Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

The Future Dispossessed

TAGS: None

It’s hard to imagine what the future of the city holds, because it’s hard to imagine what my future holds.

I watch ninety-story mausolea rise into the sky, knowing that they are physical proof not only of the absolute obscene wealth this world and our economy has allowed to funnel into the hands of a few, but also of the fact that no matter how rich property developers are, they will never pay skilled artisans and craftsmen to beautify those buildings as so many previous generations have. I know that they will not house (m)any living souls, constructed as they were as a form of warehousing money should certain regimes in the homelands of certain obscenely wealthy moguls belly up. I know that they are merely the extremely tall tip of an iceberg.

This graphic is shamelessly lifted from Vanity Fair. It’s pleasing, however, to be able to see all the money siphoned from us working stiffs from just about any vantage in the metro area.

The portion visible of this iceberg is, of course, the general gentrification of the entire city of New York, where there is not one neighborhood, be it the boarding rooms of Brownsville or the tenements of Tremont, in which the median rent is under $1,000 a month, despite the minimum wage in New York currently being pegged at $8.00 an hour. To do the math, $8 times 40 times 52 equals $16,640 – before taxes, natch – and rent is supposed to be pegged at 1/40th annual income, so a full-time worker would only be short by about $600 every first of the month, assuming he didn’t have to eat, commute, wash or clothe himself. If by some miracle the lack of all those necessities still allowed him to find a partner of equal standing (or if de Blasio manages to shame Cuomo into granting the city the right to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour) he would still be short $200 to live within the confines of the five boroughs. Not that he’d have to worry about it too long: He’d starve to death before the next month anyway.

This photo, shamelessly lifted from the New York Daily News, depicts workers fighting for wages only teenagers should make, if those teenagers weren’t already forced to work in unpaid internships.

Okay, so assuming New York returns to the days of the automat, adds robo-baristas and Roombas, and somehow teaches Upper East Side mothers how to parent their own children (ha!), there are still quite a lot of drones that still need to live within commuting distance of this brave new world that we live in, and especially with such people in it. That is rather the heart of the problem, of which New York is the spearhead – the cauldron of what a pessimist would see as our future social unrest – for there truly is no place for them to go. At a time when even the New York Subway, relatively inexpensive flat rate that it is, costs such a peon two days of work a month just to afford to commute to work, paying up to five times as much to take commuter rail to an actual suburb still won’t offset average rents along the Long Island Railroad, MetroNorth or New Jersey Transit corridors, as they are all still far above what a minimum wage earner can afford for rent.

Coming full circle, Horn & Hardart, which has long since been transformed like so many other old New York staples into a Rite Aid, may end up representing not just our past but also our future.

Former mayor Bloomberg teased the city with insinuations as to the solution to this crisis – where-ever will we house our peons? – with micro-apartments (Is it minimalist chic or are we simply too poor to decorate?), which certainly harken back to a time when a bathtub was a common sight in one’s kitchen and people hot-bedded to save space. We may yet live like submariners, but with arguably more dating. Of course, the city is not actually building much of anything, despite all the cranes, and this is, of course, assuming there are any jobs to be had at all. We are still at a time when there are six job seekers for every position offered, which has driven down wages in just about every growth industry. New Yorkers, and by New Yorkers I mean Americans, and by Americans I mean all of humanity, are being caught between a rock and a hard place: Be homeless or be jobless – the city is, after all, where all the jobs are – which is to say be homeless in the city or be homeless in suburbia. Some people are already doing that: Working full-time straight out of the shelters. Therein lies the great belly of the iceberg, largely unseen yet fomenting utter disaster.

Bill Eppridge’s photo of Barbra Streisand in her old-law tenement apartment in 1964, depicting the pre-modern, modern and post-modern all in one shot.

My own trajectory is a microcosm of the greater ill. Chronically underemployed yet saddled with the bad credit of a decade’s worth of private university debt repayment and ever-raising rents, I fear that my perennial position of hand-to-mouth is one bad IRS audit or one uncovered property loss away from losing my foothold in what I see as the only real means to extricate myself from a lifetime spiral of poverty. Yet, I know I’m one of the luckier ones: Because I am rent-regulated, my rate is half that of the city median, and half again still due to pushing the roommate situation. My landlord cannot choose to refuse to renew my lease, nor can he jack it up like has happened to some of my compatriots across the river. I cannot lose it provided I keep up payments, but should I fail in that where is there to go? To homes with no jobs or jobs with no homes.

