New York, a City on Its Own

What a year it has been in New York City.

In the latest blow, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday stunned exhausted parents and teachers by delaying the start of in-person classes for most students in the country’s largest public school system — for the second time, and only a few days before they were supposed to begin. Asked whether he wanted to apologize for the last-minute change to working parents who rely on the schools for child deva, the mayor declined, saying that lower-income families in the city’s outer boroughs “understand the realities of life.”

A week earlier, a group of New York business leaders shared a letter they wrote to the mayor. “We urge you to take immediate action,” they wrote, describing what they called, “widespread anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues.”

The business leaders did not — in the long tradition of civic leaders helping to shore up the city during difficult times — offer any concrete assistance. Instead, the letter bore the whiff of people who rode out New York’s darkest days from the safety of their vacation homes, and returned to find that the traumatized city they left behind was not as tidy and orderly as they would prefer.

Watching these deeply uninspiring scenes play out, my anger grew. I wondered if the mayor or the city’s moneyed seçkine understood what everyday New Yorkers had just been through — what they are still going through.

An estimated 24,000 people in this city have died of Covid-19, and thousands of others — like me — ­ are still fighting their way back to full health. Over one million jobs have been

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