On my recent return trip to New York City, on the surface it still seemed to be the wealthy hipster paradise that Guliani’s war on crime had helped turn it into. And yet there was an undercurrent of uneasiness. Sometimes the danger trajectory wasn’t clear. Other times it was as clear as a young couple providing information to a cop. The city is broken, but the brokenness can sometimes seem intangible.
And that makes it too easy to fall back into the old routines.
Having grown up in a dangerous city, the time came when I still lost basic learned habits like not taking out my wallet outside a store or hiding it with my body if I did, to always pay attention instead of reading or looking at a phone, because New York City had become safe. And on my return trip, my instincts battled with my habits. Nothing was obviously wrong and it would be all too easy to get comfortable in the city again.
Except that can be a big mistake.
Bradley Cooper is opening up about a terrifying experience he endured while out and about in New York City a couple of years ago.
The “A Star is Born” actor recently joined actor Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast and revealed he was once held at knifepoint in October 2019. He was on his way to pick up his daughter Lea, who is now 4, at school.
“I used to walk around New York City all the time with [headphones[ on — this was prepandemic. I was on the subway, 11:45, to pick Lea up downtown at Russian school and I got held up at knifepoint,” Cooper said.
The actor called it “pretty insane” and said he had “gotten way, way too comfortable in the city” before the incident.
“My guard was down,” he stressed.
The doings of movie stars, even though they’re a significant proportion of the population of my old and new cities, don’t concern me much, but the story is revealing of the transition of the city back to its seventies roots. It’s easy to put in the headphones and walk around, surrounded by luxury stores and ads, and assume that it’s safe, but it’s absolutely not.
New York City isn’t safe and won’t be safe again until there’s another war on crime and the criminals are locked up. As long as criminal justice reform reigns supreme in both parties, safety is only an illusion.