We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, December 2. 2012
Bridgeport last weekend, Manhattan this weekend. Yeah, we get around to all the hot spots.
We stopped in to see a (rarely-produced, and I think for good reason) off-B'way Chekhov play Ivanov. Impressive cast, as they always have there because even famous but serious film actors always long to do classic stage. Ethan Hawke writes novels, too, in his spare time and plays lead guitar in a rock band.
Mrs. BD observed that, had Prozac been available in Russia in 1885, the play would not have been written. (Chekhov, the son of a serf, worked as a physician his whole adult life, wrote his plays and stories as a sideline, and died young.)
My point is that I was seated next to two extremely cute and jovial 20-something gals, so naturally I had to chat with them a little. They were from Bulgaria, were working in New York. Student visas, now Green Cards. Where did they go to school? University of Bridgeport! Math majors, cute as buttons with shapely legs in black stockings which I refused to notice. They had a Russian gal friend with them who worked at the same famous investment fund. The Russki gal went to Univ. of Moscow, same as Chekhov, and had a PhD in Physics from MIT. All spoke the (accented) King's English, loved going to theater but were "sick of Broadway musicals" so were going around to all the off-Broadway they could. One every weekend. Wonderful - from Bulgaria to Bridgeport to Wall St. to off-Broadway theater. Only in America.
They found it amusing that I had been taking pics of Sandy's damage to Seaside Park just last weekend, right next to the sad Bridgeport campus.
Before the play, we had a little spare time to grab a bite so we found a counter space at The Oyster Bar, my favorite seafood place in NY. This venerable place in the bowels of Grand Central Station posts a daily list of the 25-30 varieties of oysters they have that day. (They always have Wellfleets.) Mrs. had their famous oyster stew but I had New England clam chowder of course. Pure fresh clam, no extraneous ingredients. The aspiring actor and actress wait staff work their butts off, as do the mostly-hispanic helpers. Busy place, always under-staffed I think.
I heard a beautiful Scots accent from the three gals seated at the counter on my right so I had to say something friendly (because, as everyone knows, NY is a cold, tough city and it is my mission to dispel that idea). They were a Mom and her two adult daughters touring the US for ten days with three teen daughters (who were not lunching with them as they had taken the shuttle to the West Side, then the Broadway line up to the Museum of Natural History - Scots are adventurous people). They all lived outside Edinburgh. I asked them how they found the Oyster Bar. Friends at home had enjoyed it, they told me. They were having Olympia oysters on the half shell, and mixed seafood salads. I've never met a dour Scot, but they do drink a bit so you can't tell. They were having champagne with lunch.
Heading north last night back up to Yankeeland on the train, the conductor was a Chinese gal with a slight accent. She was too busy for me to ask her where she was from. A gal Chinese conductor? The world has changed.
I love it all. As long as it is legal, and they study our Constitution seriously. The whole world wants to come here, especially at Christmastime. Not for freebies or the fun, but for the opportunities too. Our energetic legal immigrants are not interested in entitlements, but many of our home-grown voters seem to be.
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Did you see where NYC went all day with no murders? You couldnt pay me enough to go there
Just gang-bangers shooting eachother in the projects in the Bronx. 99% of NYC is quite civil these days.
According to 2011 FBI Uniform Crime Reports by City, of the 34 cities with a population greater than 500,000, 24 have a murder rate greater than New York City's [6.3 murders per 100,000]. Using your criteria, there are 24 cities in addition to NYC that you would not consider visiting- let alone live in.
City Murder Rate
Washington DC 17.5
Oklahoma City 9.9
Los Angeles 7.7
Louisville Metro 7.2
San Antonio 6.6
Fort Worth 6.3
New York 6.3
San Francisco 6.1
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 5.6
San Jose 4.1
San Diego 2.9
El Paso 2.4
Dr M.: most commenting software enables one to copy/paste MS Access with cell separation. Apparently this software does not.
I will take the unpopular stand of siding with bgarrett.
Although at some point I may end up getting dragged kicking and screaming to NYC by my Significant Other, I see little to be gained by visiting the Big City. Crowds, lines, congestion, traffic, outrageous prices, smelly air? Who needs it?
As for immigration, hard working Latinos, Asians and Somalis have flocked to the largest town near me to better their lives. In the process they have changed the political makeup of the county from deep red to light blue. IOW they vote in overwhelming numbers for the welfare state.
There is no way one can logically be an advocate of small government and unlimited immigration in the 21st century because the latter will prevent the former.
Paul Harvey said it best. He called it, "swamping the lifeboat".
Or to put it another way, don't overstock the pasture with cows. Just allow the cows that are there to get a little fatter.
I sit somewhere in the middle. Having lived near, and worked in, NYC for the last 28 years, I'm quite full of it. If I had my preference, I'd visit twice a year and make it full of pre-arranged appointments.
