Monday, August 24, 2020

Seinfeld to "Putz" Altucher: New York City Is Not Dead

Jerry Seinfeld

The New York Times has just published an impassioned essay by comedian Jerry Seinfeld where he responds to the claim by James Altucher that New York City is dead forever.

Seinfeld doesn't mention Altucher by name but it is clear who he is referring to:
 The last thing we need in the thick of so many challenges is some putz on LinkedIn wailing and whimpering, “Everyone’s gone! I want 2019 back!”

Oh, shut up. Imagine being in a real war with this guy by your side.

Listening to him go, “I used to play chess all day. I could meet people. I could start any type of business.” Wipe your tears, wipe your butt and pull it together.
He says Everyone’s gone for good. How the hell do you know that? You moved to Miami.
And I have been onstage at your comedy club Stand Up N.Y. quite a few times. It could use a little sprucing up, if you don’t mind my saying. I wouldn’t worry about it. You can do it from Miami.
 Seinfeld's claim is that the Big Apple is far from dead:
You say New York will not bounce back this time.

You will not bounce back. In your enervated, pastel-filled new life in Florida. I hope you have a long, healthy run down there. I can’t think of a more fitting retribution for your fine article.

This stupid virus will give up eventually. The same way you have.

We’re going to keep going with New York City if that’s all right with you. And it will sure as hell be back.

Because of all the real, tough New Yorkers who, unlike you, loved it and understood it, stayed and rebuilt it.
While Seinfeld's commentary is filled with, in your face, New York City passion, it is short on data.

I would like to know how many people are leaving the city that sleeps all day and night (excerpt for the useful idiot protesters) with de Blasio in charge. Judging by collapsing rents, it is not an insignificant number. Market prices don't lie.

That said, Seinfeld does make one very important point:
Energy, attitude and personality cannot be “remoted” through even the best fiber optic lines. That’s the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place...greatness is rare. And the true greatness that is New York City is beyond rare.
I pointed this out in my introduction to the Altucher piece:
[T]here is a reason to live in a great city that has nothing to do with day to day work obligations.
It is being at the epicenter of greatness at your doorstep. The great theatre, restaurants, lectures and debates, and a thousand other things all take place in different corners of great cities. The greatest pencil store in the world is in New York City.
Many of these in-person experiences can not occur except in great cities.
So the question remains as I put it in that introduction:
Do these cities come back or are they doomed to become different versions of  Detroit at its lowest point?
Remember if the tax base flees these cities, and the base appears to be fleeing, these cities are going to have serious problems. This is what central planning, always a blunt instrument, is best at---destroying life, vibrancy and greatness.
But Jerry, it is not about the virus. The virus is just one excuse used to extend oppression. There is a tremendous amount of greatness and energy in New York City but it can be destroyed by socialist planning. The current mayor does use the blunt instrument destroyer socialism at every opportunity.

New York City is not dead but it is on life support. The greatness of the people of the city needs to be unleashed with less taxes, less business regulation and a police force that is focused on protecting private property so that it can recover from the oppression of Soviet-style thinking and management of de Blasio.

If this occurs the greatness will return as Seinfeld foresees. If it doesn't, the collapse that Altucher foresees will be the fate of the city.

An excellent start would be to end all parts of the current lockdown since the lockdown is positively bizarre given that all indications are that it is of no serious harm to youth and those of working age that are infected. It is a 21st Century absurd duck and cover government program being played on us all including on the adults who were part, as children, of the original absurd duck and cover.



  1. I'm tired of New Yorkers claiming to be "New York tough" etc. As far as I'm concerned, they're all wusses, meekly submitting to arbitrary and capricious edicts from Cuomo and de Blasio. Real toughness would be standing up to these edicts, and continuing on with living and making a living, including taking the risk that your fellow man is not a walking biohazard. Everyone wearing a mask on the streets of New York might as well be plugged into the Matrix. Give me Morpheus, Trinity, and Neo any time.

  2. RW, great observations about Seinfeld's comments. He's no George Carlin. And many thanks for posting the video on Duck and Cover. I had forgotten about that hysterical episode but now recall being instructed as a 7 or 8 year-old to crouch under my desk as if that would save me from Atomic bombs. And the fear mongering message that this constant concern about being bombed was the "new normal." Many actually built bomb shelters in their back yards. Fortunately for me my father decided a large swimming pool would be a better addition. The Duck and Cover episode helps me put our current hysteria into perspective. Fear mongering seems always present and occasionally reaches such a feverish pitch that many lose their sense of reality. Their ability for rational thought loses to their raw emotionality and it takes time to come to their senses.

  3. New York will suffer the socialist apocalypse just like all the other blue cities trying to live like a commune.

  4. I think Jerry is overly sanguine on this I know a New Yorker who lived through the default of the 70s and De Blasio today and he said it's way different this time. Movers in NYC are so busy they are turning people away cause they can't keep up with the demand of people wanting to leave. And it isn't leaving for the burbs either it's to places like Texas, Florida, North Carolina etc

  5. I liked the Seinfeld piece. Altucher likes to use hyperbole (remember when he predicted that bitcoin was going to reach a million dollars?) and it gets him attention. He got so much attention this time that Seinfeld is taking well-deserved shots at him now.

    New York will come back, and some sagacious businessmen will make an absolute killing on real estate in the process.

  6. What's different this time is that technology makes NYC cost ineffective. For that reason James A. is more right than wrong.