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Trees down, some damage, evidence of the high-water mark by the river, and the George Washington Bridge devoid of cars.
Through a sequence of events over the past few years, Lockjaw’s Spouse has advanced in her career and education to the point where she was able to land a job at a great New York City charter school. As a result, we have left North Carolina behind and moved the family to Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan. While North Carolina will always be home, New York City has much to offer even the grumpiest of ogres.
I am now 5 days into my new life in the city. The wife arrived a few days after I did, having spent 5 weeks studying with Father Reginald Foster, the greatest latinist in the world. We are now getting to know the neighborhood, exploring the nearby blocks for interesting places, and planning our apartment.
There are many ways that New York City is different from North Carolina. Some are good, and some are just plain weird. For instance, when you get a beer with your meal in a restaurant in New York the waiter must pour a bit of beer into your glass so that, ostensibly, the beer is not being served from the bottle.
One of my favorite things about New York City is signage. There are billboards. There are multi-colored signs above nearly every store. There are neon signs in the windows. North Carolina’s cities are creating more and more sign ordinances, which have always driven me crazy. My hometown of Sanford is one of the worst, though Cary has the most well-known. Limitations on signs are unusually strong. As a consumer trying to find a store, it can be very troubling to drive back and forth looking for a particular store only to discover that the sign is a small block on a larger, yet still small sign conglomerate with no real differentiation in font, color, or visibility. Small businesses are harmed by government regulation that does not allow them to set themselves apart from the other stores nearby, or make themselves identifiable from the road.
New York is not this way. Signs are part of the flavor of the city. What would Times Square be without the billboards but a plaza amongst tall buildings?
On the other hand, New York places benches all arounds its parks, but does not allow you to sit on one near a children’s playground unless you have children of your own. This is supposed to prevent child predators from being around the children, but I have a hard time believing that this is truly effective. This prior restraint on law-abiding citizens isn’t going to prevent the miniscule minority of perverts (perverts being a minority of the citizenry, and predators being a minority of the perverts) from finding children. Face it, if they can have police to ticket people for sitting on provided benches, why can’t they have them to watch for predators?
One of the greatest things about New York City is food. Food is everywhere. In my two trips to the city, and my short time since moving here, I have had some of the most amazing meals I have ever eaten. The HK Fritata at Hell’s Kitchen’s HK Diner was great. The sushi at two different restaurants was the best I have ever eaten. Junior’s cheesecake truly deserves its “best in the city” reputation. Last night I had “Enchiladas al Vino” at a mexican-influenced restaurant west of Broadway in Washington Heights that amazed me. Imagine my surprise when the lady at the Dunkin Donuts told me the delicious cuban sandwich I had up the street was “no good” before telling me where to find one better.
I look forward to discovering more about the city. I am loving the neighborhood. I am loving the neighbors. I love the subway system, and the grid layout of the streets.
It’s a good day.