In the span of one very long and repetitive month, Mayor Bloomberg delivered his State of the City, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn responded with her own version, and in between every borough president presented his or her own State of the Borough. As if that wasn't enough, some state assemblymen even gave State of the District speeches, for crying out loud.
At this pace, in the years to come, community leaders will begin delivering annual State of the Neighborhood speeches, prompting deli owners to craft State of the Block masterpieces for anyone who cares.
Things have gotten out of hand and they need to stop.
Who really cares about the state of things according to every Tom, Dick, and Nancy who happened to get elected a few years ago? Not us. Not the average New Yorker.
The President of the United States of America, who is also the leader of the free world and defender of global democracy, surely has the right to parade before Congress once every 365 days and give us a piece of his mind.
It’s nice to know who is on our Commander in Chief's annual enemy list - who, that is, he plans to bomb into dusty submission, or starve with economic sanctions, or at the very least refuse to conduct diplomatic discussions with.
Likewise, it’s very important for voters to absorb a comprehensive account of all the domestic initiatives planned for the coming year, laws that won't get passed due to bitter Washington partisanship but that sound very nice all the same when everyone claps for them.
The presidential State of the Union is a long and sacred American tradition blessed by God that could only be taken from any worthy president over his dead body.
City, borough and district state of the year speeches are no such thing. They contain few serious new policy points, pander to every possible ethnic, religious and cultural group imaginable, and always drag on for way too long.
Everyone gets bored fairly quickly and stops paying attention to the speaker. Instead, because there's nothing better to do, we scan and re-scan the front rows to see whether the comptroller got a better seat than the public advocate, or try to find that one miserable city councilman in the speaker's doghouse who got shafted with a spot half way to the back of nowhere. Even this activity isn't too much fun, but its better than staring at the ceiling for an hour-and-a-half, which is usually how long these horrible things take.
Ah, but then of course there's an exception to every rule.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's State of the Borough was fluffier than dust bunnies, but at least he kept things interesting. Using made-up words like "Brookyn-nomics," "Barack-lyn" and the classic "Fuhgeddaboudit," Marty regaled us with his good humor, wonderfully thick Brooklyn accent, and longstanding pipe dreams for his beloved borough.
Then he threw a completely free, well-catered, open bar-party for hundreds of guests, proving conclusively that people will sit through the State of Anything for seven beers and three plates of pasta.