Dec 23, 2005

One more strike...

I wish I had thought of grabbing my camera before leaving the house for the past 2 days - and giving you the visuals of New York Transit Strike thru the eyes of an average commuter.

I regret not having this journalistic/blogging reflex of carrying the camera around, "just in case things happen" - and being way too sleepy getting up at 5:15 in the morning to think beyond immediate mundane tasks.

I said "an average" since there were tens of thousands of people affected much more than I was, physically (some had to walk up to 12 miles, in 22F weather) and financially (I saw a resident of East New York on TV yesterday saying she spends $26 to $30 each day one way on van service in order to get to work in Manhattan; no other means of transportation available from her neighborhood.)

My own daily balance: walk 18.5 blocks to a ferry terminal in Brooklyn,$6 for water taxi to downtown Manhattan (boy, this brought memories of the Fall '01, with commuting on ferries and Tower of Light on horizon), walk across town to a PATH train at the World Trade Center station (open construction pit; another reminder), $1.50 for a ride to 30th Street, walk 6.5 blocks to my office building in midtown; same in reverse for the evening: $15.00 and 5 hrs commute instead of normal 1.75 hr and $2.80 (I have a monthly Metrocard). Not counting the frustration of waiting for the boat in 3-block-long line, lost productivity due to the lack of sleep and added cost of takeout breakfast. (Normally I brew my own coffee in the morning). I was luckier than most people in having to endure it only for 2 days, too, so my total - mere $30 and 10 hrs of commuting.

For some reason, the loss figures I heard on TV (estimated $400 million first day, etc.) referred only to losses to the city, not to individuals or businesses--which nobody offered to compensate. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn at least one business (and the one I know personally, having been a regular patron) is fighting back.

As to the race card, discussed here before: I heard myself, on NY One News's segment yesterday, one of the strikers saying "When this Union was composed of Irish and Italians they were given pensions and contracts all right" - not continuing his sentence as to what object of comparison he's hinting to, but it was clear since he and his mates were black. The guy next to him added: "This is New Orleans all over again: we(?-TE) are left to fend for ourselves."

I hope the outragiousness of this statement is obvious to the readers of this blog and doesn't require my commentary.

In fact, I'll withold my commentary altogether, since my own thoughts were expressed brilliantly in these two places I'll send you to, even the difference in tone reflects my own reactions.

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