Sandy Exposes New York's Increasing Inequality

Extreme events tend to expose the true weaknesses and strengths of a place and its people. In the same way that Sandy revealed the shortcomings in NY's physical infrastructure, it has shown the growing chasm in the city's economic infrastructure.

Few of the New York metro area's 19 million residents have gone untouched by superstorm Sandy, but as David Rohde contends, "[the storm] humbled some more than others in an increasingly economically divided city." In Manhattan, for instance, a decade of increasing disparity between rich and poor has resulted in levels of inequality that "rivals parts of sub-Saharan Africa." 

"Divides between the rich and the poor are nothing new in New York, but the storm brought them vividly to the surface," observes Rohde. "There were residents like me who could invest all of their time and energy into protecting their families. And there were New Yorkers who could not."

"Those with a car could flee. Those with wealth could move into a hotel. Those with steady jobs could decline to come into work. But the city's cooks, doormen, maintenance men, taxi drivers and maids left their loved ones at home."

"The storm affected the affluent as well...But the city's heroes were the tens of thousands of policemen, firefighters, utility workers and paramedics who labored all night for $40,000 to $90,000 a year. And the local politicians who focused on performance, not partisanship, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Newark Mayor Corey Booker."

 

Full Story: The Hideous Inequality Exposed by Hurricane Sandy

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