A Rainy Day in New York

I expected to end these reports on Sunday, but you keep asking for more, so I’ll keep grinding them out. Please let me know when you want me to stop. I promise not to hold it against you.

The weather is lousy today, which seems more appropriate, though I feel bad about the rescue crews, the overflow crowd in the Lincoln Center plaza, and even our uplink. I’m getting wet, too, but I have my plastic sandals on, and, unlike the wicked witch of the west, I won’t melt. I expect the crowd in the plaza will have a similar attitude.

Wonderful news today! The bagel-cart man is back! I haven’t had a chance to chat with him yet, but he seemed as happy to see me smiling at him as I was to see him. YAY!

The few Manhattanites with cars have been having a long holiday. They normally have to move their vehicles from one side of the street to the other every day so that the street sweepers can get through, but alternate-side parking regulations have been suspended, and not just for the Jewish New Year.

Although I’m not concerned about a few days without the streets being swept, another recent development has me a little worried. There’s a notice in our building that says we are no longer permitted to have large trash cans on our floor. That means we may no longer remove our trash whenever we want to. We have been given three short windows of time during which we must call down to have someone from the building come up and accept our trash. Considering that recycling requires us to generate different types of trash, this gets pretty complicated. I hope we don’t end up without trash bins on the streets.

As best I can tell, the restaurants in my neighborhood (the upper west side) are as full as ever. Maybe it’s just the $100/appetizer restaurants that are said to be empty. I don’t think they can count on my help, but I heartily encourage those of you with money to burn to patronize them often; I understand the food’s very good.

I heard loud booming noises yesterday. I don’t think it was the fighter jets that have been patrolling our airspace. The more likely culprit is the excavated sidewalk down my block. I have no idea why it’s gone, and, at the moment, I haven’t got time to find out. Such is life in New York.

Verizon, our “local” phone company, reports that they lost 200,000 subscriber lines (out of 500,000) in the area below 14th Street in Manhattan. They have thus far restored 50,000 and hope to have the others up next week. I can wait another couple of weeks before reporting my long distance problems. Thank you all for providing this long-distance connection.

I note that there is a spate of new computer viruses and worms, especially Nimda. In a way, it’s nice to know the attack didn’t wipe out those jerks.

There was an interesting report on the radio this morning by a woman who doesn’t consider herself prejudiced in any way but still flinches these days even at the sight of a Sikh in a turban. A psychologist explained that most of us don’t flinch at the sight of blond white people like Timothy McVeigh because we’re accustomed to blond white people. We supposedly flinch at the sight of turbaned Sikhs because we’re not accustomed to them (not that any Sikhs have been implicated in any way with the World Trade Center attacks).

In that regard (as in so many others), I consider myself very lucky. I was born and raised in the city of Hoboken (the city of which New York is merely a suburb), just one square mile with a disproportionate quantity of Sikhs. It was almost as likely that I would see a man in a turban as one who was blond.

I was also accustomed to flying to the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam every other year on Middle East-based airlines. They were the cheapest: Royal Jordanian Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, etc. It’s interesting that this year, when the plane didn’t leave, I was booked on Delta (in 1978, my wife and I crossed the Atlantic both ways in a four-seat plane and were delayed by weather only when we left the plane in Toronto and took American to New York).

The Metropolitan Transit Authority has published a new subway map with a big gap on the west side of lower Manhattan, where the various stations are closed. But even they are exaggerating a bit. They show a closed line to a station called World Trade Center; it’s actually part of the Chambers Street station: http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/nyct/maps/mapsys919.pdf

Digital Television magazine asked me if I wanted to change my column for the next issue. I took them up on the offer. I called Frank Graybill, who is hard at work at the Alpine tower on getting WNET’s TV service back to normal. He choked up in talking about Rod Coppola. Then I wrote the piece and got pretty teary myself. When I proofread it, I got teary again.

We will go on. But there will be grief.

TTFN, Mark

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