Friday, October 2, 2015

In Praise Of New York

     Quite a few bloggers on the Right have made it part of their habits to slag off the coastal states where left-liberalism holds political sway. Prominent among their targets are California – “the land of fruits and nuts,” as a former supervisor liked to say – and New York, which Akaky Akakyevich Bashmachkin, he of the Passing Parade, has rebaptized “The Vampire State.”

     You know, we do have our problems here. It’s an expensive place to live, the taxes and regulations are just about the worst in the country, the political elite wets its pants at the very thought of privately owned firearms, traffic in the Metro area is intolerable, and several other items of note have drawn the legitimate derision of commentators across the land. But we have more than a few things to be proud of – things that have kept me in New York for sixty-three years, and like as not until the grave should receive my remains.

  • New York is the financial and media capital of the world;
  • We have a vibrant, arguably world-stature fashion industry;
  • We have lots of expertise in commercial data processing;
  • New York is home to the very best providers of professional services;
  • The state is beautiful in many different ways: its mountains, its forests, its rivers, its fall foliage, and its several parks;
  • New York is now the number-one wine-producing state in the country;
  • New York wines are now regarded as among the best made anywhere;
  • Long Island beaches are incomparably beautiful;
  • New York City still has the best harbors in America.

     Quite a list of assets for a modest sized Atlantic Seaboard state, eh? Especially one that my Rightist brethren are so eager to run down. Oh, I almost forgot: New York also lays claim to the most intriguing fictional landscape in America: Onteora County. And as if that weren’t sufficient, there’s New York’s foremost literary figure, beyond all question the finest storyteller and prose stylist writing in English today, who’s also the most prolific writer currently gracing the pixels of the World Wide Web: your humble Curmudgeon.

     (No, please, don’t applaud. Just throw money. I’ll accept it.)

     So it grieves me mightily to encounter something like the following:

     To be honest, I'm really glad it's [Hurricane Joaquin] not looking it's going to hit New York or New Jersey. Those folks were insufferable after Sandy...

     I’m not going to link to the maker of that statement. Suffice it to say that I hope he enjoys his little backwater, wherever it happens to be, quite as much as I enjoy New York. That having been said, he can go to Hell. New Yorkers don’t need his approval.

     I’ll tell you what we do need: Republican conservatives. GOP politicians who walk it like they talk it. Our political elite is, quite frankly, composed of liars, thieves, and cowards. But that shouldn’t be a reflection on the common folk of New York, 98% of whom, upon seeing that you were in need, would give you the clothes off their backs.

     I’ve been advised to move out of New York, and I’ve contemplated it more than once. Other parts of the country are warmer, drier, less hagridden by welfare-state programs and their cost, and are friendlier to firearms and conservative convictions. All well and good. But they aren’t New York. They don’t have our conveniences, our facilities, our beauties, our up-and-at-‘em work ethic, or our generally good humored “we’ll pick ourselves up by our own goddamn bootstraps” response to calamity. And they don’t – and won’t – have me.

     The C.S.O. and I have been over this together. Yes, we agreed that this locale is expensive and has its trying aspects. But we have a saying around here: You get what you pay for. And we’ve decided that as long as our money holds out, so will we.

     I maundered over it for a while. I’d like to leave a substantial monetary legacy to my stepdaughters and my parish. The C.S.O. pointed out that:

  • Even though I’ve retired, we’re still ahead of our bills (though she promised that she would “fix that”);
  • The parish is already doing more than a Catholic parish really should, and that I’ve said so myself;
  • Our kids can make their own BLEEP!ing fortunes. Anyway, they’re doing better than we did when we were their ages.

     “So why not stay here, in the neighborhood we know and love, and let them get by on their own?” she said.

     Upon that, I conceded the field.

     Anyway, if you don’t like New York, fine. Don’t move here. We’ll do just fine without your “contributions.” We won’t feel the lack, and you probably couldn’t afford it here anyway.