Category Archives: New York Life
Don’t tell me that I live in a bubble.
If I lived in a bubble, I might believe that Muslims were some terrifying alien Other that I see on Fox TV, coming to blow up my family and put the bits under Sharia Law, instead of being the co-workers who shared their Friday night Ramadan meal; or the man with the Halal cart, immigrant entrepreneur with a small business, living the American dream, taking a break to bow toward Mecca; or the neighbor walking her daughter to practice, with a soccer ball and a hijab.
If I lived in a bubble, I might believe that all blacks and Hispanics are like those rampaging animals I see on Fox News: welfare queens, young bucks, living in the cities, smashing windows, looting stores, selling drugs, living off the hard work of people like me. Except for the ones who live in my town, dress exactly like I do, act exactly like I do, agree with everything I say. They’re One Of The Good Ones, and they’re how I know I’m not racist.
If I lived in a bubble I might believe that there’s only one way to be a man, and that it’s been the same way since forever.
Or that 97% of the scientists in the world are just pretending to be terrified by climate change as part of a Chinese conspiracy.
I might believe that it infringes on my freedom of religion for an old woman to have the right to be at the side of the love of her life as the last few minutes of fifty years count down to the beeping of a heart monitor. I might believe that I’m being persecuted if the law requires me to serve gay customers at my bakery or florist shop, and doesn’t allow me to turn them away like my grandparents turned black people away from the lunch counter; or that them damn queers have special rights if they can’t be fired or evicted just for what they are. I might believe that The Gay is a thing that can be cured – or that needs to be.
I might think that three children, siblings, adopted out of foster care as a group so the family could stay together, should be taken away from the men they call “Daddy and Papa” because all gays are child molesters.
I might believe that impoverished, dying small towns (but hardworking and white!) whose industry left a generation ago were paying the bills for the vast and thriving cities, instead of the other way around.
I might even believe that whites, straights, Christians, and men are the only people still oppressed in America, because I have no perspective on pain.
I could live in a bubble if I wanted to. I’m white, straight, male, middle-aged and middle-class.
I could collect my white-collar paycheck, enjoy my white-collar tax cut, cash in on my stock options while the market is high. I could go to Broadway shows and movies at Alamo Drafthouse, eat meals at fine steakhouses during Restaurant Week, go to little places in Chinatown where the locals go, and not give a shit about the wider world unless and until it came for me.
Do I live in a bubble? I don’t live in the neighborhoods where poverty and despair fill the air like the smell of garbage. Where the criminals are the only ones with any money, and the City lets the streets crumble. No, I follow close on the leading edge of gentrification, and when people like me move into a neighborhood, the City starts to care.
That’s the bubble I live in. But it’s a bigger bubble than the one you live in, with a lot more people in it who are not like me. So don’t tell me that I live in a bubble just because my bubble isn’t the same as yours.
Even more true now than it was one year ago. These people are my neighbors, and this Nazi talk about a Muslim Registry – to say nothing about the fact that an open Anti-Muslim bigot has been made National Security Advisor – enrages me.
A month or two ago, I gave up commenting on political blogs, and cut back severely on even reading them. I was developing a bad case of Internet Rage Addiction. I was wasting precious, irreplaceable hours out of my life writing long, angry comments in the hopes of scoring points against people who were wrong on the internet instead of writing material I could actually publish. I was stressed and angry. I was even missing sleep. I had to quit for my own health. A few nasty fights and some irreconcilable differences with people who’d been on my side to that point, along with the closing of Pandagon, made it easy.
Then yesterday morning, some stupid bigot on my Facebook friends list posted that cute R. Lee Ermey meme that’s going around about “loosing” America to “goat humpers”. I’m not going to link to it, still less repost…
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So last Saturday was my sister’s birthday, or at least it was the day we celebrated it, and we celebrated it by gathering with a few of her friends for lunch at South Street Seaport Smorgasburg. The original plan was to play a bit of mini golf after, but with the Sun beating down, my sister changed her mind. Wisest thing for her really; she burns even easier than I do.
Instead, Red Molly and I set out for a walk in the park. Specifically, we walked up the East River Greenway to 34th Street, then crossed the island to get on the A line for home. A good six mile walk or so, which is a good thing, since I ate far too much during the festivities. Along the way, I got some marvelous shots looking out from the Lower East Side, and I thought I would share.
First, the very beginning of our journey, right at the southern point of Manhattan, by South Street Seaport.
The path you see is the Greenway itself, and most of you will recognize the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground. Here’s a picture of it taken looking across the river to Brooklyn.
In the background in the Manhattan Bridge. Here’s a better look at that.
A little further up, where Greenway widens into a rather lovely park, we passed this rather lovely amphitheatre:
I don’t know if it has a name. I looked for a plaque, but didn’t find one. It was under repair, so maybe I’ll be able to find one on a later visit.
Next, an interesting view of the Williamsburg Bridge:
Then just a few more pictures of the Greenway itself as we neared the end of our journey at 34th street:
It’s easy to get lost in the concrete canyons living day to day in this city. Easy to forget that beauty like this is part of New York. But as much as we love it, the Greenway is just a park. Red Molly and I saw something much more unusual this past weekend. A true hidden corner of New York. Stay tuned.