What keeps the lid on such a literally untenable situation? Three hour commutes? Half a basketball team’s worth of roommates? Latching on to one of the lucky few rich to be your sugar daddy? Drug abuse? Starvation? Just about the only trend of coping that’s not sharply on the rise is suicide, but that may be because it’s so hard to get a gun in New York. The euphemistic term of ‘displacement’ is a city-wide phenomenon, and eventually there will have to be an answer to all the people yet unable to “disappear.”

A Diorama

TAGS: None

“‘Sup,” he asked, having already passed me.

I was in a gregarious mood, having imbibed more than my fair share of alcohol, and walking just then past Duke Ellington’s former residence at an odd hour in the night, or rather I had misremembered that, having just seen his statue; he really lived in Sugar Hill, not Central Park North. “‘Sup,” I replied. He stopped. “How’s it hanging?”

“Not too bad, so far.” He smirked, and walked towards me.

“Look, man, I don’t want to bother you, but…”

I’d already palmed the dollar in my hand. “All I got, but you’re welcome to it.” Everything else was formalities.

“Hey, maybe I can help you out,”

“I’m just walking home, but thanks.”

Was he a guy down on his luck? Was he a guy looking for an easy mark? Who gives a fuck? It’s a dollar, and it made me feel good to give it. More importantly, did I look so out of place that I was marked? Whatever, the encounter was amicable enough. The city is full of – what’s the term – dialogues, perhaps, interactions that can be dissected, recounted, looked into through the lens of professional sociology. I’d just gotten back from an engagement of talking loudly through East Harlem with a dude who was particularly un-PC using the shield of his own brown skin, “why do they gotta have so many kids,” he lamented, audible from two blocks away. Could you talk any louder?

Come to think of it, if my erstwhile assailant could have helped me with anything, it’s where to take a piss in this godforsaken, benighted neighborhood where the Parks Department helpfully closed all the public restrooms at the ungodly hour of 5PM. Too late, I was already on the train, smirking at a blonde, sunburnt Teutonic man in his mid-thirties who, 70 years ago, would have been the poster child for the Nazi Party, drunk off his ass and tilting into the personal space of a middle-aged Black woman who was trying to play Bejeweled on her smartphone. She eventually moved to a different seat next to a high yellow girl with mini-afro and colorless lips, squeezed into a grey pencil dress and ballet flats. Soon enough, the whole train jumped at a thunk when the dude, in his stupor, headbutted the seat she just vacated.

I commented to the woman that I was waiting for that to happen, and she chuckled that it occurred because she wasn’t there to stop it. When he missed his stop and settled for the next one, half the car had to acknowledge what we had seen, but in the guarded, awkward manner of those sousing out the limits of commonality. To the girl’s left was an overweight white nerd with graying hair, just back from a comic book convention, chomping at the bit to make a comment. He looked at me, for I had laughed at the original spectacle, “was that a zombie?” “That was more than a zombie,” the Black woman replied, up from her game. The girl looked up and smiled for a moment before looking back down again. I recounted that while I had be that drunk twice in my life, I have never in my life headbutted a chair.

Enlivened by this impromptu personal connection, the nerd went on to striking up a conversation with a Latino couple next to me, who fobbed him off politely. This interplay – The older woman who was receptive, the younger woman who was reserved, the man who exuded a little creepiness, the drunk who exhibited god’s special providence for drunks – in six minutes displayed half a semester’s worth of sociology, to anybody willing to pay attention. Of course, I was also a part of this diorama, but lacking a true sense of introspection cannot pinpoint the exact nature of my own position. We are all gonzo journalists after a fashion, but then we are all actors ad-libbing the greatest stage play of all, while also being the audience.

Earlier in the night, in an overpriced Cuban restaurant, I asked my compatriot what he thought of the world and his place in it. “Fucked up” was the answer to both. Not a particularly edifying conversation, but there were more enticing distractions, like the Salsa duo with clean-cut dude on undersized guitar and boy-cut woman on congas and timpani. Everybody was swaying if not outright dancing except for one white woman at the bar fiddling with her phone. Here I was, paying almost quadruple for Ropa Vieja than I would have in Chelsea in 1997, wondering whose bright idea it was to fleece the yuppies and whether people thought of this food as, for lack of a better word, “high-brow.” Is your nation’s comfort food my nation’s haute cuisine? It certainly is if we consider McDonald’s in China.

