An actor friend abandoning New York for L.A. offered me his job. I was to deliver bicycle-wheel sized reels of computer tape from one end of Wall Street to the other. These tapes contained that day’s stock market trades or something equally toxic. In 1976, computers were the size of Montana. They generated so much heat they had to be kept in refrigerated rooms behind glass walls and were lovingly tended by white-coated computer technicians. We Untermensch, relegated to the outer-office, pressed our faces against the glass and stared at the large whirling wheels feeling we’d fallen into a James Bond movie and sure we were staring at America’s affluent, computerized future. We shared the legend of the Wall Street office boy who years before had read an investment memo he was delivering which advised – “BUY SHARES OF CONTROL DATA.” He did and made millions by “getting into” computers early.
I was to make one tape-reel delivery a day, five days a week. Just one delivery. Just one problem. That delivery happened in the middle of the night. And, it happened at a different time in the middle of every night. And, with no mobile phone, I had to be chained to my home phone waiting for “the call” all night long.
I visit my hometown a year after 9/11 and find it dusty, deflated and more ascared than ever. Paranoia and para-military security guards are everywhere while humor and spunk are nowhere to be found. I search for New York but it is gone. It is gone because New Yorkers are gone. The city has been stolen from the great people who forged it into the greatest metropolis ever known. But, it isn’t planes flying into unloved skyscrapers that displaces those giants who created the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Metropolitan Opera, Yankee Stadium, Coney Island, the Bronx Zoo, Wall Street, Broadway, the Brooklyn Bridge and Green-Wood Cemetery. No. Their city has been stolen from them by a Left-Right political pincer movement like the one that dumped my insane Aunt Rosa into Times Square.
Here is how that pincer worked – the Left flooded New York with Chinese and Hispanics who became permanent wards of the state and thus Democrat voters while the Right welcomed them as cheap labor. In the 1960s, the factory owners tried to pay their White union-workers coolie and peon wages. The Whites resisted, the factories closed and neighborhoods died. The imported Chinese and Hispanics poured into those formerly union factories that had reopened as sweatshops and they worked there for coolie and peon wages. Simple. Clever. Lethal. Just as predicted to me on the stoop.