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One thing about having a billionaire mayor: When the city cuts back, people are less inclined to say, “My, New York’s going down the drain” than they would if, say, Abe Beame were in charge.
And so we expect it will be with this: Mayor Bloomberg suggested today that New York may cut back on street fairs. On his radio show he cited the fairs’ disruptions of traffic (not an issue at Times Square, we guess) and the drain on local businesses’ sales (though we haven’t noticed many funnel cake and roasted corn stores around here) before getting to the nut: “It just may be something we can’t afford.”
The city gets about $1.6 from fair proprietors each year, but the estimated cost of police overtime to guard the fairs is about $4 million. Maybe the fairs can hire carnival roustabouts to police the events.
The Mayor had criticized street fairs in 2008, mostly on justifiable aesthetic grounds (“They’re supposed to do unique things. [But] They’re all the same”). Now that money is a more pressing issue, adjustment of the civic belt is indicated.
New York just scaled back on its parades to save money, as well on arts programs, library hours, and other services. Refresh our memory: Why was it so important to overturn term limits to make Bloomberg mayor again? Oh, right: He’s a “businessman with expertise in business and finance.”