Of course, to fool the locals you must first fool yourself, which means that the face we put on for the public is pretty deep in itself: If the restaurant ends up succeeding, a new paradigm is made. If not, well, this is New York and social reality does indeed represent a con game unsettlingly often. After all, the proprietors got me for almost forty bucks and the dude on the street only got me for one.

Architectural Skin Tags

TAGS: None

If there’s a sentence that speaks to the heart of the New York City housing crisis, it’s “I’m not averse to building, just not right here.” Preservationists have come out against a proposed hi-rise development on the South Street Seaport, citing the usual issues of architectural incongruity, destruction of the character of the historical district, and all-around ugliness. That it would be on the pier itself, separated by the rest of the Financial District by the FDR Drive, is icing on the cake.

The culprit in question

However, theres three things in effect here, each more ridiculous than the last.

First, obviously, are the preservationists. To quote Brendan Sexton of the South Street Seaport Museum, “I don’t oppose all high-rise buildings, there’s high-rise buildings just to the side of the historic district that serve a real function for companies that are in them. High rise buildings are not an evil. But this particular spot has value for you, and me, and the tourists we want to encourage. It is a piece of old New York.” Writ large, this mode of thinking – simple, reasonable, short-sighted – has contributed strongly to the crisis that not only has exacerbated the perennial New York problem with real estate, but is also the primary reason we’re building high-rises on piers in the first place.

Because the South Street Seaport is a historically preserved district, there is no direction the Financial District can expand. On the west side, the Financial district butts up against the nest of historic districts that range up from Tribeca to Greenwich Village. Centrally, the Financial District butts up against the Civic Center, a cluster of federal, state and city government buildings that separate it from SoHo and Chinatown. The Brooklyn Bridge and the South Street Seaport block it on the east side. This presents a situation where developers will buy up and create whatever space is even remotely feasible, and as they represent money they will not be denied. The way the Financial District has dealt with this historically was through landfill.

Landfill tends to represent the most benign aspect of development in New York’s problematic real estate reality, and indeed the housing complexes near Stuyvesant High School represent how that can be effected. The alternative options are somewhat more damaging, as they invoke the New York tradition of destroying as much as it builds, such as the recent destruction of St Vincent’s Hospital at the behest of high-end condominium development in an otherwise protected neighborhood. St Vincent was targeted, pressured and demolished partly through inept mismanagement, but mostly because it represented a property that wasn’t protected.

This plays into the second point: All things in New York have a precedent: Even incongruent high rises east of the FDR. While this new development may represent an architectural skin tag, it won’t be the first. In 1973 the city commissioned Davis Brody Bond to build Waterside Plaza, a Mitchell-Lama housing complex for middle- and working-class families. It came complete with that horribly ugly brushed concrete and brick popular in the 70s, a dystopia not out of place in Peter Chung’s Aeon Flux or Gerald Potterson’s Heavy Metal. The city liked it so much they copied the design for River Park Towers, a hi-rise Section 8 appendage to the Bronx neighborhood of Morris Heights, overlooking the Harlem River. The people have spoken: Skin tags are in.

New York relishes its horribleness

These developments were created because they represented to the city the only land available. They and developments like them were scrub land, newly-created land, or not land at all prior to their consideration. Similar to how New York built Co-Op City in recently-drained swampland while redlined tenements were being torched for the insurance money in Morrisania, the city has cared more about immediate expedients than the preservation of character. This isn’t to say that such is always the right decision: Co-Op City – another Mitchell-Lama construction – was a success, as was Waterside Plaza, but River Park Towers, isolated as they were, ended up being a fortress for gang interests that were only recently broken up by the FBI.

Similarities to a certain 1995 Sylvester Stallone movie are entirely coincidental

Of course, the South Street Seaport development is a facet of concentrated wealth, not concentrated poverty, and concentrated poverty has its own problems. Concentrated wealth does, too, which brings up the third point: The South Street Seaport hasn’t been a viable place to go in decades because it doesn’t represent a real place for the city; merely a failed economic venture.

