Third Avenue

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"Third Avenue"

From a New York Times account of the Giuliani campaign’s use of New York City in his rhetoric:

He invokes the Time magazine cover headline in 1990 that most New York City residents would just as soon forget — “The Rotting of the Big Apple.” And Mr. Giuliani recalls the days when, as he remembers them, a New Yorker couldn’t walk up Third Avenue without being on the lookout for muggers, of the blocks of dirty book stores and prostitutes, of public urination and pot-smoking.

I’ve been known to remark on how formerly no-good spots like Avenue B have become hip, but I can’t ever remember a time when 3rd Avenue was particularly dangerous.

More seriously, contemplating the main thing that one might give Giuliani credit for — New York City’s larger-than-average crime drop in the 1990s — just makes you realize that no matter how much credit you think he deserves for it, it has nothing to do with running for president. The president can’t reform local departments’ policing procedures. Meanwhile, crime is down and has lost a lot of salience as a political issue. Bill Bratton, having been fired by Giuliani for getting too much credit for the good job he was doing, seems to be doing a good job in LA. Maybe Rudy should go back to giving speeches, but mix some stuff in about how more cities should use Compstat and put more cops on the beat along with his corporate gigs. But make him president? No way.

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