Even jaded New Yorkers who wouldn’t attend a parade on a dare were a little bummed when NYPD announced it was scaling back the big city parades, requiring their routes and running times be shortened by 25 percent to save money for the cash-strapped department (“You don’t want to cut into crime suppression any more than you have to” for these frivolities, says the Deputy Commissioner.)
Or were they? The Times wistfully wonders, “Can Downsizing Parades Make New York Less New York?” but mostly interviews people who think the parades are a pain in the ass and good riddance. (Public Advocate Bill DiBlasio says he’s “marched in many parades” and approves the cuts, probably thinking of his aching dogs each election year.)
Being old and cranky, we think it sucks that yet another great free city tradition — like the public libraries hours scaled back earlier this month — has been hit with the fiscal ax, when more expensive traditions like the ticket blitz are maintained.
And we aren’t missing the animus toward public assembly, as with the ridiculous parade rule created to kill the Critical Mass bike rides, etc.
But one old New York tradition seems to be hanging in: Working the system to favor one’s clan.
The rules don’t go into effect until April 1 — meaning they don’t apply to the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parade. Though times are changing, we expect there are still plenty of Flahertys, Brennans and O’Somethings on the Force, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Commissioner Ray Kelly were giving his fellow Hibernians the wink with this scheduling (of course, it’s hard to tell whether Kelly is or isn’t winking, but we speak figuratively).
So what if, in a few years, the parades will all be virtual, experienced by most of us in the solitude of our living-stalls via direct digital feed? At least for the time being, our tendency toward petty corruption remains intact.