Normal City? Are You Nuts? By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and JANE FURSE, Daily News Staff Writers

December 12, 1996

New York ain’t normal, according to a new book — whereas Orange County, Calif., is.

That’s Orange County as in Disneyland and the biggest municipal bankruptcy in history.

Whaddaya mean New York is the “most abnormal” of American cities?

Merely a statistical term, Places Rated Almanac co-author David Savageau hastened to explain yesterday.

“New York is top-notch in the arts, in higher education and in transportation, but bottom-of-the deck in crime, cost of living and jobs,” he said. “So you see, it’s either hot or cold — nothing in the middle.”

Take yer book and toss it, suggested Mayor Giuliani after he heard about this volume.

“They’re screwy,” said Giuliani, who disputed the MacMillan-published almanac’s charge that Atlanta, Detroit, Newark, St. Louis, New Orleans and Los Angeles are all safer than New York.

FBI numbers say otherwise, the mayor noted. “Big experts on crime, right, MacMillan,” Giuliani scoffed. “I will take this report and say it comes from amateurs. They don’t know what they are talking about.”

Giuliani’s opinions notwithstanding, said Savageau, Orange County really is the best of the 351 metropolitan areas surveyed by the almanac.

“The climate is good, it has a very rosy outlook for jobs and, because of the drop in housing prices, it’s more affordable,” he said. “It’s an amazing place.”

Joining Orange County on the book’s list of top 10 metropolitan areas are Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.; Houston; Washington, D.C.; Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Atlanta; Tampa-St.-Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.; San Diego, and Philadelphia.

As for life here in abnormal New York City, Long Islander Pamela Barrow was feeling just fine as she got off the train at madhouse Penn Station yesterday.

“Personally, I come here to feel normal again,” she said.

Original Story Date: 121296