New York Thoughts

I’m starting a new category on the blog just for New York City, because I think the city will present me with a continual flow of new experiences. Here are a few:

You couldn’t pay me enough to be a big-rig driver in this town. Last night, walking past Katz’s, I helped a truck driver as he attempted to turn off Houston onto Ludlow. Ludlow is, like most of the streets on the Lower East Side, tightly packed with parked cars around two thin lanes. And there was a delivery truck double parked on Ludlow last night. And road cones. The rig took out a few of those while flattening a bag of trash, but stopped short of scraping a mailbox. The driver was clearly stuck, so I told him to hang on while I moved the remaining road cones and gave him hand signals to negotiate the mailbox, which his reflectors did scrape past. No serious harm came to the mailbox. There’s a job I could never do.

Speaking of jobs, I wonder about the lives of all the convenience store clerks, magazine kiosk workers, cabbies, and generally the people who make the city work. Where do all these people come from? Where do they live? How do they live? And who are all these people driving in cars? Why would anyone want to have a car in this town? Are they all commuters to somewhere else? Who are all these people?

All of these people, with so many religions and ethnic backgrounds, all here…and not killing each other! While it’s true there are ethnic enclaves like Chinatown and the Hasidic/Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of Brooklyn[1], you rarely read about full-scale warfare between them. Every faction in this town gets along with the rest of the city because they know that if they don’t, they will not survive. Is New York City a model for the rest of the world to follow? Or does this scenario only work in cities?

Maybe I shouldn’t think about it so much.

1.) Which I walked through today; it was like Israel without firearms.