Jerry Seinfeld is defending New York against the writer of a recent viral article who proclaimed that “NYC is dead forever.” Seinfeld hit back in a
New York Times op-ed of his own, saying that the city is experiencing “one of the toughest times” in recent memory but will surely bounce back.
“We’re going to keep going with New York City if that’s all right with you,” Seinfeld wrote. “And it will sure as hell be back. Because of all the real, tough New Yorkers who, unlike you, loved it and understood it, stayed and rebuilt it.”
James Altucher, a former hedge fund manager and comedy club owner, wrote in a self-published
essay that he and his family fled the city during the Black Lives Matter riots.
“Nothing was wrong with the protests, but I was a little nervous when I saw videos of rioters after curfew trying to break into my building,” he wrote. “Many people left temporarily but there were also people leaving permanently.”
Altucher argued that New York’s demise is a result of business and cultural factors. “Businesses are remote, and they aren’t returning to the office. And it’s a death spiral: The longer offices remain empty, the longer they will remain empty,” he wrote.
He noted that the city’s cultural institutions — a major draw for both residents and tourists — will remain closed until at least 2021. Many restaurants and bars are also facing uncertain futures.
But the most important factor is high-speed Internet bandwidth. “People have left New York City and have moved completely into virtual worlds. The Time-Life building doesn’t
needto fill up again. Wall Street can now stretch across every street instead of just being one building in Manhattan,” he wrote.
Jerry Seinfeld hit back, saying that remote working is no substitute for the Big Apple’s vibrancy. He also called Altucher a “putz.”
“Energy, attitude and personality cannot be ‘remoted’ through even the best fiber optic lines. That’s the whole reason many of us moved to New York in the first place.”
Altucher replied to Seinfeld’s article, saying he was glad the comedian “took the time from his compound in the Hamptons to write a piece on me without addressing any of the actual problems NYC faces.”
Times op-ed has received blowback on Twitter, with people noting that only wealthy people like Seinfeld are in a position to stick it out in New York.
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