People realized that they can work from home and they didn’t have to spend 100 percent of their time at the office to be efficient. So I think that people will realize that there are other ways to do business. I think that the city will come back bigger and better and stronger than ever. It is going to take some time. But I still think that there’s going to be a shift in who takes what office space.
And I think the crux of everything with going back to the office space is that people don’t want to be here because the fundamental part of New York City that makes the city run, and the foundation of the city, is the transportation system, which is 25 percent of what it could be right now. I have a whole crew of people that refuse to take the subways right now.
You mean they’re refusing because of Covid-19?
No, well, Covid has just put it over the edge. The transportation — subways are not safe. Every day, there’s somebody else that’s getting mugged, getting thrown onto the subway tracks. Or walking in the streets getting knocked on the head. I mean, people are legitimately afraid of walking the streets of New York City, I can’t tell you. All of my employees are. And I’m sitting in my office right now on 45th Street, and all of my employees are taking either Ubers or I’m paying for their garages. And these are people that live in the boroughs: Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island. And it’s enraging. How does the government — the politicians that have been here for so long that have supposedly done such a good job — how are we in this type of trouble?
Another candidate, Dianne Morales, advocates cutting the NYPD budget. What are your thoughts?
I don’t think we should cut the budget of New York City’s police. I don’t believe that we should have less police on the streets. I think that we have to come to an equilibrium. And we have to stabilize New York City right now. So crime is up, murders are up, and we have a huge disparity between people wanting to have less police and more police. We can’t underprotect our population, we have to protect the people. So how do you do that, not demoralize the police, but make sure that people are safe and that the police do not harm anyone that they’re protecting?
We have to put in some type of stringent program into the police that will allow us to feel comfortable with who is in the police department. It’s like a pilot; you can’t have any accidents. You can’t have one officer that is going to hurt the public. So you have to make sure. And how do you do that? You have to put the right policies in place for that.
Who in your opinion, has been the best mayor of New York City?
I would have to say Bloomberg.
What did you like about the city under him?
And I think Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani at some point in his career as well. I thought the city was the best version of itself. I thought that it was the cleanest. I thought it was the safest. I could remember riding the subways at 2:00 in the morning and not feeling vulnerable. My business was thriving under Bloomberg; I know that there was some other — people had some pushback back then, but my business was thriving. I think the whole foundation of New York City is about clean, safe streets, and education. I believe all people need the same education.