Ecce Cuomo

It may seem strange to have so political a reaction to the death of a spouse, but I find myself, in the wake of my wife Alison Bowles’s recent untimely death, seeing the world through her eyes. And she was, if anything, a politically opinionated person whose perspective on the world permanently changed the way I look at it. I’ve certainly done my share of entirely private grieving for her (and have a long way to go), but I can’t help feeling an imperative to preserve what I regard as her distinctive outlook on the world beyond our marriage.

This story in The New York Times about Andrew Cuomo strikes a particular chord.

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“If You Can Make It Here…” Thoughts on Life in “The City”

I saw the Op-Ed below in The New York Times the other day, arguing that those who “deserted” New York City during the pandemic, and now wish to return, ought to be “punished” by having to pay a resettlement tax. The author writes as though he suffered some great, distinctive hardship, and/or enacted some great act of social justice or virtue by staying in New York when others left.

I’m not really sure what he’s talking about, or what he thinks he’s talking about. Judging from what he writes, he did nothing of significance but stay in Brooklyn, suffering nothing more significant than what most New Yorkers suffer for living where they do. How it is that departure from such a place should mark one out for punishment is nowhere explained in the article–mostly, I suspect, because there is no explanation to be given. If people followed the author’s “advice,” immigration from the developing world would end tomorrow. We would all stay in the shitholes in which we found ourselves. That the author is content to do so is his problem, no one else’s. Someone ought to tell him.

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The Guardian Angels: High Noon in Brooklyn

Diligent readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of Curtis Sliwa and his much-maligned organization, the Guardian Angels. So, depressing as the recent rash of anti-Semitic attacks in the NYC metro area has been, I was pleased to encounter this item online (ht: Chris Santo):

The Guardian Angels, a private, unarmed crime-prevention group, said it would start patrolling New York City’s Brooklyn borough on Sunday following a series of anti-Semitic attacks.

Curtis Sliwa, who founded the organization in 1979 in New York City, said the patrols would start at noon in the Crown Heights neighborhood and expand to Williamsburg and Borough Park later in the day.

There’s a lot of bad blood between the Guardian Angels and the NYPD, and between the Angels and the press, or at least the left-leaning press. A huge heap of horseshit has been written about the “vigilante” character of the Guardian Angels, or going to the other extreme, about its hapless ineffectiveness as a crime fighting organization. It all seems pointless to me. I don’t get the hostility. Continue reading

“Twin Towers, Twin Memories”

For the last eighteen years, Chris Sciabarra has been writing up a kind of blog-based micro-history of 9/11 as seen from the Gravesend section of Brooklyn, where he lives. Here’s a link to the whole archive, from September 2001 to September 2019, which I highly recommend.

I happened to be at Casa Sciabarra as Chris was putting the final touches on the most recent installment in the series, “Zack Fletcher: Twin Towers, Twin Memories“– about fraternal twins, Zackary and Andre Fletcher, both members of the FDNY, the New York City Fire Department. Sadly, Andre perished on duty as a result of the attack. The post consists of an interview with Zack, reflecting on the meaning of the day and the loss of his brother. If you read one thing about 9/11 today, I’d suggest reading this.

Grand Theft Rear View Mirror

Somebody tried to steal my car the other night in New York City. He (or she, but more likely a he) didn’t manage to pull it off, but having put that much time and energy into the job, I guess he decided to steal my driver’s side rear-view mirror while he was at it.

This gives me a lifetime 0-3 (or maybe 3-0) record on car thefts: 3 attempts to steal cars of mine, all failures. (Well, one of them was my Mom’s car, but I used it to deliver newspapers, so I thought of it as partly mine.)

Actually to be perfectly candid, I once drove by a car-jacking-in-progress, also in New York City, but I don’t know how it turned out: I was looking for parking en route to a Joe Satriani concert, and didn’t pause to see the outcome. (I didn’t call the cops, either; we were already late to the show. So much for the Parable of the Good Samaritan!) Continue reading

God Bless the Child Who’s Got His Own Epi-Pen

I don’t like to pre-judge a legal case before it’s been adjudicated. So instead of pre-judging this case, I’m going to wonder about it out loud in as non-judgmental fashion as I can muster, playing the role of a chatty, colloquial, self-appointed investigator tasked with getting “to the bottom” of the matter, but in a sense of that broader than the narrowly legal.

Suppose that you’re a pre-school given the responsibility of caring for a child with a severe dairy allergy–severe enough to kill him if he eats the wrong thing. Death, I assume, is a serious matter, and merits being taken seriously. So I’d assume that you’d take measures to flag the child during lunch or snack, and make sure he doesn’t eat the wrong thing. If his dietary restrictions were merely a matter of finicky tastes or even religious dogma, you could afford to slip a bit. But if the restriction is a matter of life and death, you couldn’t. So I would make sure that someone was tasked with giving him a non-dairy meal. Or something like that.

But suppose that you do slip, and feed a severely allergic child a grilled cheese sandwich. The child now shows signs of going into anaphylactic shock. Preliminary question, not meant to be rhetorical: do you know what anaphylaxis is? Continue reading