Jerry Seinfeld Defends New York City As Debate On Pandemic Recovery Rages

Comedian wrote that working remotely can’t replace the “energy, attitude and personality” that is “the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place.”

ФОТО: Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld argued in a New York Times opinion piece that New York City, the setting for his eponymous 1990s sitcom, hasn’t died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, attempting to refute a viral thinkpiece published on LinkedIn that argued the city is over, Forbes reports.

Seinfeld, #45 on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 with $51 million in earnings as of June, wrote that working remotely can’t replace the “energy, attitude and personality” that is “the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place.”

In his LinkedIn op-ed, James Altucher, an investor turned financial columnist who frequently takes provocative positions, wrote that New York is “dead forever,” because business, culture and food have been irreparably harmed by the pandemic, including his club.

“The last thing we need in the thick of so many challenges is some putz on LinkedIn wailing and whimpering, ‘Everyone’s gone! I want 2019 back!’” wrote Seinfeld, directly referencing Altucher’s piece.

“Imagine being in a real war with this guy by your side,” Seinfeld wrote, with a bit of instruction: “Wipe your tears, wipe your butt and pull it together.”

“I’m glad @JerrySeinfeld took the time from his compound in the Hamptons to write a piece on me without addressing any of the actual problems NYC faces,” Altucher responded in the first of multiple tweets, adding he was glad he inspired Seinfeld “to finally write new jokes.”

Musician and writer Patti Smith, another iconic New Yorker, told the Wall Street Journal Magazine on Monday that she’s not worried about the city’s future: “I’ll always love New York City. I don’t like how it’s been restructured economically but besides that, I’m more concerned with [the humanitarian crisis in] Yemen than I am New York City.”

“We’re going to keep going with New York City if that’s all right with you. And it will sure as hell be back,” Seinfeld wrote. “Because of all the real, tough New Yorkers who, unlike you, loved it and understood it, stayed and rebuilt it.”

About 420,000. That’s how many New York City residents left between March and May, according to a New York Times analysis. It found that the wealthiest Manhattan neighborhoods (the West Village, SoHo, the Upper East Side and Brooklyn Heights) saw the biggest exodus, with about 40% of residents moving out.

“The crime and chaos in Democrat-run cities have gotten so bad that liberals are even getting out of Manhattan’s Upper West Side,” wrote President Trump and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson in a joint Wall Street Journal op-ed published August 11.

Manhattan commercial real estate developer Don Peebles told CNBC on Friday that the city could take a decade to spring back from the pandemic, but was ultimately optimistic about its chances. National chains in Manhattan have permanently shuttered locations, including J.C. Penney, Kate Spade and bakery Le Pain Quotidien. Ridership (and therefore revenue) on the city’s public transportation has also plummeted as many non-essential workers have yet to return to office buildings. Budgetary woes are further compounded as city employee’s jobs are on the line with a deficit in revenue. Homelessness and violent crime have also risen. Residential realtors are noticing a preference for suburban living as people leave New York and other big cities like Paris and London. Despite these hardships, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio believes in the tenacity of the five boroughs. "If you don't think New York City is coming back then you don't know New York City,” he told reporters Monday.


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