Going back in time and looking to the future

New York is constantly changing.  That is one of the things that I love about this city.  There is always a new restaurant, a new store, a new building and a neighborhood in change.  Nothing really lies dormant in this town.  This city reflects capitalism on many levels.

One thing that I do not want to see go back in time is the explosion of homeless on the streets.  I have begun to see more people hanging out at major intersections knocking on windows begging for cash.  More people sleeping on the sidewalks.  I am waiting for the window cleaners to return.  Those were the people running around at the intersections with cleaning utensils to clean the windows quickly and grab a buck.  It pains me to see these people living on the streets as many of them have mental illnesses or are drug addicts.  Can’t we help these people?

When you fly into NYC from anywhere and land at any of our major airports, it is always shocking how rundown our airports are, just like our subways, in a city that is the epicenter of the world.  Every major industry has a foothold here.  Watching the rise of homeless on the street and seeing the earth be very angry from hurricanes to earthquakes to fires, just makes me feel extremely unsettled and worried about the future.

Today is the holiest day of the Jewish year.  It is the day of atonement, a day to reflect on the past year and think of the year ahead.  We all get a new slate for the year ahead.  We forgive for the past and hope we do better in the future. As I look around the world, I can only believe that perhaps we needed to be here to get somewhere better.   Let’s hope so.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I am hopeful honestly.The depth of ugliness in Trump to me is overshadowed by the transformative possibilities of advances in platforms of tech and science that have the possibilities of rebuilding so much of this crap.But yes, I’m a pragmatist and see the warts that we have to address and fix.We stumble forward in my opinion.

    1. Gotham Gal

      We are certainly stumbling

    2. JLM

      .No homeless during 8 years of Pres Obama. All Trump’s fault.Insightful. One trick pony. Rest the pony, it’s getting tired.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. pointsnfigures

    The amount of homeless on Chicago streets has multiplied a lot over the last 8 years. Used to live in the Loop. Couldn’t take it anymore and they were getting violent.

  3. Pranay Srinivasan

    Yom Tov.

  4. lisa hickey

    I’m beginning to see that we really need to take an intersectional approach to problem-solving. The very way we think about things is so siloed. (Not you, Joanne, society. One of the reasons I love reading this blog is because you do overlap so many seemingly different topics.)We can’t solve the problem of homelessness without solving (or at least starting to solve) the problem of wealth inequality.We can’t solve homelessness without making strides against mental illness.We can’t solve homelessness without re-thinking the war on drugs. We can’t solve homelessness without making our penal system rehabilitative instead of punitive. We can’t solve homelessness without solving veterans issues.We can’t solve homelessness without looking at the role CTE and brain injuries play—not just in football players, but veterans, and people who have been abused or traumatized. We can’t solve homelessness without getting more affordable housing built. We can’t solve homelessness without creating more opportunities for those who are disabled and elederly. We can’t solve homelessness without looking at how to make our towns, cities and communities more sustainable. Create cities where food is grown, infrastructure is being built. Give homeless people who are capable jobs that are working on sustainability. Jobs in exchange for places to live. We don’t need more window washers (wow, what a flashback I just had when you mentioned that). But it’s not like there is a lack of work that needs to be done. Create jobs that help communities, pay more than panhandling, and give people skills and a path forward.The good news is—-we CAN solve all those things. And that is the what our future needs. That is the opportunity—to develop people who can solve multiple problems and the way they intersect.And yes, using tech, computer science, data science and AI will help us build new systems instead of relying old patriarchal systems that have inequality baked right into them.Once we START solving multiple big problems—together, as a system—then all problems will get easier to solve. I am 100% sure of this. We will progress towards a brighter future, not regress towards the past.It can be done.

  5. Erin

    We’re all still hurting from the 2008 crash. At least the economies in central Canada are still recovering and it looks like they’re not bouncing back for a while. But I agree, and I think experiments show that providing free housing for the homeless costs less in the long run.