A Subway Plan Aimed to Ease Fears. The Blowback Was Immediate.

Just 24 hours after Gov. Kathy Hochul deployed the National Guard and the State Police in the New York City subway to quell fears of crime, the unusual show of force drew intense criticism on Thursday from various corners, some unexpected.

On the left, Jumaane N. Williams, the city’s public advocate, warned that Ms. Hochul’s plan would “criminalize the public on public transit.” Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher, a democratic socialist from Brooklyn, said it was a “ham-fisted and authoritarian response” that “validates G.O.P. propaganda about urban lawlessness in an election year.”

Centrists fretted that the deployment of troops carrying long guns — beamed across the country by Fox News and other cable outlets — would actually make New Yorkers and would-be tourists feel less safe, not more.

“The militarization of a response like this can be counterproductive, actually,” Representative Pat Ryan, an embattled Hudson Valley Democrat and former Army officer, said on CNN.

Even top brass from the New York Police Department took issue.

In an unorthodox post on X, John Chell, the department’s chief of patrol, implied the governor’s approach was beside the point. He cited recent statistics suggesting that transit crime has dropped after a spike in January because more of his officers were walking the beat.

“Our transit system is not a ‘war’ zone!” he wrote, adding that the governor’s plan to check passengers’ bags was hardly a novel technique: “Bag checks have been around since 2005???”

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