Category Archives: Daily Life

Friday in the City

A morning lie-in.  Check-in at choral rehearsal.  New shoes.  Tea with Jennifer Johnson Cano. Walk by the Dakota. Drink with Loo.  Dinner and Amalie with Robert Riordan.  Walk by the Wisconsin basketball team at the Westin.  Get my watch fixed at SWATCH in Times Square.

Just another Friday in New York City.

From the rehearsal hall.

With Loo!

From the subway:

From the hotel, morning and night:

I don’t like this

I don’t like this.

I do not desire this feeling of being besieged. 

I do not wish to continue being worried when I see a young black man on my street.

But damn — the shadow side of my usually upbeat disposition is in overdrive right now.

Yesterday afternoon, my keys were stolen from the front of the house. I saw three black boys run from my porch (I was in the kitchen and heard a noise) and escape down the street.

These boys obviously live nearby (most likely on the other side of Kingshighway), because ten minutes later they were back, with two others, and pushing the button on my car fob, trying to find which car that key worked.  

They saw me on the phone as I stood in my front door, and they ran.

Ten minutes later, they were back, but this time in full view of a half-dozen neighbors who had witnessed them running earlier, neighbors who were now standing guard and watching these teenagers preen in full view.  

The boys clearly don’t have any sense of consequences, or aren’t very smart, because we all saw what they were wearing, what their hairstyles were, and especially their youth — 14 or 15 at most.  

The police finally showed up after 30 minutes and four calls to 911.  The boys bolted. 

Today, a neighbor ran three of the same boys out of the alley behind my house, but ten minutes later, two of them were back, coming from a different direction, acting nonchalant. I took photos of them.  Four neighbors saw them as well.  

Their brazenness — in daylight, with people watching — is stupefying.  

The police finally arrived again.

I’ve had my house re-keyed, and the car will be re-keyed tomorrow.  911 has been roundly called by several of us (although that has not helped police response times, which are dismal).

Meanwhile, every young black man who walks down the block is getting scrutiny, and I’ve turned into my grandmother, peeking out of the drawn blinds.

I purchased a club for my steering wheel tonight.

This, I do not like.  

My bleeding-heart-liberal wants to see good in others, and wants to wonder what in the family or in society allows these kids to think that grand theft auto is acceptable, or a part of any future they can imagine.  What allows these kids to think that any kind of theft is an agreeable action?

But then I realize that these kids, for reasons understandable but unfathomable, may not see any future at all.

And they are kids, without the ability to see too far into the future.

I get all of the cause/effect that sociologists and psychologists will explain.  I can do the ‘splaining myself.

Then, the converse:

The shadow conservative in me, so long kept under wraps, wants to break their kneecaps and then castrate them.  Or at least pull their fingernails out of the thieving fingers, one by one.  This is the ‘I don’t like this’ feeling — I do not like lumping an entire group, of any kind, together, just based on the actions of a few.  

But that doesn’t make their actions any less fear-inducing, and I don’t like that feeling either.

I’m torn between redoubling my commitment to ‘live urban’ and a desire to flee to someplace where I won’t feel like I need to fear black boys walking down the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, the alarm is on.  Blinds are drawn.  Outdoor lights are on.  Neighbors have verified that their video surveillance systems are working.  SLUH is checking its video camera log from Monday.

And none of us on Lawn Place are appreciative that our little community is being disrupted by four or five thieving delinquents.

I don’t like this.

Arlington National Cemetery

I spent my last Washington DC morning at Arlington National Cemetery.

I paid respects to the Kennedys — John F., Bobby, and Ted, each flawed but great in their own ways.  Had any of these three guys had a full term as president of this country — or better yet, two! — we would be today a very different nation.

We walked over the Tomb of the Unknowns in time for my travel companion to see his first-ever Changing of the Guard.  And then two school groups performed the same wreath-laying ceremony that I did with Ball State University Singers 15 years ago.  Except this time a bugler played Taps.  And I cried.

After the crowd dispersed, I stayed for a moment in silent tribute and unspoken thanks.

NYC 2017

NYC 2017.
The Nor’easter That Wasn’t a Blizzard.

Mother Nature is entirely and utterly unpredictable.

New York City was bullseye for a mid-March Nor’easter, when a weather system from the south, and a cold snap from the west, both hit a cold Northeast.

The dire warnings last night were of 11-18 inches of snow, but possibly less, in which case sleet turning to rain.  New Yorkers flocked to the stores.  Ben Stroman posted about the line wrapping around the block to get into one particular Trader Joe’s, as people stocked for the storm.  A television interview last evening: “I have cat food and a bottle of Bailey’s.  What else do I need?  The cat will be happy, and I’ll not even notice the snow.”

So this morning we rose to 3-4 inches of snow, which at sunrise was turning to sleet.  School groups (I ran into Ellen Isom from Saint Louis, here with her day-job school group) were changing plans, finding indoor things to do rather than the Statue of Liberty and Central Park and the like.

Above-ground subway lines are suspended.  Many businesses are closed. The Met museum won’t open today.

But by Wednesday, all will be well.

The Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts showcase goes on as planned tonight at New World Stages, with public performance at 7.30 p.m., followed by an alumni reception.

And me?  Breakfast of pancakes and sausage.  Then a trip up the A-train to 72nd Street, and thence over to The Lake at Central Park to shoot photos of the Bow Bridge.  And treacherous roads and sidewalks and subway stairs in particular.

I’m safely back at the hotel, in my pajamas, and enjoying a quiet room whilst my traveling companion is still in Central Park shooting photos.

It’s 11 a.m. on a snow day in New York City.

8th Avenue, looking south, 7.45 a.m.

8th Avenue, looking north, 7.45 a.m.

View from hotel room, 8.30 a.m.

44th Street, looking east, 7.45 a.m.

8th Avenue, looking south, 7.45 a.m.

And from Central Park, the Bow Bridge in the sleet and snow:

The photo is unfiltered.  It’s just a gray day in New York City.