I remember the dread of exiting the Queens-Midtown tunnel into Manhattan from Long Island before I left for Rhode Island in the early 1990s.

Would we make the first traffic light, or get stuck at a red light and be subjected to the squeegee men?

The squeegee men would either spray something on your windshield then demand payment to clean it off, or just start cleaning the windshield figuring you’d pay them rather than risk a confrontation.

It set the tone for the city, along with graffiti and other petty hooliganism.

It was one of the realities of life in NYC until Rudy Giuliani was elected Mayor and cleaned it all up.

It was the broken window theory:

Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing.

The squeegee men and similar public displays of lawlessness were held in check even after Rudy left office — until now.

The election of uber-liberal Bill DeBlasio ushered in a new era of the bad old days, as The NY Post reports:

NY Post Squeegee Men

They were the ultimate symbol of the lawlessness and blight of the 1980s and early 1990s — and now they’re making a comeback.
Squeegee men are menacing motorists across New York City, including spots near the Holland, Lincoln and Queens-Midtown tunnels, as well as the Queensboro Bridge, The Post has learned.

Residents and drivers who pass through the areas said the panhandlers are spraying and wiping windshields without permission to shake down drivers for cash.
Their sudden return is an ominous sign according to the proven “broken windows” theory that has kept the city safe by having cops crack down on minor offenses to prevent bigger, violent crimes.

The Post spotted one of the vagrants working the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 37th Street, where a woman turned on the wipers of her Mercedes-Benz to keep him away.

All of this was predictable:

It’s the same thing with immigration — don’t enforce the laws and treat illegal entrants as victims, and you set the mood for the country as one of lawlessness.

childhood immigration flood

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