As it stands presently, the South Street Seaport is a tourist trap courtesy of former mayor Rudy Giuliani; one that New Yorkers abhor, but without the draw of Times Square or even the High Line. Indeed, the South Street Seaport represents the very worst of waterfront development: It converts a formerly productive district into an oversized museum. The detractors of the development have compared South Street to the Embarcadero in San Francisco – with the implication that the Embarcadero is something worth emulating – but the Embarcadero is mostly useless.

This is true of most “reclaimed” waterfront spaces. City aldermen tend to convert waterfronts into fanciful touristy parkland for yuppies to build condos near, to the tune of tens if not hundreds of millions of public funding, as a form of developer giveaways. On occasion they’ll include the calcified husk of some nineteeth-century warehouse and maybe a ship anchor so people remember why the fuck they’re there in the first place, but mostly it’s just ridiculously expensive overly curated strips of green that will likely end up being an albatross of a tax burden during the next economic downturn. New York’s most notable recent example of this phenomenon is that of the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

From the “What The Fuck Is This Shit” School of Architecture

The new glorified mall that the preservationists find so abhorrent of the new South Street Seaport is already evident in the current South Street Seaport. It’s not a seaport, after all. It lost all utility when Giuliani moved the Fulton Fish Market. While the old Market was riddled with mob interests, it also represented a productive city institution. It was replaced with, essentially, nothing, and unlike the Williamsburg boom, doesn’t even include much-needed housing. In that stead it’s hard to destroy what already isn’t there.

Suffice it to say, New York is an ugly place. Destroying the old Penn Station to build One Penn Plaza was a mistake the city will never live down, and the false promises of luxury condos in some rust-colored post-modern edifice don’t exactly engender enthusiasm. But it’s no sin that hasn’t already been committed, many times over, and this sort of rear-guard action against an already lost cause is as pointless as it is indicative of just how dysfunctional real estate politics are in the first place. But then, ugliness is what we do, so why not embrace it?

Of Semi-Hidden Places

TAGS: None

We stood on the Q35 bus, along an adventure wholly of our making and wholly suited to us. He was getting over the recent separation with his lover, who had left for good to the Netherlands and had already rekindled prior affairs, prompting an emotional spiral swooning on the inconstancy of man. For my part, I was mulling over the parallels to an innocent love that had wrought me a year ago and from whence my mourning had yet to cease.

We patted ourselves on the back, remarking how we had become responsible adults over the past decade, where even our drinking to excess had attained a gloss of class. He entertained and distracted from the underlying topic by explaining the various stops along the way: Only yuppies would get off at Fort Tilden. Minorities and ghetto types would get off at the first Jacob Riis stop, and even more ghetto types and gays got off at the second. This was our celebration to ourselves: Him, a sea of well-wrought yet fey men, me, a buffet of topless women.

Jacob Riis is beyond the pale, situated as far from the metropole as possible yet remaining within city borders, just too far from the prying eyes of both city officials and roving police for them to bother much. It’s a no-man’s land, which suits it just fine: Coney Island is Brooklyn: The Theme Park, Jacob Riis is a relief from the city altogether. And we were taking public transit. As it turns out, the best things in life are free, but it takes two hours to get there.

It was a place you could put your hair down, which was the point. The women were there because the gay men were there, and the gay men were there because it was inconvenient to get there. It was a true retreat: Sunbathers in speedos and even less lounging and drinking rum to the sounds of Willie Colon and Mon Rivera, couples of all flavors and families basking in the laissez-faire openness that had been fostered by such.

It was a bittersweet affair; an ephemeral circumstance by nature, one that had been lucky to survive so long but ultimately doomed if examined, just like our romantic relationships. Such was obvious amidst banter with a particularly flaming hipster, fresh from Austin and allergic to pants, who – after hazing me for not recognizing a Steel Magnolias reference, thereby proving my outsider status concerning gay culture – suggested that the abandoned buildings near the beach should be bought and developed by an enterprising gay entrepreneur into a hotel/nightclub. I replied that such would kill the vibe, and he instantly demurred and retracted: Nothing more needed to be explained.

Time flows differently upon exit from standardized society. Soon I found myself playing referee in a water-wrestling match between two gay men and two lesbian women, an altercation that started when the men interrupted the women’s conversation about a mastectomy (or, in the vernacular, “I respect how you chopped your tits off” – implying if nothing else that the procedure may not have been for purely medical reasons) to criticize the Boston Red Sox hat one of them was wearing. The match, consequently, was a draw: The Atlantic Ocean trumped everybody.

