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Monday, January 31, 2011

Robert DeNiro's Waiting

I just might regret titling this post after a Bananarama tune but it seemed so appropriate. Everybody's got their stereotypical image of a New Yorker and it's usually like any Robert DeNiro character in take-your-pick-mobster-movie - that rude, uncaring, pseudo-psychotic citizen. For the most part - they're right. But when disaster hits like 9/11 or the black outs or five major snow storms in four weeks, practically every bad-tempered New Yorker - who wouldn't put you out if you were on fire - turns into a Saint.

Getting around the streets of New York in snow is treacherous and I'm not exaggerating one bit. Most of the sidewalks are shoveled for a single person to get by. If you have a shopping cart or a fat ass that can't shimmy through, you better stay home - that's the New York state of mind. The conditions are so hazardous you'd imagine it would be like Death Race 2000.

But it's not.

Every time my two boys and I shuffled our way to school or the store, folks would step to the side and let us by. I know - it's hard to believe but I saw it with my own eyes! They literally jumped onto the mound of snow and gave us free passage.

To top it off, I would say "thank you" and they would smile and answer, "sure, no problem."

Each time that happened I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

Every kind act deserves one in return. So when the afternoon sun started to melt some of the snow around the corners and created something I call "Slush Lake," I appointed myself Senior Citizen monitor. Basically, all I did was stick out my hand and assist an elderly person across the snow to avoid Slush Lake and help them to the sidewalk.

One old lady was so surprised for the assistance that she had tears in her eyes. "Oh, thank you," she said, "are you Korean?"

Hmmm - I couldn't figure out what being Korean had to do with it - but I told her I was not.

"You're nice girl, anyway," she said.

"Uh, thanks?" Really, what else could I have said?

But the real Hurrah goes to our Post Man, Tony. The morning after Queens was dumped with seventeen inches of snow, Tony was pushing his mail cart, working his way around un-shoveled stoops and doorways to deliver our bills, catalogs and junk mail. God bless him and all his fellow Postal delivery workers. When they say through rain, sleet or snow, they really meant it.

Maybe in other cities, neighbors and strangers are always Good Samaritans; Postal workers always deliver the mail just as the garbage men always pick up the garbage - but not New York. That's why I'm a little taken back by the transformation - we have been converted, albeit as temporary as the snow.

Come Fourth of July, when all this snow finally melts, I'm sure we'll be back to our usual don't-wanna-know-you attitude. Then Robert De Niro can come well as the Jets.


  1. Ah, yes...New York. You either love it or hate it; there’s no in between. Sadly, I’m not a fan. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate the place. It’s just not for me.

  2. That's exactly how I feel about Los Angeles. Can't put my finger on any particular's just not for me.

  3. I have made one trip to New York City and I plan to go back... I find it to be an inspiring place.. I am sorry you guys are getting dumped with snow ... I hate snow