Memorial Day Weekend
It is the beginning of the Memorial Day Weekend. I have been
living and working all week in Claverack, going into the city
I have had a lovely time over the week. Monday and Tuesday
the weather was warm and spring seemed to be happening, at
Tripp worked in the yard, planting ferns, Norway pines and
hanging his hammock. He took the week as vacation while I
worked from my home office, comfortably supported by my cable
modem, my phone, my fax.
While sitting on the deck watching deer and geese lounging
on the far bank of Claverack Creek, I did a conference call.
This week I received an e-mail from someone who told me that
I paint a bleak picture of life in New York in my column.
Ive spent a fair amount of time since I received that
e-mail, wondering if I was painting too bleak a picture of
life right now.
It is a harsh time for New York.
A call for more 9/11 kind of activity has been released by
Osamas Number Two. He mentioned the economic impact
of that event.
He was right. The city is still reeling, if the country isnt.
Add on to that the general economy sucks.
Weve never been below an Orange on the terror scale.
One of our cabbiess got arrested for trying to buy explosives
from an undercover agent though it seems he was interested
in using them in Miami. If he turns out to be a terrorist,
he seemed intent on sharing the joy with a city other than
The reputation of the venerable New York Times is tarnished
by the Jayson Blair adventure.
A bomb apparently went off at Yale. Yale?
The weather has consistently been dark, cloudy, grey, cold
But if I have painted too dark a portrait of the city and
our collective lives, I must do some recanting.
All you need to do to bring a smile to your face is watch
the news or read the papers.
Big news here was the new wax figure of Jennifer Lopez at
Madame Tussauds on 42nd Street. That made every paper,
including the front page of the Post [right next to the blaring
headline: CITY ON EDGE].
Mayor Bloomberg announced on radio that hed like to
have dinner with Ms. Lopez. His girlfriend wouldnt mind.
American Idol got huge play in the papers and on television.
Rubens the Rave trumpeted the Post. I hadnt
a clue. I admit that once I watched an episode and thought:
okey dokey, I get it.
I was unconscious that it had returned. Pretty un-American
of me, I know.
Michael Jackson is back in the hospital and it didnt
make the front page. Scott Peterson continues to attract attention.
I am pleased to know he is practicing yoga in his jail cell
and reading Homer.
And, in what should have been a television special, the New
York Times had six caterers plan a dream wedding for former
Mayor Giuliani, which he wouldnt be having because hes
getting married at his former residence, Gracie Mansion, all
spiffed up with a makeover. Coulda been a ratings contender.
Okay, its bleak but it is also fun. All you have to
do is look around, which only tourists do because if youre
a New Yorker, you are, by definition, in a hurry. If youre
not in a hurry, youre obviously not a New Yorker.
But the sights are always astounding. Tuesday, at Penn Station,
there was a man wearing very yellow polka dot pants, a bright
red coat with an enormous hat of straw, topped by six balloons
sticks which were swinging not balloons but bells.
No one paid any attention.
Now on Tuesday Penn Station was a little out of order because
there had been a shut down due to a bio-terrorism investigation
over something that turned out to be cooking oil. Trains were
delayed three hours.
What was amazing to me was how calm everyone was about it.
But New Yorkers are a resilient bunch. Signs declared delays
because of police action. Panic? No. Alarm at the number of
soldiers? No. Dismay at a character out of Oz? No.
Welcome to New York.