The rampant peacocking and the loving displays of affection served much entertainment and ease but emphasized our own singleton statuses. This was a day to dispel such thoughts and while it was largely effective, perhaps such cannot be totally dismissed: No act of throwing yourself at the sea and being tossed back can save you permanently from your own mind. He kept one eye on his phone, fantasizing in some portion of his mind of a thirteenth-hour reprieve, a return to lucidity, on his lover’s part, despite the Atlantic between them. His despair made me linger on the yet-unfounded causes of my own loss, in my case the Pacific being the literal divider to the vague emotional one: She wished me well and did so in a heartfelt, poignant manner, but did not explain her departure, fostering fruitless and pointless speculation.

I suspect I write best when overwrought; usually with anger. There is, of course, an endless supply of fodder to distract oneself with for the purposes of anger – Israeli helicopter gunships raining collective punishment on the world’s largest open-air prison, willfully ignorant industry purveyors of the glass ceiling, a limousine liberal mayor whose stint in Nicaragua may yet substantively parallel Mitt Romney’s evangelist “mission” in Paris as a superficial and ineffective resume-builder – which can then be directed into a flame that licks and stings with an honesty that provides a harshness under all the lyrical flourish. The flourish can be copied, the burn cannot.

This was on my mind, spying a wan smile on my compatriot’s face. Man is inconstant, irrational, prone to hurtful flits wantonly rendered. Integrity and loyalty are perfections to strive towards and man is often found wanting. “Do they not want to be happy,” he asked. It is the result not of thinking but of not-thinking. My own ill-fated relationship was one drowned in positive emotions I cannot imagine forgetting, but ultimately one not destined to exist: Simple circumstance did it away, the particulars don’t matter. Yet I was reveling in this thought with a good friend I had met due to a serious mistake I had made about my future well over a decade ago, with deep ramifications as to my life forever more.

A more logical person would have set up his life in a more proper manner, to not pine after the impossible or even improbable, but such a standard is unattainable because it doesn’t exist; life isn’t a concept but a necessarily flawed reality, and even the wrongs are worth living. In that stead, Jacob Riis is a place very well suited to be vainly, poetically wrong.

Stuck In the Middle

TAGS: None

If I didn’t know better, I’d think July was Police Brutality Month.

Hot summers tend to make New Yorkers crazy, and while today hasn’t been the hottest, it’s up there, and thanks to the prevalence of smartphones and security cameras, the city gets front row seats to every time some hood pulls a gun on some other hood in the street in broad daylight – and we’ve had our fair share of that thus far this summer. However, those same cameras appear to be pulling the duty of the oft-suggested lapel cameras suggested during de Blasio’s mayoral campaign.

Aside from the choking death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner for the egregious offense of selling untaxed loosies (which, to the unversed, are single cigarettes, ie: not in a pack), instantly reminding all New Yorkers of Radio Raheem in Do The Right Thing, there have been close to a dozen taped accounts of police brutality coming to light in the past month. To name a(n un)healthy cross-section, Ronald John was punched in the face and held in an illegal chokehold for jumping a turnstile, Javier Payne was sent through a hookah store window on a stop-and-frisk altercation, Jahmiel Cuffee was stomped on the face while restrained for a stop that began when he was spotted rolling a joint, Denise Stewart was forcibly dragged naked out of her apartment by a cadre of cops for a child abuse claim that Child Protective Services determined was unfounded, Stefon Luckey was arrested on no charges and pepper-sprayed while handcuffed after complying with police orders not to interfere with their traffic summons on his brother, Ehud Halevy was struck more than fifty times by police on a false arrest, and an un-named Black man was beaten on the head with a baton for being belligerent after being cited for sleeping on an empty F train.

In addition, Richard Gonzalez was denied insulin while in custody for a false arrest to the point where he had to go to the hospital and EMTs had to intervene after cops beat a man handcuffed and strapped to a gurney for spitting on them. This regular occurrence of police overreach in the media has fulminated into a strong public interest, for which studies have come out pointing to over a thousand complaints to the Civilian Complaint Review Board about illegal chokeholds over the last five years, on stops that have largely been minor “quality of life” violations. This has prompted Police Commissioner Bratton to give a full-throated defense of the “Broken Windows” theory, which has put former Sandinista and current Mayor de Blasio in a tight spot. Can this ostensibly liberal mayor who is still learning on the job put a stopper on his Law-and-Order appointee?