I enjoy strolling Central Park.
I love walking NYC streets.
But I agree that the lines and the pushiness of some of its inhabitants are just a bit too much.
I don't consider crime a problem, let alone an issue worth discussing - I've been coming here since I was a teen and have never had anything happen to me. I've seen a few 'incidents', but nothing major.
I just prefer a slower pace. Well, I do now, anyway. NYC is a young person's city. If you're between the ages of 20 and 35, I highly recommend it. Particularly if you enjoy museums and clubs.
But I'm getting tired of it. An hour and a half commute (longer lately due to Sandy) is just a bit too much in both directions to be able to wake up each day and say "Wow! I get to work in a really cool city!"
It's true, I do work in a really cool city. But somewhere around the tunnels, you start dozing off again and the excitement wears off.
There are many things in NYC that I could not do without having some kind of access to - the free films outdoors during the summer, the High Line, great restaurants, etc.
But that doesn't mean I have to live here. As BD pointed out in his post, the girls were coming in from Bridgeport, CT. I could've written a similar story with girls coming from Philadelphia, PA, or Sussex, NJ. The access to the city makes it a wonderful destination, and not one you MUST go to, but one you should try to enjoy when you have the opportunity.
Well, then, you're missing one of the great treats of life. Having grown up in Ohio I was loathe to move to NYC but have never regretted a moment spent in the wonderful big city.
In re: Bird Dogs meeting of immigrants and passers through I'm struck by the energy these people exhibit. Of course, it may just be that it's the best of other countries who are most attracted to America, or it just be that they are unencumbered by the victim mentality of the native born. They are adventurous sorts, and not whiners.
Maybe we should just drop every American of a certain age, 25 or so, off in some godforsaken place somewhere on earth, give them five bucks and our best wishes, and tell them that if they can make it home they can be citizens.
They had a Russian gal friend with them who worked at the same investment fund.
See, them dang commie descendants coming to America to do the jobs Liberal Arts major Americans won't do. Okay, the Liberal Arties can't do the job but they tell themselves they won't do the job, huddled in their tent, occupying Wall Street. All the while Bulgarians and Russians are making themselves at home on Wall Street.
Stole my comment, but forgiven because yours is much more colorful.
A delightful Sunday essay. Hard to say which I find more appealing, the culture of the big city or the people attracted to it.
Thanks for the picture of the Oyster Bar--would have preferred the two Bulgarians and their Russian friend--three beautiful and smart women in the prime of their cosmopolitan lives. It does the old heart good.
I had to say something friendly (because, as everyone knows, NY is a cold, tough city and it is my duty to dispel that idea)
I have spent enough time in NYC over the years, courtesy of cousins who live in SoHo, to have had the experience of a tourist asking ME directions.
It took me a number of trips to NYC before I had a good mental map of the subway system. Before I had that mental map, when I was down below in the subway system, looking around to try to orient myself, New Yorkers would invariably come up to me and ask, "May I help you?" And they could help me. The helpful New Yorker is much more common than the stereotype suggests.
These days, I find walking around in the big city sufficient entertainment. You never know what you are going to find. Walking in the direction of Chinatown to encounter a Chinese bakery to purchase some street-munching pastries may be an exception to the previous sentence.
Thanks for the inspiring post Mr. BD. For some reason, your article makes me feel happy all over. Let's see, was I more inspired by the pure clam, with no extraneous ingredients, the Chekhov play or the very cute 20 something gals with the legs you didn't notice? Well, you packaged it all so well, it's hard to say. OK, I will. Thank God for smart, ambitious and beautiful young ladies coming to work or go to school here. Obviously, the government isn't paying much attention, if it was, them gals might get deported. So, we better keep it our secret.
They are legal. Legal is good. Legal tender is good. Tender young legal is best.
Another hearty vote for the pure clam and for the 20 somethings and for NYC on a good day or days. New York would also find it impossible to pay bgarrett to go there. When you go to New York, you pay New York. But you do get value for money. Here in Seattle I would do almost anything for some 2nd Ave Deli pastrami.
I first went to NY City in 1960 with a friend. We had a roundtrip ticket and plans to go to the peppermint lounge and party. We had no reservations, no money and no experience in NY. We were told we could sleep in one of the many cheap all night theaters and we probably could have but someone told the thugs of NY City that stupid out of town teens were sleeping in the all night theaters and were easy marks. So after a few close calls we decided to go to grans central station and sleep on the benches. We met some of NY's finest who actually do hit the bottom of your feet with their billy clubs to wake you up. Kind of rude I thought. Appearently it isn't acceptable to sleep in Grand Central Station. Two nights and two days in NY City, never did get into the Peppermint lounge the lines were too long. Never did get much sleep. Saw a lot of NYCity. Slept on the flight back home.