Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I hate New York, love some people in it

I had another grandson yesterday (April 24, 2007).
Before you call the folks at the Guinness Book, what I mean to say is that my daughter had another son yesterday.
She lives in New York and there are some people in New York who are really nice.
What's the expression? These are the exceptions that prove the point.
First, everything about this kid, whose picture you can't help but see here, is wonderful. The people at Roosevelt Hospital and everyone connected with it or even near it was wonderful.
Even the guy who operates the parking garage (west on 59th street, the first one you come to) was great. Only $19 for seven hours' parking in New York -- are you kidding?? That's dirt cheap.
The folks at the hospital were first-class. No complaints.
Unfortunately, my daughter chose to give birth on a Tuesday. In her neighborhood, that's one of the days for New York City's version of the Twilight Zone: alternate side of the street parking.
For an hour and a half, all parking on one side of the street is verboten. That's all the streets in an area that has three times the population of, say, East Haven.
And how do the locals respond? They get in their cars and double-park on the legal side of the street and then go back home. It's like Boston's Back Bay on Saturday night. If you need to move your car in that 90-period -- well, you cannot.
Add in all the parking spaces taken up by workers for various companies, the beer truck parked in the middle of the street.
Picture in your mind: A street barely wide enough for two cars to squeeze by double-parked cars. All the streets are that narrow. Heading down one of the cowpaths, I see heading for me an 18-wheeler belonging to an outfit called something like Grocery Delivery Service. Carrying corn flakes, not emergency equipment to save thousands of lives. On he bears, although there's already a truck parked at the corner. To the right: a street blocked off for a school (no problem there) and to the left, a one-way street going the wrong way.
I had been driving around for a solid hour, trying to find a legal parking space. The local six-story high garage: full. No sleep for, at that time, about 30 hours. Rod Serling, where ever you are, are you listening?
Jump shift a few miles south to City Hall. There is Mayor Michael Bloomberg, trying to find money for the city. Here am I, with the solution.
New York has a law that says anyone who sounds a car horn gets a $350 fine.
Mike, old buddy, you can solve the city's fiscal problems: feed the hungry, house the homeless, build all the skyscrapers Donald Trump wants. All you have to do is enforce that horn-blowing ban for two weeks. Maybe less. Man, you can't live in New York for 10 seconds without some jerk (read that anyway you want: this column is rated PG) blowing his or her horn. Slow down to look for a parking space (BEEP). Don't move for three seconds after a light turns green (BEEP). Don't start moving in the four seconds before the light turns green (BEEP). And not a light tap on the horn either -- a real angry, five seconds long HONK.
Anyway, I'm grateful to the guys at the gas station at Broadway at 182nd Street who run a small parking lot to finally let me stop driving.
And I thank God that baby and mom are healthy and happy and all the rest of the family is, too. And I thank Him for helping me drive back home Tuesday night.
All in all, it was quite the day.

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