I've been visiting New York City in some capacity or another for nearly 50 years and have seen a lot of changes. It's still a great place to do business, shop, eat, or take in a show, but I was taken aback recently by the sheer filth of the city. Sure, it never was an oasis for guys like Felix Unger, but for some reason the dirt really caught my attention on my latest trip there.
The dirt starts at a grungy looking LaGuardia Airport and circles the city (JFK and Newark aren't much better). You see the filth in the soot stained flags flying overhead on buildings, chewing gum paved sidewalks, subways where you dare not touch anything, and general garbage and sewage lining the streets, thereby making New York a veritable minefield to walk through. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the city's multicultural taxi drivers who have evidently never heard of soap or deodorant. (I still believe the drivers are operatives for al-Qaeda and the Taliban).
The East River is a strange and sickly shade of green. Interestingly, I'm told the aquatic life has improved threefold in the river since the city started treating the water. I'm sorry, but in my book three times zero is still zero.
You don't see too many trash receptacles on the sidewalks, probably because they make inviting places to plant bombs by terrorists. Nonetheless, pedestrians are forced to either carry their refuse or throw it in the street (mostly the latter).
New York is definitely not a place for those suffering from Mysophobia (a fear of being contaminated with dirt or germs). If you come, be sure to bring at least a gallon of hand sanitizer with you. Frankly, I'm surprised diseases don't spread faster in New York as just about everything is contaminated one way or another. It makes you wonder what would happen if you were to take one of those lost Amazon tribesman who has never encountered outside cultures and diseases and transported him to New York. Most likely he would catch every disease known to man in a couple of hours and be dead before the morning rush hour.
Some would say this is all part of the ambiance of the city. Baloney! Filth is filth no matter how you try to put a spin on it. It made me just want to go home and take a bath and burn my clothes.
The other thing that caught my eye in New York were the roads which do not appear to have been paved since the 1960's; as an aside, the roads back then looked exactly like they do today - doesn't sound like they've made a lot of progress does it? If you don't already have a back problem, you'll undoubtedly get one after driving over the potholes in the Big Apple. And will someone please tell me what genius designed the spaghetti traffic patterns around LaGuardia; he must have been high on something when he came up with that one.
Yes, New York is very cosmopolitan, very wealthy, very sophisticated, etc. The natives are friendly and you can actually have a great time there (albeit expensive). Too bad it's also very filthy.
Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.
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Copyright Â© 2008 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.