New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Little in the Middle

More and more, there seems to be less and less of the middle. Certainly a city like New York is a place where people come for the edges and largely leave the middle behind. But now it feels like feast or famine. There are complaints of the loss of the middle class - people seem to be living either in multimillion dollar apartments or on the streets homeless.

Heat is particularly frustrating - your home or office is either freezing or stifling. It is remarkable at how poor the services can be in a place like New York City, even when you are spending good money.

In the 1980s, I was renting commercial space in lower Manhattan in a small five-story commercial building. Inadequate heat was a constant battle with management. I recall one occasion where we were absolutely frigid and the superintendent and his helper came by to investigate.
They arrived wearing insulated winter jackets and, after a few moments, proclaimed that it felt comfortable to them. Of course it is comfortable - you have been active and have winter coats on. Why don't you try taking them off, sit down and type for a few hours?

I am stunned that people would voluntarily sit and dine on the streets in the winter. It is amazing the number of people that to me appear grossly under dressed (or overdressed) for the weather.

The photo on the left was taken after 9 PM, with a temperature in the 50s. People are in T-shirts. This is not strictly a function of alcohol and the St. Patrick's Day celebration - I have seen people in shorts, tees and flip-flops for a couple of weeks now. People in the parks in beach chairs sunning themselves. A quick run across the street to the bank is one thing, but sunbathing in the park or eating al fresco in March?

The photo on the right was taken today, the following morning at 8:45 AM. The temperature is about 50 degrees, and this man is eating his yogurt and reading on a park bench. At least he has a jacket on.

Nothing drives people to extreme behavior like the first warm spell in spring. After a winter's diet of cabin fever, people are just dying to get outside. It would be perhaps more prudent to wait for warmer weather for dining at night al fresco or at least wear warmer clothes, but not in a city where there is little in the middle...


Anonymous said...

Waiting for Obama to make some changes!

Anonymous said...

Waiting for Obama to make some changes!

Anonymous said...

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tapirgal said...

A thoughtful post, and interesting.

Jamie said...

Even the food served will go cold in double quick time, I'm sure. And how would you gnaw on cold meat sitting outside? As always, your insights to the city are most enjoyable.