Coronavirus in NY: 150 large businesses of ‘massive concern’ over the city’s future

More than 150 powerful business leaders in New York City on Thursday joined together to warn Mayor Bill de Blasio that they needed to take more decisive action to address crime and other quality-of-life issues that they said That were jeopardizing the city’s economic recovery.

The CEOs of companies such as Goldman Sachs, Vornado Realty Trust and JetBlue sent a letter to the mayor making a critical assessment of life in New York City during the epidemic, and having no confidence in the mayor’s ability to correct it Was suggested.

The letter stated that “there was widespread concern over public safety, sanitation and other issues of life that are contributing to the deteriorating conditions in the five boroughs in commercial districts and neighborhoods.”

And if the mayor did not address those issues, business leaders warned that people leaving the city would return due to legitimate concerns over “the safety and legitimacy of our communities”.

The letter, which was sent nearly six months after the outbreak after forcing New York City into lockdown, represented some watershed moment in the horrifying relationship between the business community and Mr. De Blasio, a 2013-elected progressive Democrat. Till was portrayed as a champion of the city’s poor and working class.

Business leaders largely avoided criticizing the mayor and his administration as they fought the outbreak of coronovirus. But schools are about to reopen, and companies are following suit: JPMorgan Chase wants some of its senior executives to return to office from 21 September.

And as the transition continued, officials grew curious about what they saw as the city’s deterioration.

He acknowledged the city’s success in incorporating coronoviruses, but highlighted that “an unprecedented number of New Yorkers are unemployed, facing homelessness, or otherwise at risk.” He offered to help and advise the Mayor on restoring essential services.

The letter could spark a debate over President Trump’s repeated claims that Democratic-run cities have been allowed to “deteriorate in lawless areas” after George Floyd’s protests, and are likely to be cited in Republican messaging Which will last until the November election.

The letter’s political results could also stretch the 2021 mayoral race in New York; Business leaders are not far behind any current candidates.

Mr. de Blasio responded in a conciliatory tone, urging business leaders to work with him, arguing that the city needed federal money and new lending capacity.

“We need these leaders to join the fight to move the city forward,” the mayor said on Twitter.

The letter depicts a split in how people learn of the effects of the outbreak, which has killed more than 20,000 city dwellers and left hundreds of thousands unemployed. While some New Yorkers have left for the suburbs or vacation homes, many who remain have left the problem with the depiction of a city and erupted with clutter.

In fact, signs of normal eating have returned, from outdoor eating to socially disordered gatherings in parks. By the end of the month, personal education will return to public schools and indoor dining. The main reason for the city to start reopening is that the infection rate remains low, with only 1 percent of virus tests coming positive.

“We are grateful for the input of the business community, and we will continue to partner with them to rebuild a better, better city,” Mr. De Blasio spokesman Bill Nidhart said in a statement. “Let’s be clear: We want to restore these services and save jobs, and the most direct way to do this is through long-term lending and a federal incentive. We ask these leaders to join this fight because the stakes are there. Can not be more. “

The De Blasio administration has had to cut services to the city in an effort to close the two-year, $ 9 billion budget gap. In the letter, business leaders did not offer any specific solutions to how it could balance the budget.

Catherine Wylde, president of Partnership for New York City, said in an interview that the letter had been in the works for about a month, as several companies of executives were preparing to bring some workers back to office.

“All these employers are committed to the city, they want to see economic recovery, but they are getting pushback from their employees, will the city be safe, will the city be clean,” Ms. Wield said.

A leader who signed the letter, Scott Reichler, chief executive of RXR Realty, placed the blame on Mr. De Blasio, who is in his second and final term.

“The problem right now is leadership,” Mr. Reichler said in an interview. “We need a strong leader to overcome these problems, to encourage people to feel comfortable coming back to the city.”

Another signatory to the letter, Douglas Durst, president of the Durst Organization, a prominent city landlord, said the city would have to close its budget deficit while maintaining the city’s services.

“It is difficult to bridge this gap, but I think it would be helpful to bring it into the private sector that this is the best approach,” Mr. Durst said in an interview.

Michael Giannaris, a Democratic state senator from Queens, said it was better for business leaders to call for better city services without helping them pay through higher taxes on rich people.

“Where do they think this money comes from?” he said. “If these business leaders are calling for better sanitation, they should know that we have no money.”

Mr. de Blasio has often had a strained relationship with the business community and has repeatedly called for higher taxes on millionaires. Asked about the summer why he did not work more closely with business leaders, Mr. de Blasio quoted Karl Marx and disliked the annual Davos gathering of global parties.

“We will work with the business community, but the city government represents the people – the working people – and the mayor should not be too comfortable with the business community,” Mr. de Blasio said in a radio interview on WNYC said.

Another leader who signed the letter was Barry M., chief executive of Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate firm. Gosin stated that Mr. de Blasio needed to work with business leaders.

“The business community is not an enemy of the people,” he said. “We are the people. We are part of it.

The letter came two days after Mr. de Blasio, reflecting the concerns of Upper West Side residents, announced that he would move hundreds of homeless people from a hotel in the upcoming neighborhood.

On the same day, his own sanitation commissioner, Catherine Garcia, called his cuts in the department’s budget “inconsistent” with his resignation. According to Ms. Garcia, the department has lost about 400 positions.

In recent weeks, real estate executives and corporate leaders have expressed dismay at what they see as increasing levels of dirt and clutter on city streets, particularly in Midtown Manhattan, where tourists and office workers The absence of both has left the streets empty.

While state and city guidelines allow offices to be filled with half-capacity, most buildings are below 10 percent occupancy. Companies do not, for the most part, require workers to return, and some do.

But City Hall is not receptive to the concerns, according to a person with direct knowledge of the discussions, as the de Blasio administration is focused on reopening schools.

The economic crisis resulting from the epidemic has drawn comparisons to the New York City fiscal crisis of 1970 and other difficult chapters in the city’s history.

In response to the letter of the officers, Mr. D. William J., a Commissioner of Police under Blasio. Compared to his former boss Another mayor, David Dinkins, said he had failed to address issues of crime and quality of life in the 1990s.

“Bréon again, all over again,” said Mr. Bratton.

J. David Goodman and Jeffrey C. Mess contributed reporting.