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Welcome to Fear City: the inside story of New York’s civil war

‘Stay away from New York City if you possibly can’ was the stark warning that greeted visitors 40 summers ago.

“Welcome to Fear City” read the stark headline on these pamphlets, which were subtitled “A Survival Guide for Visitors to the City of New York.” Inside was a list of nine “guidelines” that might allow you to get out of the city alive, and with your personal property intact.

Travelers arriving at New York City’s airports in June 1975 were greeted with possibly the strangest object ever handed out at the portal to a great city: pamphlets with a hooded death’s head on the cover, warning them, “Until things change, stay away from New York City if you possibly can.”

The guidelines painted a nightmarish vision of New York; one that made it sound barely a cut above Beirut, which then had just been engulfed in Lebanon’s civil war. Visitors were advised not to venture outside of midtown Manhattan, not to take the subways under any circumstances, and not to walk outside anywhere after six in the evening… read more >

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