Emperor Obama? You Must Be Kidding

With President Obama set to take executive action extending temporary legal status to many undocumented immigrants, the right-wing punditocracy is already howling: Impeachment now! Charles Krauthammer (re)started the ball rolling last week, intoning “I believe this is an impeachable offense.” The use of prosecutorial discretion on immigration, he originally charged two years ago, threatens to install an “imperial presidency” that would be guilty of “impermissibly undermining federal law.” He was joined in this assessment on Sunday by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat — who, infuriated by Obama’s edict, warned him to retract it or face “the accompanying disgrace.” Douthat Read More

Our LaGuardia

How the mighty have fallen. New York voters demonstrated clearly on Election Day that they want to move the city in a new direction. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s assertion that the disparities of wealth in this city were out of hand proved more potent than any of the experts expected as New Yorkers made plain that they were ready for a new direction. Even while he’s still in office, Mayor Bloomberg’s power and influence seems to be dissolving, along with some of his most beloved policy initiatives and ideas — stop-and-frisk, a massive development plan for Midtown East, letter grades for public Read More

The Weak Liberal Mayor Myth

Joe Lhota is brandishing his great coup over Bill de Blasio: that Gov. Cuomo told the Daily News that de Blasio’s promise to pay for universal pre-k by raising the state income tax on the very wealthiest is all but dead on arrival in Albany. Take that! Perhaps Lhota, in his first run for office and down 40-plus points, doesn’t care about how a symbolic gesture works in politics. Or perhaps he simply doesn’t know. Yes, Cuomo is happy to knife a fellow Democrat to position himself as a “moderate” for a White House run. The governor conjured up a Read More

Why We Own Them, On Super Bowl Sunday and Every Day

Ask the average New Yorker why we built a fortified wall along Wall St. back in 1653, and he’ll tell you it must have been to keep out the Indians. Wrong. What the Dutch burghers of old New Amsterdam were really worried about was Puritans marching down from Massachusetts and taking the town. It didn’t happen — and since that time, frankly, we’ve barely bothered to think about New England at all. Today, of course, we will have no choice but think about New England, as the Giants take on the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Though Vegas bookies have Read More

Evacuation Day: A Celebration of New York and American Independence

All day long they marched down the length of Manhattan, 800 soldiers and cavalry of the Continental Army, behind Gen. George Washington. The British army was abandoning its forts, the two old enemies keeping an hour’s march between each other as they proceeded. The Americans stopped at the Blue Bell Tavern, at what is now 181st St. and Broadway, once a hotbed of patriotic sentiment, where the head of King George III’s statue was stuck on a post in the first days of liberty. They marched through McGowan’s Pass, along what is now Central Park’s East Drive at about 102nd St., then Read More

The Freedom New York City Celebrates on the Fourth of July Was Hard-Won

The first Fourth of July, New Yorkers spent the day cutting down trees and fleeing for their lives. Five days before, the largest naval flotilla anyone had seen began to sail into New York Harbor – some 100 British warships, carrying 9,000 troops. “I could not believe my eyes,” recalled a Continental Army private stationed in Brooklyn. “I thought all London was afloat.” A terrible battle was about to begin. The British had decided that taking New York was the key to crushing the nascent rebellion. This was no surprise, for not only was the city in a critical geographic location, but New Yorkers had never much liked to bend Read More