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Xavier Hermosillo is the President of, a national Crisis Communications, Marketing, and Management firm he founded 23 years ago. He is a former political chief of staff, an award-winning reporter and photographer, and a former radio talk show host and TV commentator in Los Angeles. He has co-founded two publicly-traded companies where he served as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. He has also served as a Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission on police officer discipline cases, and holds degrees in Administration of Justice and Business and Communications. He can be reached at

October 2, 2005

I'm in New York this week and with all due respect to those who love this town and rave about it incessantly, turn away from the computer screen for a few minutes. You may not like what I am about to say.

New York, I must admit, wormed its way into my heart after 9/11. Like all Americans, I felt personally attacked and my heart went out to the people of New York. We all became New Yorkers for a while. I even rooted for them to get the 2012 Olympic Games and was angered when they didn't.

I had not been to the Big Apple in about 15 years, and my memories were about having dinner at the World Trade Center one night, and in Brooklyn another night. It's funny what you remember about a place that didn't impress you the first time around.

After a week in Midtown Manhattan, I am convinced the reason visitors are so wowed by the City is that it is unlike anywhere they have ever visited, and they like the fact it is NOT like their town. In short, I believe New York is what no other city EVER wants to become.

It is rude, dirty, loud, crowded, dense, and unfriendly, and that's what I think appeals to some people. It's hard to find another place like it. It is a dirty version of Las Vegas, and without the class of the City that never sleeps.

If Vegas is full of gambling cheats, then New York is King of Con Artists. I tired to replace a non-descript camera lens and ring for which I paid $100, and one merchant demanded $3,000 for the same item. He tried his best to swindle me, but failed, then cursed me as I walked out the door because he lost the sale. I went down the road a bit to 48th Street and Seventh Avenue and another con man posing as a legitimate business also tried to fleece me, this time at a reduced price of $2,200. He too was unhappy when I told him he was overcharging.

Fed up, I hurried back to my hotel, bought the lens and ring online for $75, paid $25 for overnight shipping, and returned for a few moments to sanity in a city of depravity and chaos.

This city is hostile to the handicapped, both in its limited access to hotels, restaurants and stores, and in the inability of the disabled and wheelchair bound to get on and off sidewalks easily. How do the Feds let them get away withy it? I was with a disabled colleague and we were almost run over three or four times at intersections by New Yorkers (and one with New Jersey license plates) who cursed us, honked at us, flipped us off, or otherwise showed their displeasure at the unbelievable notion that we should be able to cross the street safely.

Smokers reign in New York and they toss their dirty cancer sticks at will in front of people, almost flaunting a challenge to fight or throw something back at them. New Yorkers, and some of their visitors, are in a world of their own and you are the last one in the world with whom they want to deal.
My disabled friend repeatedly found himself trapped outside buildings where the door handle was not reachable and some just stood and watched him as if testing his next move. Doormen ignored him. It was typical New York and cruel.

I decided to spend some time watching New York television and the local shows, like their network counterparts, were boring. Local news anchors were dull and they all seemed patterned after the same vacuous character. I thought New York was supposed to be big time. It's not. It's not even close to places like L.A., Chicago and Seattle in terms of TV news.

The food was good in most places we visited - great in others. That's not an endorsement or a knock, just the truth. Cabbies are the pits. They love to argue, they don't speak English, and if you let them, they'll rip you off by taking the longest possible route.

I miss L.A. I miss the drive-bys in the predictable parts of town, and I miss phony, plastic Hollywood types who do such a great job of pretending to care. I miss the traffic because at least in L.A., we don't sit there and engage in honking marathons just because we're not moving as fast as we'd like.

I feel lost when I try to communicate with people who can't speak English and I find out Spanish is NOT their native tongue. Do I really need to learn Urdu and Arabic to make progress in this town? Sharmutas!!

I have been telling God that I think he sent Hurricane Katrina to the wrong place. Instead of leveling the Big Easy, he should have asked Mother Nature to take a shot at the Big Apple. I mourn for what happened to New Orleans, but the next time, won't be so quick to cry for New York.

I know it sounds harsh and almost sacrilegious for some, but then you're not here right now. And if you are and you like it here, hey, one man's junk is another man's gold. Or put another way, one man's hell is another man's hype. And New York is all about the hype and nothing about the hope. I don't think there is any hope for this dinosaur.