Then There’s New York


Then There’s New York

It just gets weirder and weirder. I caught a cab the other
day and told the guy I wanted to go to the Marriott in Times
Square. “Do you know the cross streets?” he said. The taxicab
driver didn’t know the location of    “Times Square.”
The one that brought me in from the airport had to consult a map to find 51st
and Third Avenue in a town where the streets all run East and West and the Avenues
all run North and South. An almost perfect grid.

In London
Cabbies have to take the “Knowledge.” For a year they have to drive around the city on scooters and learn
every street, road, nook and cranny. In the end they have to pass a test and
find addresses without the help of a map in one of the most complex road
networks on the planet.

In New York
it seems that all you have to be able to do is breathe. Driving skills are not too necessary, nor language skills, at least English.

Where are the days of the NY Cabbie – gruff, garrulous, and
a sweetheart underneath who knew his city, his sports, and his rides?

And a city that never sleeps? Right – I don’t eat a
traditional breakfast, I like to have a lunch-like meal first thing in the AM.
So I went to the deli across the street and ordered a tuna on white toast at 9
AM. I was told in no uncertain terms that they didn’t serve anything except
breakfast until 11:30. I had to go to five different restaurants before I found
one that would serve lunch, well kinda – you couldn’t order fries until after
11. At least the waiters live up to NY standards, gruff, snotty, and rude.

Oh well,  I can take comfort that New York, as I was told
by a friend who lives there, is the “nexus of all learning, knowledge, art,
science, and literature” on the planet. There is absolutely nothing one can say
to that little bit of self centered snobbery. So I won’t.

Ah, New York — a great place to visit, rather like Disneyland for adults.



Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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