Letter From New York February 3, 2014

Letter From New York
February 3, 2014
Or, as it seems to me…

It has been quite some time since there has been a letter from New York. Fall has collapsed into winter; holidays have come and gone. The creek, in the midst of the polar vortex, has frozen for the first time in recent memory. Canadian geese swarmed the unfrozen portion, having failed to migrate south, caught in the unexpected fierceness of this winter, a winter that has blasted the Midwest and turned Atlanta into the world’s largest parking lot.

The wheel of life has kept turning. Babies have been born and Mandela died, marking the end of an era, the last of the great non-violent protestors gone – a man who made his mark with quiet resistance while in prison and who went on to lead his nation into what all hoped would be a better time.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Academy Award winning actor, was found dead on Sunday in his West Village apartment, a drug syringe in his arm, heroin nearby, another victim of drug overdose. Amanda Knox, the young American woman was found guilty again of murder but will only go back to Italy kicking and screaming. Found guilty once, then the guilty verdict was overturned and then she was found guilty again. Will there be another appeal? How long can this go on?

The Pope continues to amuse and confound while giving the appearance of actually making changes in the most unchangeable of organizations. He appears to be a breath of fresh air while remaining a doctrinal conservative; a fact pointed out pointedly by the New York Post this past week.

Downton Abbey has made its return; season five has been ordered for next year and it seems there is no one who is not interested in the family Crawley. Netflix still grows, becoming ever more ubiquitous and the world waits for the return of House of Cards while Orange Is the New Black continues to be water cooler conversation for many.

Hudson has been extolled in the New York Times, its clever shops praised [it is time to do a fresh walk down Warren Street], its dining scene celebrated. It is the center of “rurbanism,” a comingling of “urban-rural confluence.” It’s a buzzword conceived by Ann Marie Gardner and prominently quoted in the NY Times article on January 16th of this year, front page of the Home section. Everything is town seems to be “curated.”

According to the article, there is a great buzz about Hudson, something almost anyone who has been about the last ten years could have told you. But the noise now is louder. The “Hudson Secret” is out.

About the time Hudson was splashed across the pages of the Times so, too, was Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, the Republican frontrunner for Presidential candidate in 2016 – at least he was until one of his aides decided to “get back” at the Mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey with a mammoth traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge into New York City. Then came the accusations by the Mayor of Hoboken that Hurricane Sandy money would be delayed unless she played along with some urban development about which she had misgivings. Poor Chris Christie has gone from being the man of the moment to being booed at a Super Bowl rally. He looked rather glum while Cuomo of New York was downright ebullient when kidding back and forth with the new Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.

Fortunes change quickly in the political arena. Christie was fighting for a nomination and now is struggling for survival over “Bridgegate.”

And fortunes were won and lost over the Super Bowl, the annual football extravaganza that had the New York Police working overtime to cut down on vice before the Big Game. The Seahawks won in a landslide, as Peyton Manning seemed frozen on the field. The game proved the importance of live television events, once more.

All this has gone on since the last LFNY. The world has kept on moving without this missive. But it will be back more frequently, now that declarative sentences have been conquered.

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