I’ve been following an ongoing saga in the New York Times concerning a local McDonald’s restaurant in Queens and how elderly Koreans in the neighborhood have taken over the place as their community hub.
This new, “old,” gang doesn’t really buy anything and they stay all day long taking up space and not making any money for the business. There’s a Senior Citizen Community Center nearby, with van service for those who cannot walk that far, but the retired don’t want to go there because it’s in a Church basement.
The one thing you take away from reading about this ongoing conflict between elder entitlement and the business needs of McDonald’s is that the old people — like the Millennials behind them — believe they have the freedom and the right to sit wherever they want, and linger as long as they wish, with no repercussion whatsoever. Asking them to leave to make room for others is a cultural slap in the face that will not be tolerated.
Today, as I casually pondered what I would do with my day off, I had a jolting moment that I’m sure many people in the tri-state area have experienced. I thought to myself that maybe I would head over to my beach, particularly its recreation areas– and then was struck with the memory that I couldn’t.
Yesterday, I received the one phone call I’d been dreading for over 30 years: “Howard Stein is dead.” It turns out Howard died back on October 14, 2012 after an eight-day hospitalization, but I didn’t learn of his death until yesterday. I knew he was deathly ill the last year, and when his surgeon recently refused to do a final operation, Howard told me his heart had finally turned against him and become a “ticking time bomb.”
As I paged back through my calendar for the last six weeks to memorialize the final events of my life with Howard, I reflected back on our final telephone conversation on October 1, 2012. He told me how much he appreciated the letter I wrote celebrating his 90th birthday. He said he read the letter every day. That meant a lot to me. He was my master.
One the first day of October, Howard and I left it that Janna and I would visit him in Stamford, and that he would check his doctor schedule and call me back to let us know what day would work best.
I never heard from him again.
A week later he was in the hospital — never to see the sky again.
As you can see in the graphic below, I tried to call him on October 5th and 11th to check on our visit date. There was nobody home when I called. On October 22 and November 13 I wrote him letters — our one, ancient, guaranteed way of always getting in touch when time and tide and humanity and the phones failed us — to inquire about the visit.
I had no idea was writing to a dead man.
Now I know how Bartleby really felt working in the Dead Letter Office.
Monday night, at 11:00 pm sharp in Jersey City, New Jersey, the lights went out and stayed off until last night at 7:43pm. That’s three days without power or heat. Hurricane Sandy was a massively nasty beast, and we’re just now starting the recovery process. We are hungry and scavenging for food. Supermarkets are closed. Few places have power.
I read something interesting online a while ago, but I can’t remember the source material. The gist of the story was that the pre-recorded automated announcements you hear in train stations – and other public transit hubs and modes — are purposefully driven by subconscious sexual stereotypes. The female voices you hear provide “information” about the current stop and next stop, while the pre-recorded male voices give you warnings and orders like, “Get out of the way!”
I had high hopes for Verizon and their LTE network when I first unboxed my new iPad. I knew the LTE spec could be as high as 20Mbps down and 10Mbps up — but I’d settle for half of those numbers. I’d read reports that people were getting LTE speeds in NYC of 10Mbps down and 6Mbps up and I’d love to be able to live that fast on the web.
Unfortunately, my initial tests in Jersey City were lousy, and yesterday, I did some informal LTE testing around Bryant Park in New York City. You’d think at 6th Avenue and 40th Street you’d have a saturating LTE signal from Verizon. Here are the results of my first, dismal, test: Two Verizon LTE bars and 1.7Mbps down and 1.47Mpbs up. Ugh. That’s miserable 3G territory!
Years ago, when I was teaching at several New Jersey colleges and universities, a few of my students randomly confided in me how they felt purposefully ripped off by their Newark college admission offices. They believed they were tricked into studying in Newark instead of New York City.