These last weeks in NYC have been the quietest I have ever seen; maybe in my life.
I have virtually nothing to do. Oh, I must get my tasty donut and coffee in the morning at the Lydig Diner and talk to the owner, George a bit. Then, wave at the Korean couple at their dry cleaning business, as well as the Russian shoe making couple.
And on the really strenuous days, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, I must even move our parked car from one side of the street to the other at the bewitching hour, which in this neighborhood is 10:00 a.m.
Yes, living under the threat of Alternate Side Parking (ASP) helps me understand repression in much of the world. Where is the ACLU when you need them? What stopping the City from adding Wednesday to ASP? What’s next? Waterboarding?? Or, horrors of horrors, forced to eat day old donuts!!!
As I walked to the car, crossing Pelham Parkway, I really was struck by how pretty the Bronx is.
Now, I have been told by some about the Bronx, and working here for five years, and now living here, if only part time, I can certainly appreciate it, but still I’ve always had my doubts.
My friend Sam, a big Bronx booster and the only person I know who was born, raised and still living in the Bronx, would periodically rant and rave about its attributes. But like most New Yorkers, I attributed it to a passing delusion.
But I always liked her enthusiasm and she was more right than I. Sometimes I should listen better also.
As I got in the car, connected my IPod, that had been “lost” for the previous week, I also realized that that last night’s funk was as much about having to listen to NY radio for a few yours. How such a big city can have so little choice in radio listening is simply pathetic. We are such a big city, so there are no real “local” stations, but instead virtually every station is owned by some big corporation, run by the bean counters.
Sad to think that the place where playing rock albums on WNEW-NY actually started in the ‘60’s has now reverted to the planned world of a Disney Land.
So here is a song or two that works well on a sunny day.
Or the Return of the Squeegee Men, Without the Squeegee.
So no Dauntless news in this post. No news is good news., just me on my soapbox.
Woke up this morning and realized that I needed some exercise. In Waterford, I walk a few miles a day, up and down the hill to the butcher and the two bakeries, one for bread and the other for a cupcake or other tasty treat.
Living in Manhattan, I was able to park the car within a block or so of our apartment, now in the Bronx, a half mile away is becoming commonplace, but we don’t use the car as much. So, I’m actually walking far less. I decided to walk the green space from the Bronx Zoo, past the Bronx Botanical Gardens, pass the Bronx River and up Mosholu Parkway towards Van Cortland Park.
My dear friend Samantha, a real Bronxite, had told me about this path and how it is possible to walk almost half way through the borough in this green space. Very nice; a month earlier the fall foliage would have been much prettier.
So as I am ambling down the path, the first thing I notice is the guy with the pit bull letting his dog shit in the park and no way is he picking it up. Then a few minutes later, in one of the places where I have to cross the street, with traffic backed up getting onto the Bronx River Parkway, who do I see, but the new squeegee men. They don’t have squeegees anymore, they don’t need them, as they have figured out, panhandling is even more lucrative than the extortion of trying to clean someone’s windshield. So by staking out some spot where cars are bumper to bumper they can make their hundred dollars a day with little effort.
Now they are far less annoying, than the panhandlers on the subway who have been multiplying like cockroaches the last couple years. Every train now seems have at least one or two. The new Mayor has made it clear by his actions that he doesn’t care about the quality of life issues that made this City livable again under Giuliani and Bloomberg. The cop on the street is being put into a no win situation. We had a good 20 year run, but as someone who watched the decline in the late ‘50’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s, I’ve seen this picture before and it doesn’t end well.
What most people don’t realize is that the City declined because at best 20% of all City workers were actually working (except the Firemen, who as always had a lot of work and who attract those men and women who actually wanted to keep busy. And if you doubt that, just look at the events of 9/11 and the 380 poor souls who gave their lives just doing the jobs they have always done).
No, the City was dirty, mentally and physically. Burned out cars in the hundreds or more littered every poor neighborhood. Every year crime got worse, and the politicians, wrung their hands, beat their breasts and lamented that there was nothing they could do. In the mid 1980’s a woman was raped on 6Th ave in midtown. Just a few feet from the sidewalk, in front of an office building in Midtown. Not even late at night, but in the evening. Unimaginable now, but it was commonplace then. Murders, rapes, mayhem; that was the City by 1992. Finally Giuliani comes along and changes the game. He made everyone do their job. Police started arresting folks, garbage men started picking up garbage and he actually took the City back from the Hoodlums and their ilk who terrorized everyone, most of all in poor neighborhoods.
But it starts and ends with small things. In the past year, It has become impossible to ride on the subway, without someone with a voice of an opera star telling everyone how hungry they are and while they really want food, they will take cash, but no credit cards, yet.
So, on my little walk this morning these were the thoughts crossing my mind. The saddest part, is the Mayor obviously cares about image more than results. Stop and Frisk made our poor neighborhoods safe. Safe for whom, the 95% of the good, hardworking people who live there. Ask them if they want to stop it; not those blowhards who pretend to speak for them, but could care less.
Enough, thank you for listening. It’s been on my mind for quite a while and while I feel powerless, I feel sometimes we just can’t give up without at least saying something.
The Bronx has turned out to be a really interesting and nice place. My friend Samantha had made it clears how much this was a borough full of interesting, wonderful neighborhoods. When she told me this, I never believed I’d be living here myself one day, but I am. Full of many very diverse neighborhoods. In our neighborhood alone, we have Albanians, Russians, Hispanics from all over South and Central America, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, Bengalis, Pakistanis, Arabs, some southeast Asians, northwest Asians and southwest Asians. And of course, there are still the Italians, Irish and Jews who were the bulk of the Bronx for over a hundred years.
I walked 5 miles, it was a wonderful morning and the beginning of a great week.