Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vicissitudes of New York

I went into the Food Depot deli on 5th Avenue near 19th Street two days ago and REM's "Losing My Religion" was playing. I went in again today and the same song was playing. Kismet or someone just setting the same playlist to repeat all day, everyday?

Along with the MTA's stealth service cuts (the cleanliness [or lack thereof] of the subways are starting to remind me of the 1970s), the Postal Service has obviously cut back not only on the number of mailboxes, but on the number of pickups at mailboxes. Several times over the past few months I have attempted to mail a letter here in the Flatiron District only to find that the mailbox (once I could find one) was stuffed so full that one couldn't even open the door.

Scaffolding has multiplied in the Flatiron District over the past few weeks. Many building owners are apparently investing some money in repairing their buildings. This is, perhaps, a sign of some confidence that the economy is headed in the right direction?

I am contemplating the prospect of carrying around a picture of the child I sponsor in Chile through Children International. The reason to do so would be to ward off the sidewalk fundraisers for the organization who have taken-up their positions around Union Square and other neighborhood locations. They have tough jobs (I used to be a door-to-door canvasser for a few different organizations in the early 1980s), but it is tiresome to have to put them off a few times each day. This sidewalk fundraising has become more and more common over the past few years. I suppose it raises public awareness of the work of the organizations engaged in this type of fundraising, but it has also added to the already large sum of things competing for one's attention as one walks down the street in New York.

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