There were the musings by Martin Lastrapes on his various successful publications and credits, travel tidbits by Lord John F. Buckley on Facebook, and the new blog by John Brantingham, which included a Youtube elegy on the loss of Pluto as a planet and a shot of his dog, Archie, swinging his cojones. There were the postings of Andrew Turner, who is learning to claim and hold his energy, and the food blog by Christie Bishop, in which she gives blend by blend instructions in the creation of beautiful flag-waving sheet cakes.
But I digress. I wanted to write about New York.
Remember the New York of pushy people, Brooklynese accents, honking horns, cabbies with air fresheners hanging from the rear view mirrors and last names spelled with the symbols for boron? Remember the New York where the Jews, the Italians and the Irish fought for domination, the Poles/Germans and Puerto Ricans/Dominicans were at war, the Chinese ruled Chinatown, and just about everyone, in good nature, hated each other?
Gone. All gone.
It's a new New York now and the denizens seem content to slog their way through the sweltering subway platforms to air conditioned trains without hurling endearing insults or big-mouthed jibes. The once cutting edge shop windows of 5th Avenue now feature the same fashions I saw in shop windows in Chino Hills the night before I left for the east coast. The Big Apple has become PC and a corporate homogeny.
*Every second block has its own branch of Chase, the people who ate up over 7 billion dollars of our good-faith deposits.
*Most city blocks house either a Subway Sandwich Shop,
a Dunkin' Donuts, a Baskin-Robbins, a Starbucks or all four.
Where are the delis? Where is the cheesecake? I found Eli's coffee cake at the 42nd Street Market, but no cheesecake. Who does a girl have to ____ in Manhattan to get a piece of authentic New York style cheesecake?
Most people look haunted, scared, stressed, even panicked. They are hot, they are tired, there are too many languages spoken to argue with each other. I barely heard a lick of English. And no, don't tell me it's because New Yorkers leave New York in the summer. I'm talking about the shopkeepers, the sellers of Sabretts, the push cart men, the cops, the agents in the subway stations, the doormen and the dog walkers.
Oh woe is me when the cadence and the kvetching lilt of the language that I could count on as a little girl, either walking the streets of New York or browsing the stalls in Farmer's Market on Fairfax and Third, are GONE. I tried to explain it to my son. Ever the diplomat, he smiled in empathic accord, but his eyes registered incomprehension. Perhaps one day his ears will miss the hum of the multinational, world cacophony that is now New York.
The old New York is dead. Long live the new New York.