hate hate car-oriented cities. And cars generally. They give too much freedom and autonomy to average people. Even elites who drive cars don’t want to give it up. Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear might be your typical BBC snob, but he loves his cars too much to care about Global Warming and the like. When Live Aid and former Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof complained on Top Gear that Clarkson was not aware enough of the environment, Clarkson replied he was aware of it, he just didn’t care.
Get enough elites in cars, and the average of them will move rightward. Not a lot, but some. And that can make a difference.
Finance of course has already largely moved out to Connecticut already. What remains in New York are colocated data centers offering high speed trades, a few technicians to serve the servers, and a few people to meet with regulators and the like. Pimco, one of the largest bond-funds in the world, is headquartered in Newport Beach, California. Wealth can move anywhere, London, Geneva, and it generally does not like favelas, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero to the contrary. The wealthiest individuals generally move heaven and earth to find safety by … moving. To places like Geneva. Or London’s West End. Or San Francisco. Or Georgetown. You can’t enjoy your status versus the lumpenproletariat when you’re dead. The Wealthy are risk-averse. Pretty much all of the wealthy in Brazil and South Africa fled long ago, those that remain must do so to maintain political log rolling and favor banking and the like. Elon Musk, a South African, does not for example reside there.
Once enough of the wealthy flee New York City, there will be a flood. Since the wealthy are also herd-like in their behavior, and tend to cluster together. Vegas being blue collar is unlikely to be the beneficiary, but the wealthy are global. Expect more luxury condos and houses in London, Geneva, Singapore, and Dubai.
Which brings us to our conclusion. New York City has since arguably, the 1780′s been America’s business and cultural capital. It is the place where publishing, finance, fashion, and good part of the non-LA based movie and television production has been centered. New York and New Yorkers have shaped the American imagination from I Love Lucy, to the Honeymooners, to All in the Family, to Person of Interest and Elementary. New York is where America’s greatest terror attack happened, and where Wall Street ruled. New York is where America’s brightest and most ambitious went, and even Sinatra sang about that.
But clearly the city is dying. It cannot survive another massive crime wave certain to happen as demography overwhelms the city (White flight, and Dominican/Puerto Rican influx). To be America’s business and cultural capital, New York had to remain mostly White. And its not. Hence de Blasio.
Which sets up the battle of the hipsters and car guys. Places like Vegas are dominated by a large group of non-hipsters. Mobsters, corporations, blue collar artisans and dealers (that’s the Vegas ecosystem of the History Channel reality shows), all espousing a more rightward view than the hard core religion of liberalism: PC, “diversity,” “Multiculturalism,” “Global Warming,” and the rest. Hipsters dominate in places like Seattle (home to a real-life Communist City Council member advocating worker take over of Boeing), San Francisco (home to the lower echelons of the tech Oligarchs and court orbiters) and Portland, but those places don’t have the critical mass nor the key industries of fashion, publishing, tv, and movie production to be heavy hitters culturally. They are of interest, and retain the hipster class, but the loss of hipster central in Brooklyn and parts of Manhattan are heavy blows to hipsters and the junior elite class.
America will soon see that pedestrian oriented “creative class” cities don’t work. They fall prey to Black/Hispanic crime waves. And die, for New York a lot more rapidly than Detroit did. While cities like Vegas, which have problems of water resources, over priced bubble real estate, and a Hispanic and Black underclass of its own, has the ability to rise Phoenix like because the car can provide security. In the battle for White America’s cultural sense, I’d bet on the “car guys” of Danny Kroker (the Count of Counting Cars) and the other Vegas artisans and dealers. Not the hipsters. Because people will actually buy the stuff the Vegas guys sell.