Friendly Fire at NYT: NYC’s Rich COVID Deserters Aren’t Welcome Back

April 16th, 2021 10:42 PM

Stay away from New York City, men in suits and “plutocrats of Park Avenue!” The New York Times doesn’t want you back in town. That was the message on the front of the Thursday Styles section in “Hisses for the Rich Who Fled – As the pandemic eases and wealthy New Yorkers return, they may face resentment.”

The 2,000-word rant was penned by Jacob Bernstein, son of Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein and his second wife, journalist and screenwriter, Nora Ephron. In other works, the culturally plugged-in Bernstein found an impressive bunch of likeminded individuals to trash their fellow elitists.

While Luke Winkie’s mean-spirited Times essay in March seemed tongue in cheek, Bernstein's wasn't and gave off an ethnocentric, we-don’t want your-kind energy as even a picture caption targeted a specific group: “Men in suits on New York City’s streets again: an unwelcome sight for some.”

Bernstein found proudly contemptuous lefties, seemingly unaware that the culture mecca of the country isn’t funded on drag queens and BLM activists, but on revenues generated by the Wall Street types they openly loathe (click “expand”):

Even without final data from New York City about how many people remained in the city during the pandemic, an abundance of anecdotal evidence exists about the exodus of its wealthiest residents.

At the writer Molly Jong-Fast’s Upper East Side apartment building, less than half a dozen of the 47 units were occupied in April 2020, she said. Mark Armstrong Peddigrew, a personal trainer in Lower Manhattan, said that roughly 85 percent of his clients left town.

At Loaves & Fishes Foodstore, a grocer in the Hamptons where lobster salad costs more than $100 a pound, there were 30-minute lines on Thursday mornings during the off season.

Now, as the rate of vaccinations increases, the blooming bulbs around the city feel like a metaphor for more than just spring.

(Molly Jong-Fast is the left-wing pundit and daughter of feminist author Molly Jong and granddaughter of novelist/communist Howard Fast.)

With the city finally starting to reopen, The Times has decided it’s time to settle ideological scores -- not between the haves and have nots, but between the city leavers and those who stayed.

Many of Bernstein’s respondents used the pandemic abandonment as an excuse to express hostility toward the people who actually pay an oversized share of the city’s bills through taxes: Bar owner James Dorje Halpern “took great joy in seeing fewer Wall Street types and so-called digital nomads, the sort who’d worked near the meatless meatpacking district for Google or similar.”

Another reliable liberal provided an ideological angle (emphasis mine):

For Faye Wattleton, the former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, one of the biggest was watching people of all shades and stripes take to the streets in droves, having finally woken up to the horrors of police brutality that had been known to her and so many other Black people for centuries.

The horror of abortion went unmentioned.

Bernstein piled on more sneering contempt for the rich, who apparently weren’t welcome (an odd stance for a liberal newspaper with a wealthy city subscriber base): “The plutocrats of Park Avenue were already receiving pleas in Palm Beach, Aspen and elsewhere to go back whence they came.”

Bernstein did allow an actual conservative policymaker to advance an argument, and didn’t even give him a hostile label:

Eric Kober, 66, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who specializes in housing policy, said that without the taxes from the rich, the city would likely have to slash social programs and lay off thousands of employees. That, he noted, was what happened in the 1970s, when the city faced a financial crisis and the population dwindled.

But he quickly neutralized that feint toward balance with the “former managing director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network” to provide him with this gripe: “In order to dismantle oppressive, exclusive systems, we require the participation of those who have traditionally benefited from the most oppressive practices.”