Maybe You Are Dead to NYC, James Altucher
I came on strong, James Altucher, I admit it.
I went in hard as I always do when I read something as unfounded and untrue as your flat, one-sided screed which you penned in Miami and were reduced to posting on LinkedIn most likely because no credible publication would byline a $Bitcoin-promoting failed hedge funder moaning from his third home about how he can’t enjoy the theatah anymore so, as far as he’s concerned, the whole city of New York is now over.
And also because you are dead wrong in your assessment of my hometown.
To begin with, your focus is microscopically narrow: you substantiated your theory that everyone is leaving NYC by the witnessed testimony from your limited social circle, including an entertainment executive, a book editor, an investment bank managing director and your only named friend, Derek Halpern, who just might be the entrepreneur who co-founded Truvani.
Perchance not the most diverse group of typical New York City men.
Yet all of you agree from your mutual catbird seat that your former cute and exciting playground is now ruined (“forever!”) so you are now tasked with the endless bore of having to find an alternative location where you may finally enjoy the fun and food and culture which you all have so deservedly earned, you poor little lambs. The rich guys with weird hair have no more use for New York City because, to you and you alone, the city is taking too damn long to get over itself during a pandemic and economic depression and you are not partying like it’s 1999 anymore therefore NYC must be over for everyone else too.
I wonder if any of you even personally know one person who lost their life to covid19. You barely mentioned the pandemic; you seemed more annoyed by the aftermath of George Floyd’s public lynching. If your version of New York City is completely unaffected by a global epidemic and systemic racism, you know as much about a typical NYCer as Jared Kushner does.
Mr. Altucher, I am sure you rarely hear the words “you’re wrong” and “no,” but they still apply here. And I appreciate you may not want to hear anything from a nobody like me, somebody with whom you have already ended contact via social media: but I still like to express myself, just like you do.
I am a handful of years older than you, sir: the first time during our lifetime that New York City was declared dead was in the 1970s. Did NYC die then? You and I both know it did not.
But I mean you were in New Jersey then.
Quite randomly for a “lifelong” New Yorker, you grew up in New Jersey and as someone who actually did grow up in New York City, I disagree with the narrative/hypothesis that a youth spent in the New York suburbs is akin to being in the city: it is not. That experience, your own experience, is adjacent certainly, but not the same thing. And everyone from here, especially our age, knows that.
Your vagueness on Twitter, about having grown up in New Jersey upon which you then confoundedly doubled down, led to you not being fully believable and your argument lost credibility; the whole premise of New York City being dead became less plausible coming from a source like you.
I suspect you have no idea how the other half lives: the people who support your way of life, who clean your dirty streets and deliver your expensive and delicious food. I suspect you have never worried about money in a terrifying 3:47am sleepless sweat; you’ve never contemplated, even casually, taking your own life because it just plain costs too much to be alive and the proceeds from your life insurance policy, if you even have one, could help people you love. You’ve never been enveloped by that horrifying anxiety of acknowledging you are worth more dead than alive. You most likely have never felt that your life is valueless. You don’t know what it is like to judge yourself by the money you struggle every day to make, to maintain, to never thrive, simply because of the opportunities around you and due to the fact that we all live in a culture which uplifts the likes of you, Mr. Altucher, while it blames and shames the likes of the people who help make the most profound comforts in your shining life happen.
It is those people who are the real life of New York: the ones who are now scared to death. The people who have lost loved ones to covid19, the people who will never be able to afford to move, the people who live in a present fear of being evicted, of not having enough food, of having no idea what the next few months may bring to them. Those people are the muscle and bone of this city, where you are the regretted ankle tattoo which is eventually lasered off.
It would be wise, thus, for you to pull a Florida Trump and not come back to New York City. This morning Jerry Seinfeld, whom you drippingly name-drop in your post, roasted you and the comedy club you own which must have hurt but remains nonetheless a consequence of your small mindedness. You may not have the “friends” you thought you did a week ago.
NYC may be dead forever to you but you, in turn, are now forever dead to us. Don’t let the door hit your hair on the way out.