One of the first things that you'll notice walking around Bill de Blasio's New York City is the massive quantity of large piles of trash literally all over the city. (PHOTO: Reddit)
This is an excerpt from Andrew Powell's first book '2020: A Year So Wild I Had To Write a Book About It' which is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2021
BILL DE BLASIO RUINED NEW YORK CITY
The kids were left with my mom while my fiancée and I caught a train from Lewistown, Pennsylvania to New York City, where we had planned to stay for a few days before catching a flight to Miami.
On the train ride before we got to NYC, we went through Philadelphia, and it verified even more what I already knew: That is one dirty ass city. The railroad had actually gone through the ghetto too, and there was literally trash everywhere and you could see the filth of a rotting Philly. I've personally never liked Philadelphia, and this is exactly why. At least they had a cool mural of Will Smith though that we had seen when we passed through. Yeah, that's about all I got for Philadelphia.
When we got to New York, you could immediately feel the tension in that city, literally as soon as we walked off the train – just a few days prior, that's when the riots had happened in the city, so we were coming in fresh off of violent social unrest.
And then we walked up the stairs from the train station to actually go into the city, smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, and it was clear from the get-go: Mayor Bill de Blasio ruined New York City.
As soon as we walked up the stairs, we saw people left and right doing drugs, multiple drug deals taking place. It was all over the street. What made it even worse was that the area of Manhattan had a solid amount of police presence, and they did absolutely nothing about it. It was unbelievable. You had drug deals and drug use right in front of officers, and nothing was done. But hey, that's just another example of the poor leadership of de Blasio. He's clearly not letting the police do their job.
One night, we decided to take a walk around Midtown Manhattan and Times Square, and the horrendous guidance of de Blasio struck again. This time, it would be in the form of garbage, rats and cockroaches everywhere. Now I understand that New York City has always had rats and cockroaches, I get that, but I'm sure at least the population could go down drastically if they would pick up the garbage bags riddled all over.
And I'm being serious, there were literally large piles of garbage bags all over the city of New York. It was disgusting, it was filthy and as I probably annoyed my fiancée repeating it so much: "This is what happens when you vote for Democrats."
It was absolutely dirty. I love New York City, but there's definitely some problems that could be cleaned up – literally. I would start with the obvious first one: Vote Republican.
When Rudy Giuliani – the NYC mayor from 1994-2001 and now lawyer of President Donald J. Trump – was in office, he rebuilt the glory of New York City. He cleaned up the city from crime, you had the Times Square redevelopment program that turned that area into the flash that it is today (and it is still flash for the most part), Giuliani turned a $2.3 billion deficit into a $3 billion surplus, he increased health care for low-income families, cleaned up the homelessness throughout the city and the list goes on and on and on.
It was a very successful mayoralty for Rudy Giuliani, and it's exactly why New York City needs to start voting for Republicans again. I mean seriously, New York, haven't you had enough of Bill de Blasio and his Democratic policies that are completely destroying your town?
Lower Manhattan cityscape. Chinatown in foreground and Wall Street in the background. (PHOTO: FilippoBacci/iStock/Getty)
Vote Republican in 2021, New York City. Save yourself.
Walking through Manhattan and Times Square at night was one hell of an experience, especially because of the BLM tension being sky-high and the fact that New York has become tainted. Despite that, however, we didn't have any problems whatsoever, mainly because there were NYPD officers everywhere you looked – this was before the budget cuts.
We were pretty safe for the most part, but boy, you could definitely feel the tension. We did have one minor issue with a homeless man who was asking me for money to eat. Well, I just assume that he’s homeless walking around looking for money at two o'clock in the morning, but who knows.
His story was that he’s from Myrtle Beach and got stuck in New York City because of the COVID-19 pandemic – like, how does that even make sense?
Anyways, he precedes to tell me that he needs money for food. Earlier, my fiancée and I went to Subway and got something to eat. I ate my sub, while my fiancée hadn't touched hers and wanted to wait until we got to the hotel to eat. So instead of giving him money, I offered him the sub. After all, his claim was that he was hungry.
But he wasn't happy with that, which automatically told me that he was just after money, and honestly, that's just not my style. (I'm not a fan of a welfare state, nor handouts.) After debating with him for a good two minutes, he finally takes the sub and walks off.
Yes, my fiancée was disappointed that she lost her sub, to answer that question, but she was with me in using the sub to bait him into going away.
Our biggest issue (though more of a funny story now) with a New Yorker was, of course, marijuana related. As we all know, marijuana is illegal for recreational purposes in the state of New York, so if we wanted to find any weed, we were going to have to unfortunately do it via the street.
What can I say?
My fiancée and I love our marijuana. It's just a part of our process.
So being in New York City, there were three things that I thought could happen here:
It's New York City and the street was riddled with drugs, so weed shouldn't be hard to find at all, especially in the middle of Times Square – and especially because the city is popular for a marijuana strain called NYC Diesel (see description below), which is also labeled as Soma Sour Diesel.
New York City and its grittiness has a reputation of being a city of hustlers, and that could have played out for us as well, especially with it being 2:00-3:00 in the morning when this was going on. The risk of being "hustled" was high, meaning we could have gotten ripped off by a dealer.
We could have gotten robbed altogether, God forbid something worse happening.
Bred by Soma Sacred Seeds, NYC Diesel (or Soma Sour Diesel) is a 60% sativa-dominant cross between Mexican and Afghani landraces. This strain provides strong cerebral effects that ease into a deep, full-body relaxation over time. A pungent lime and grapefruitaroma is the mark of a high quality batch, like those that won this strain five Cannabis Cup trophies in the early 2000s. NYC Diesel’s happy, talkative qualities make this hybrid a good choice for social activities and many anxiety-prone consumers praise it for its paranoia-free effects.