As if to illustrate this conundrum, and to provide quite a bit  of political theatre, de Blasio found himself literally sitting between Bratton and Al Sharpton, who pointedly remarked that his son Dante would be a primary target for the NYPD were he not related to the mayor. Further raising the stakes are the NYPD’s efforts to arrest Ramsey Orta, the man who taped Eric Garner’s death, on suspicious charges, as well as his wife Chrissie Ortiz, on successive days after Garner’s death was deemed a homicide. Orta and Ortiz claim harassment – that the police were giving them undue scrutiny as punishment for their centrality to the case against their own – and this claim is bolstered by the speed at which the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association spokesman Patrick Lynch sought to use their arrests to exonerate the policemen.

If all this wasn’t enough, the general mistrust of the law enforcement and justice system has extended to the prison system as well, with Riker’s Island due for another riot, and questions as to the treatment of prisoners which are mostly minorities on non-violent drug offenses. The narrative that all this brings is that of a culture of repression against minorities and the poor, which is precisely the issue that de Blasio ran and won his position on. To say the least, de Blasio has his plate full.

That said, he may end up showing just how quickly he has learned: Officials have deemed Garner’s death a homicide, and while a homicide alone does not necessarily mean a murder, the implications are clear: If policemen are to be charged for the strangling death of this man, such an autopsy result would be both a first step and a signal as to political intent. As such, the public announcement was likely made with the knowledge of the next steps involved. An indictment and a jury trial of the offending officers would do much to balance the mayor’s choice of police commissioner with his responsibility to prove to the citizens of New York that, ultimately, he is in charge, not Bratton. This was, indeed, a vaunted issue during de Blasio’s first weeks in office – whether or not he could bring Bratton to heel – and now would be a particularly timely moment for him to prove it.

Papers, Please

TAGS: None

A TSA agent lives on my street.

She was walking home from a shift with that gait of the neighborhood’s version of the 99% of us that are working stiffs – the local permutation is that the remaining 1% are Highly Visible Layabouts, aka hoods, for there are no rich people here – in that purposefully unflattering sweater-and-slacks combo that is designed to be dowdy in a way that dehumanizes its wearer, distills them into sewn shoulder patches and cheap epaulets.

Akin to most uniformed public servants, she’s forming the beginning of one of those truly impressive rear ends appropriate to somebody whose job it is to sit down for ten hours a day. That’s not to say her job is easy: She has to exude a form of malevolence while holding just short of actual aggression, a true front-line soldier of our Security Theater – that paramilitary arm of our Political Theater with all pomp and little to show for it besides the cowing of those obedients who long only to be cowed.

It is a fitting juxtaposition that she herself lives in a neighborhood that has only a tenuous grasp of the rule of law; a ‘hood one step removed from the base tribalism that the city aldermen keep tabs on through an occupying police army. They do so, of course, from their offices downtown; “may the lord bless and keep the czar… far away from us!” She is, however, necessarily separate from such an army: When those cops are off-duty, they decamp to their own cop-friendly neighborhoods – the kind with POW/MIA flags and VFW clubs. They drink in cop bars. They don’t cease being cops on a cultural level. She, on the other hand, appears to hang one hat at shift’s end and put on another. It’s just as well: Without the uniform, her skin color would probably mark her for random search anyway.

To think such agencies require working stiffs such as these! It’s clearly just a job, and a much needed one at that, for even the President has realized the inherent rot in our current jobless economic recovery, but it requires a compartmentalization of one’s public life. What goes on in uniform becomes unreal, like manning a phone-sex hotline: Furtive and anonymous and just a little illicit, under the guise of an authority that has it on good, well, authority that such roles are needed, but rather unconvincing in their explanation of just how they are needed.

Her Security Theater is not comforting to the locals, but then it isn’t meant for the locals. It’s meant for the folks downtown and their constituents. Were the political lines drawn up a bit different, it’d be like working as a border guard under the employ of your neighbor. Uptown, that foreign nation, full of malcontents looking to steal good downtown jobs from the correct folks. Why, they should require passports past 96th Street! And who would check them?

© 2009 Big Smoke. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by Wordpress and Magatheme by Bryan Helmig.