Incidental New Yorker III

July 27, 2015

We took this lovely trip with the East River Ferry yesterday from the pier at E34th St., under the impressive bridges with a few stops at Long Island before returning to Manhattan at Pier 11. Bright sunshine, lovely breeze and above us in the air like huge mosquitoes the constant buzzing of helicopters, sternly supervised by the Statue of Liberty. Strolled back through Battery Park and along the Hudson promenade. People were out and about in boats, kayaks and hot-tempered water scooters, and on land on foot, bicycles, scooters, skateboards and more … Jumped on the underground to go home. New York is like a huge, liquid human patchwork or perhaps rather like mercury? Had dinner at a street side restaurant, people watching with eyes popping out. One (i.e. I) feels as being part of a film, a fusion of all the New York-films I’ve ever watched. So much to take in.

© Mette Holm

Upside:

I had a wonderful tour of the US all through the 20th century at the magnificent New Whitney Museum. The voyage starts at the top, and then you wind your way down, either via the external staircase or the internal one, somewhat like descending through a conch. Or the lift, which is the size of a small room and holds scores of people … The various pieces, exhibitions and periods amply illustrate the ups and downs, the optimism and the depressions, various perceptions of the wars; a terrific way to experience aspects of this vast and incredibly diversified country. Edward Hopper brilliantly captures the desert sunset, or the lonely, dusty anonymous littletown. And there is the extra bonus in the small gallery at the ground floor, where Mrs Vanderbilt Whitney’s passion for art and painters is exhibited, and one of her great achievements, other than pursuing her own career as a sculptor, was to invite aspiring painters to do nude life drawings in her studio for a fee of 20 cents. A number of Hopper’s graceful drawings are exhibited.

And Cuba – after all these years of cold war the flags were hoisted in the US embassy in Havana and Cuba’s in Washington, signifying restored diplomatic ties after more than 55 years of really bad neighbourliness. Haven’t seen any celebratory parades, but I am sure we will. Today there is a Dominican parade in NYC, the other day it was Puerto Rican.

Oh, and we saw the President (‘s motorcade) twice the other day; right outside our building and again a few hours later when crossing 3rd Ave. His and his family’s right to privacy is under permanent violation! He was in town to make one last appearance on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show before the latter – as well as his good self – bows out. Said POTUS to JS: “I can’t believe that you’re leaving before me!” and continued to consider an executive order to prevent it. Anyway, the motorcade is impressive, incredibly long including all kinds of vehicles like a portable infirmary and more, not to mention the hundreds of police officers ahead, behind and along the route. I salute the New Yorkers for their resilience in traffic-affairs. They just stopped and waited for it to pass; no cheering or waiving, not even really looking, but neither did they complain. They just hastily got on about their business when traffic de-petrified.

I’m acquiring a new habit. Music in most supermarkets so matches the soundtrack of my youth that it has me dancing happily along the aisles, while trying to decipher consumer info and choosing in the vast selection on offer. Farmers’ Market right on our doorstep on Wednesdays has no music, but the food on offer is fresh, delicious and organic, so if I dance a bit while shopping there it is from joy.

Summerfeet underground © Mette Holm

Weirdside:

Aaah, JFK Airport is dedicating an entire new terminal to pets. The 48 million dollar facility will open next year with round-the-clock veterinary services, luxurious quarantine facilities for big and small and is to be called The Ark. Dogs, horses and other favourite animals will be able to wait for flights or pick-up in climate controlled suites with flat panel TVs; owners will be able to keep an eye on their four legged loved ones via webcams, while their dogs have fun in the bone shaped pool. There’ll be a jungle gym for cats. Furry customers can enjoy Paradise 4 Paws grooming, obedience training and pet massage therapy. The architect assures future customers: “The design is developed together with vets and other consultants in order to minimise the animals’ exposure to stress factors.” In order to prove that I didn’t make this up read more here.

In Seattle, residents are suing the city for violating their privacy. Seattle is serious about sorting garbage for recycling. And if a citizen has more than 10 percent improperly sorted garbage the garbage collector can reprimand the offender, who also risks a fine; however, no one has actually been fined yet. A small group of citizens, who do agree with the general idea of recycling, feel their privacy invaded. As stated in the lawsuit: “A person has a legitimate expectation that the contents of his or her garbage cans will remain private.” According to NYT Seattle garbage collectors have been issued a manual on how to go about judging people’s trash, which e.g. explains the acceptable amount of unsorted garbage thus: “The radius squared and the height of the can must be multiplied by Pi (3.14) and then divided by 10.” So, definitely not an easy task. One of the lawyers for the plaintiffs describes part of the problem like this: “I try to police our garbage, but I have teenagers.”