Manhattan Bridge, 10:30pm last night
Those of you who don’t keep track of these things should know there’s a transit strike in Manhattan right now, which really has to be experienced to be believed. I guess the equivalent in the rest of America is to have all four tires slashed and nobody to fix them, and it’s up to you to get to work sixteen miles away in the dead of winter. Oh, and all of your friends’ tires are slashed too.
You can’t drive into Manhattan without three other people in your car until 11am, and entire city avenues are closed to normal traffic. Out front of my apartment today, the normally-quiet side street was gridlocked with furious horn-honking. You’d think, in this era of nanotechnology and obsession with efficiency, that it would be hard to shut down one of the most important cities in the world, but MAN IS IT EASY!
Being a softie, a leftie, and a commie, my temptation is to side with the striking workers, but their demands seem (to this layman, anyway) to be a bit extreme, with ridiculous retirement ages, a payment structure that fucks new arrivals, and a median income that puts many of my friends to shame. That, and the head of the Transit Workers Union seems like an enormous boob, shouting into the cold wind demanding “respect.”
Then again, the MTA apparently pulled some last-second pension demand that would only save them $20 million, which is infintessimally small given the billions NYC is now losing every night with the strike.
Like I said, I’m sure there are things I don’t understand, but this time, both parties are leaving a funny taste in my mouth. It’s damn near impossible, with a city that has so many competing agendas and penis-measuring contests, built on sediment comprised of favors, payoffs, Mob contacts and lazy corruption – to find the truth. As I always tell Tessa, I’m amazed, in any given apartment in the East Village, that you turn on a faucet and actual water comes out.
In the meantime, it’s a few days before Christmas and the city has slowed to a glacial crawl. My entire family just got here from California and Iowa, and they’ll have to be creative to get into Midtown to buy underpriced musical electronics. As for us, we’re getting out of here, even if the first two hours of the trip take four hours. I have a pine sapling to cut down and adorn with bizarre pagan knick-knacks.