Saratoga Mayoral Candidate Pledges to Destroy Bustling City
Published May 28th, 2017
Photo by Daniel Case.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Nebakov Clapper has a dream.
“I want to make Saratoga suck again,” said the political newcomer and mayoral hopeful.
The 69-year-old Spa City resident has lived in Saratoga his entire life. And he can remember quite clearly what he calls “that glorious span” from the 1950s through 1970 when Saratoga “totally sucked balls.”
“The good old days,” said Clapper, staring off toward the sky with a slight smile as if he had suddenly fallen under some sort of trance.
As Clapper sat at an outdoor table in front of the Saratoga Stadium where he nursed a beer as he spoke to the Smudge, he looked around the bustling and lively sidewalks of Broadway’s downtown business district.
“Look at this, would you?” said a disgruntled Clapper, shaking his bald, leathery liver-spotted head. “Goddamn crowds. Goddamn traffic. Goddamn fruity men wearing linen pants.
“I remember when you could park a goddamn aircraft carrier on this street, no problem,” said the retired bowling pinsetter. “I remember when the people around here weren’t so chichi. I remember when my wife could buy a dress for under $15. I remember when putting a roof over your noggin in this town didn’t cost a half-million. I remember when men were men and acted like it. I see some of these fellas prancing around these streets today and I don’t know what the fuck is going on in their heads. You woulda heard about it in my day, prancing around like a fairy. Holy Christ.”
In the 1950s, the far-reaching impact of a U.S. Senate panel charged with investigating crime and corruption, known as the Kefauver Committee, delivered a severe blow to gaming in Saratoga. The Grand Union Hotel was demolished. Businesses eventually closed. Later, Saratoga’s Convention Hall burned. And vacant storefronts dotted downtown like a rash.
“It was a great time,” Clapper said. “You could move around this goddamn place. You could live. People were literally giving their property away. They couldn’t wait to get out of here. It was heaven.
“But once the goddamn Northway was built and the track started to pick up, our fortunes turned,” the misanthropic mayoral wannabe grunted. “I’d like to take that Northway and shove it up Rockefeller’s ass.”
A poll conducted by SUNY Cobleskill Political Science Professor Judd Nelson shows Clapper’s quest to become the Spa City’s top pol is a long shot.
“Right now, he’s pretty far behind,” Nelson said. “We have him at minus-4 percent. I don’t think his message is resonating.”
But Clapper said he has no plans to change his pledge to take Saratoga back to its bad old days.
“The economy here is booming. Tourists can’t stay away. It’s packed here every weekend year round,” said Clapper. “We’re a total outlier. The rest of upstate is struggling. It’s a total mess. Why should we be any different? And we need to get rid of the fruits walking around town here in linen suits.”