Letter From New York 07 16 15 Observations as I have wandered the town…

It has been a lovely day in New York City. The day dawned warm, sunny and not humid. As I walked up 93rd Street to the subway, I cherished every moment, looking up at the trees, moving slightly in the wind. People were out walking their dogs, chatting with them as they did morning duty. There is a bulldog I see occasionally; he has a face only a father could love. He walks sprightly with him on many a morning as I am making my way to Broadway and the subway.

As I took the 1 train to 28th, my car had scattered bunches of tourists. There was a young French couple, a small group of Germans; some folks with mid-western twangs. It is the fabric of the city this time of year. Later in the day there was a group of older tourists from Italy on Fifth Avenue, getting their bearings before strolling down the block.

Today, having only had a light dinner, I was hungry and stopped at the little Greek diner on the corner of 28th and 7th, appropriately called The Greek Corner. The menu has Santorini splashed across its cover. Once I asked the waitress if the owner came from Santorini. She shrugged and said: no, he’s from Sparta. I suspect he thought Santorini more beautiful than Sparta.

She is from Spain and was not terribly friendly at first but now she smiles a little when I come in. She now expects me not to need a menu though, like today, I sometimes ask for one. She always tries to serve me coffee even though I have never had a cup there.

Places like The Greek Corner are disappearing from New York City. There are articles in The Times chronicling their vanishing in all the boroughs.

As I was eating my food, another aspect of New York shuffled through the door, a homeless man, looking for water, smelling of dirt and urine. He was being respectful and the Spanish girl filled a cup for him with water and he shuffled away. It breaks my heart to see men and women like this, scattered all over the city.

As I walked down 7th Avenue to 30th, there is a woman who is there everyday, selling fruit. Yesterday, I wanted to ask her about her story, how she came to be selling fruit on 7th Avenue in New York, far from her homeland.

Since my last letter, a deal has been announced with Iran on its nuclear program. I am not sure how I feel about it, good or bad it is a path that is being played out. The Republicans and some Democrats have vowed to scuttle it and Obama says he will veto any legislation that will stop it. Rouhani of Iran is attempting to sell it through to his people and the all-powerful Ayatollah Khamenei. Neither of the men have an easy job.

The Iran drama has just reached a new stage and for some reason elicits a sense of exhaustion from me for reasons I can’t quite name. Despite the agreement, there is the reality of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US all vying for position in the Middle East.

The Great Game continues, I guess.

TLC has cancelled, officially, the suspended “19 Kids and Counting” after the oldest son admitted abusing five underage girls, including two of his sisters. There was a celebration on Twitter that was quite amazing, I’m told.

In Chattanooga, TN, a shooter was killed after he had killed four others. The man identified as the shooter has an Arabic sounding name and one official, at least, has said it probably is a case of domestic terrorism. It happened at a military facility. The young man was born in 1990, which would make him twenty-five. He was so young to choose a path of violence. What rage burned in him? In any of these young men and women who seem to find killing so easy?

To no one’s great surprise, Dylann Roof, accused in the Charleston killing of nine churchgoers, had a troubled childhood. He grew more silent and withdrawn as time went on, using drugs and having non-violent run-ins with the law.

Tomorrow, North American Muslims will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims. There will be gifts given and much family time enjoyed.

The potential for hate crimes makes it hard for some to enjoy. Recently, a man in New York fractured the jaw of a 19-year-old Muslim woman, while spewing anti-Muslim remarks.

As I write this, the world is waiting for the verdict in the case of James Holmes, who killed twelve and injured seventy in a shooting in a theater showing “Batman” in Aurora, Colorado. Before I post this, we should know.

Tomorrow is the year anniversary of the downing of MH17, brought to earth over Ukraine. There are at least two investigations going on. One has indicated it believes the most likely scenario is that Ukrainian separatists brought down the plane. There is talk of a UN Tribunal. Mr. Putin thinks it “premature.”

Lest we forget, Emmy nominations were announced today. Streaming services rise and broadcast slips in numbers of nominations.

The phone has buzzed three times. The verdict is in for James Holmes; he is guilty of murder and faces the death penalty.

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