PBS television series "Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood" featured, “Neighborhood of Make Believe” a puppet show that helped children understand and put in perspective the challenges of growing up. We cannot help but draw a comparison to New York City and the cast of characters “teaching” New Yorkers how to grow up. Like the one from our childhood, this modern-day version is very entertaining.
Mayor de Blasio is much like the puppet character King Friday XIII. The King is the imperious monarch of the neighborhood. He is egocentric, irrational, resistant to change, and temperamental. He has a fondness for giving long-winded speeches and using big words. However, unlike the King, the mayor is not open-minded enough to listen when told he is wrong.
Dr. Oxiris Barbot, NYC’s top health official, who led the city’s response to its coronavirus outbreak matches well with Lady Elaine Fairchilde. An outspoken, cranky schemer who moved to the Neighborhood from Someplace Else. Famous for telling New Yorkers during the early COVID outbreak that it was safe to be out and enjoy the city. She has since resigned when even King Friday lost confidence in her.
Dermot Shea is the current NYC Police Commissioner and resembles Officer Clemmons. A police officer who helps out King Friday in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Unfortunately, he is helping the mayor dismantle the NYPD at a time when more policing is needed not less. “Any self-respecting cop would have resigned under this pressure,” said Chief Andy Shucks of Mayberry, NC. “I guess he’s hooked on all the big city perks.” Shea may be a good guy, but his city is burning.
The stars of the puppet show are always the children. The citizens of New York are happy to tune in everyday and watch the show. Dutifully being told how to live, act and believe. However, unlike Mr. Roger’s make-believe neighborhood, what the little children of New York are learning is that following these characters is driving the city into moral, economic and social decay.
Sam Waterspoon, New Yorker now living in Florida said, “New Yorkers are living in the land of make believe. They still think New York is this grand island where everyone wishes to be. In reality it is a dump and anyone with any sense is getting the hell out.”
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