Monday, August 08, 2011
Unforgiving, Ye Who Enter Here
I recall seeing physicist Michio Kaku speaking against nuclear power after the Three Mile Island incident. His central argument was that the risk was too great and that nuclear power was an UNFORGIVING technology. Whether or not someone agrees with his assessment, in a world where forgiveness is the hallmark of the loving person, unforgiving is a very powerful word.
Life is a fragile business, and nothing illustrates that more than living in New York City. Better have all your ducks in row or you will will find yourself on the street rapidly - New York City is an unforgiving environment. I've written numerous times about this city's revolving door nature. They come and they go - only the hardy survive the Sieve of Darwin.
It is remarkable that such a place as New York City could feel like home to anyone. There is opportunity to make a nest here and have intimate relations with neighbors and merchants. One can find places to relax, even experience nature's bounty. I seek these respites from urban assault and have featured many of these places in these pages. It is a great city, and there are many great and generous people. But there is a decided edge here, and all these things require work. Dwanna learned that very quickly, and Duffy explained what was needed quite well.
However, a seasoned New Yorker's antenna is always up and radar active. I have been conditioned at a core level and permanently rewired. I can fall asleep on a park bench or the subway, but the carrying strap of my bag is woven through crossed arms. I do occasionally walk at night alone on quiet streets, ever wary of those around me. Yes, New York is much safer now, but make no mistake, crime exists in large numbers. In 2010 there were 536 murders, 1,370 rapes, 19,359 robberies, 17,054 assaults, 18,695 burglaries and 38,136 grand larcenies. I lock my car doors everywhere I go, even in a driveway in the suburbs. Even with doors locked, many have returned to their vehicles to be rewarded with an Urban Coral Atoll and No Radio.
Here on the Metro-North in the Bronx at the Spuyten Duyvil stop on a hot humid Sunday with virtually no one in sight, I caught this sign framed against the Henry Hudson Bridge spanning Spuyten Duyvil creek to Manhattan. To New York it says - a sight I have seen often. To me, it means home. But it also a warning sign: Unforgiving, Ye Who Enter Here…
Related Posts: Steaming Masses of New York, Afraid of Snakes, Jungle Lovers