Looking for marijuana in New York City, that late, with police all around, with the tension incredibly sky-high, it was quite a risky thing to do – and honestly, quite stupid now that I think about it. But hey, we wanted to get high in the Big Apple, I'm not going to lie. And that's exactly what we aimed to do.
With it being New York though, we knew our limits, and we had a very simple strategy to ensure our safety, make sure enough police were around, as well as putting us in a good area to get pot: Just stay posted up in Times Square and let the dealer come to us. About 30 minutes into the experiment, and that's exactly what happened – it didn't take that long at all.
I also wore attire that attracted the dealer to us, making it clear that I was a pothead and influenced by hip-hop culture: Fitted Atlanta Braves baseball hat, Nike Air Force Ones sneakers, using the pieces as a signal to the dealer.
It's funny, because at the end of the summer, I had actually transitioned into more preppy clothes and items that are more friendly to the political and conservative realm. But if you're out and about in the streets, and want to find some weed fast, I highly recommend going for the hip-hop look if you feel you can pull it off. I know I'll do it in the future if I'm in a similar situation, which I'm sure I will be. This worked out very well for us in South Florida.
So anyways, back to the dealer: We were just sitting down in the middle of Times Square, talking it up, and enjoying the views and bright lights of New York City. About a half-hour into it, some random black guy in a Chicago White Sox hat walks past us, glances at us and advertises that he had marijuana on him.
Instantly, he walks up to us and tries to sell it, but I had to go to an ATM to get cash out, so he leads me into the direction of the local ATM – which turned into several trips to different ATM's and me losing my bank card.
Yes, a trip that was simply meant to get some weed turned into a nightmare.
The first ATM that we went to ended up being closed, so we had to walk another few blocks away from Times Square (and our hotel) to get to another ATM, because there were a few others that we also came across that ended up being closed because of COVID-19 – which made the trip a little nerve-racking.
Ultimately though, we did eventually get to a bank with a working ATM, and I proceeded to walk into the bank to get cash out while my fiancée and the dealer waited outside for me. And boom, it happened: My card gets eaten by the ATM. I was gutted.
I go back out and tell them about the card, and instantly the dealer hops into action, goes into the bank and starts banging on the ATM. Needless to say, he was determined to get his money. However, it would end in a failure, and my card was officially gone forever.
We go back outside to my fiancée and I ask her if she wants to take the risk and use her card, and she tells me that she left it back at the hotel. So I asked her if she wanted to go back to get it, and of course, the dealer was pushing for it, and just like me, my fiancée wanted to get high. As a result, she was game and we all walked together back to the hotel that we were staying at.
The room that my fiancée Crystal and I stayed in during our time at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, New York during June 2019. (PHOTO: The Roosevelt Hotel NYC)
When she went up to the room, the dealer and I stayed outside in front of the hotel and had a few minutes worth of conversation. The first impression was that he was a good guy, very nice and friendly, and even was asking about our months-old baby. He definitely made you feel like he was your friend and he was on your side – my fiancée reported the same thing when they were waiting for me outside of the first bank we were at. Keep this in mind.
My fiancée then comes back down from the hotel room with her card and we then proceed off to the next available ATM. A few blocks down the road, we managed to find one and my fiancée proceeded to use it. I can't lie, as soon as she put the card in, I got incredibly nervous and started praying to God that nothing bad was going to happen. Fortunately though, we didn't have to deal with a disastrous scenario like that, and she ended up getting some money out sound and safe.
If she would have lost her card too, just imagine what the damage would have been like: We both would have had no money on us in New York City, and we still had a flight to catch to Miami as well for a few-days vacation.
It could have been an utter disaster, but fortunately, it didn’t go down like that.
When we got the money, the dealer wanted to go somewhere safe to make the transaction and we also asked him where we could go to get some rolling papers. He then leads us in the direction where we could accomplish both of those things.
We got to the end of a street and the dealer decided to stop us at the corner, and this because of police officers being across the street, but there happened to be a store right next to where they were at. With this being the circumstances, we quickly made the transaction and he pointed us in the direction of the store. We ended things off with him good, gave him dap and we went our separate ways.
And, we had marijuana. We were pretty happy about that.
We went into the store to get some rolling papers, and then instantly realized that the dealer was wrong, because, well, there were no rolling papers – we even asked the cashier and had no luck. So we decided to go to another store and came across a CVS, but had no luck there either. With it being late and options being limited, we then decided to just head back to the hotel and put the weed in a cigarette-like Swisher Sweet that we had. It was no joint that we would have had from rolling papers, but it was better than nothing. Plus, we were just ready to get back and get high.
We get back to the hotel with our marijuana and we're stoked. Not only because of being able to score and smoke some weed, but also because we were heading to Miami the next morning. I sit down on the hotel bed and pull out the pot, break it down and load up the Swisher.
When I pulled out the bag, I instantly knew something wasn't right.
NYC Diesel, also known as Soma Sour Diesel. (PHOTO: Strain Spot)
I opened it up and the first thing I pulled out was a big folded-up leaf of lettuce.
Yep, we got hustled.
We got ripped off.
Here's the kicker though: The dealer didn't completely leave us dry, he did manage to put a few buds in the bag, but it was mainly lettuce masqueraded as marijuana. And that's not all, he also put in the bag another little surprise that was in a smaller plastic baggy. And what was in that smaller plastic baggy?