[See Katie Hopkins’ exclusive video report on Apartheid NYC right below this article.]
I’m not quite sure how I thought this trip to New York City would work out. I kind of figured the crazy new rules regarding vaccination passes didn’t apply to me, or somehow that reality would be different to the headlines — stating that you needed to be vaccinated to go into bars, restaurants, and hotels in the city that never sleeps. I have faith in humanity and no fear. I couldn’t believe for a moment this place I used to call home would actually be enforcing the rules fabricated by de Blasio and the drug-pushers in power.
But I was wrong.
Every hotel, bar, and business is pushing this vaccination apartheid. There are signs on every doorway, and just in case you missed those, there are more signs at eye height in the foyers. You may only be inside, sit inside, or dine inside if you are double-jabbed and have a vaccination card and ID to prove it.
Even in the dodgy backstreet Thai kitchens of 9th street where you can reliably get a Pad Thai for $5 are checking papers and policing documents, fearful of being caught by inspectors and closed down.
Wooden shelters and fabricated huts are hastily thrown up onto the sidewalks outside these places — crashing into the gutter alongside the trash and the parked cars. Restaurant owners are scrambling to create some kind of outdoor alternative for the unclean and non-compliant who have failed to get their jabs and are excluded from the privileges accorded to the rest.
I plonk myself down outside the Midtown Bar and Grill and order a large glass of Merlot to try and calm myself from the rage I feel.
I am beyond angry that politicians have been able to exert this power level on the people they are supposed to serve. I am raging for these businesses that have been compelled to post these signs at their doors after two brutal years of lockdowns and staff shortages.
But mostly, I want to scream at the legion of smug diners sitting inside these places. Apparently, they see no problem at all with having to show their papers to eat in a restaurant. They’ve had the jab, and now, they are reaping the benefits, perfectly content that others are excluded because of the personal choices they make.
I ask the waitress how the bathroom situation works. Are the people outside allowed to use a bathroom? Are the unclean masses still allowed the privilege of taking a private pee?
She tells me we are. The unvaccinated are allowed to use the facilities as long as they wear a mask. And I watch her telling me these rules as if they make sense, and I politely nod along as she speaks with a smile behind her eyes, encouraging me to understand.
I understand perfectly well. It makes zero sense for the unvaccinated to walk past the vaccinated and share bathroom facilities but be excluded from eating together, but you cannot rationalize with the irrational. It is a fool’s errand, and it is certainly not her fault.
I wander away from restaurants, past bars segregated by vaccine status and theaters, where performances may only be enjoyed by the injected, and I am still preferring the belief that this is all a dream, and any moment now, I am going to wake up and feel better.
But I don’t.
The city is divided. And yet, because it’s not about race or color, somehow, no one seems to care. Apartheid is acceptable here — as long as it’s about medical choice or lack thereof. But the signs of yester-year are clearly back: no Blacks, no Irish, no dogs. Except, this time, it’s the non-compliant who are unwanted, and as winter draws in, they will truly feel the effects of being left out in the cold.
78% of young black New Yorkers have resisted the vaccine. Wealthy white Upper East Side types have taken it, and the young white professional couples with two incomes and cash to spare. Spend a moment here on the sidewalk in the city, and you quickly see how unpleasant this all starts to look.
It’s only when I am back amongst the crowds and the chaos of Times Square that my world seems to right itself again. Here, young stunt riders show off their skills to the crowds, dangling and occasionally falling from their bikes. Two women dressed in the briefest of briefs with I ️LOVE NYC on their buttocks draw the attention of every young man in sight. Superman, Minnie Mouse, and the Incredible Hulk are hard at work taking pictures.
The last time I was here, as the city was shuttered in March 2021, this place was deserted. I was the last man standing in this bonkers city. And it is just magical to see it filled to overflowing once more. The familiar smells of pretzels, old urine, and pizza are all about, and it is comforting to be amongst the stickiness of a thousand strangers.
I feel much more at home here. This place is the opposite of segregated. It is humanity, smeared up against each other, sense overloaded, and buzzing from it all. This is how life should be.
Apartheid NYC is not the place for me.
KATIE HOPKINS: EXCLUSIVE FULL VIDEO REPORT: