These recent murders particularly make my blood boil, because they’re clearly the indirect result of an incredibly smarmy Robert Mose-ian plan designed to “clean up New York.” The plan was this: let’s get rid of all the disgusting immigrant, minority, bohemian and working class slobs and replace them with “better” people. Once the icky scum are gone, NYC will be a crime and vice-free utopia to rival that of Japan’s. Hell, it’ll be such a cakewalk keeping the peace that policing will be a matter of just kicking back, standing around in an officious manner and occasionally roughing up a few “hood” teenagers. No need to actively police the city with so many affluent white and foreign national gentrifiers walking around with their Starbucks coffee cups and Whole Foods shopping bags in tow. It’s all good!
It was a plan that seemed bulletproof (no pun intended). And now all of a sudden–after years of urban planners, developers and neoliberal politicians successfully wiping out imagined hives of scum and villainy in NYC–violent crime is skyrocketing. It’s skyrocketed to such an extent that we’ve effectively erased the past 25 years of progress. If things get any worse, NYC will be right back to where it was in the 1970s, except without the cool colorful local characters, distinctive neighborhoods and vibrant cultural scenes that still made living here a badge of honor.
The most ironic thing about this new crime wave is that the grisliest murders seem to be occurring in those very neighborhoods that have been the heaviest hit by gentrification. The worst one–and sounding like something straight out of American Psycho (or Hannibal, for you young ‘uns)–took place last week at a brand spanking new luxury development on The Lower East Side. A 21 year old tech bro casually followed his boss (Fahim Saleh) into an elevator, murdered him under security’s watch, then proceeded to dismember him with a saw before being scared off by a visitor on a welfare check.