Musings on New York

Joe Nick Goes to the Big City and this is what he sees Earbuds, obviously connected to Ipods, are as omnipresent as cell phones on the sidewalks. Ipods are like Sony Walkmans 25 years ago, cool toys that will soon be replaced by smaller, cooler, and cheaper toys. Observing the facial expressions on passersby, I can safely say New Yorkers are finally having a taste of the concept of being in self-contained sealed environments that Californians and most of the rest of the nation have been doing for almost a half century thanks to the automobile, car radios, and air-conditioning.

Best moment of Fashion Week: walking by the street fashion show erected by some hip-hop clothes line that featured a runway resembling a swinging bridge that had been erected between two metal containers, one which was configured into a dressing room, with a hip hop DJ standing on top, mixing vinyl on two turntables. The loud beats drew as strong a response from sidewalk observers as the babes modeling.

The Metro Cards that replaced subway tokens are much easier to use. Even though a one-way fare is $2, the all-day pass for $7 is a bargain.

Little Korea along 32d Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues is a happening strip. Lotsa neon and great, reasonably-priced restaurants including a sushi deli, and a big grocery chock-full of takeaway heat-n-eat items like octopus in some kind of exotic sauce that was packed with Asian shoppers. Korean beer in cans tastes just like American beer in cans. So much for the benefits of a global economy.

Building security along Sixth Avenue, home of many of Americaís best-known corporations is tighter than most airports, post 9-11. I donít mind wearing visitor tags but the quickie photos accompanying your idea were not flattering.

Tribeca, which was the new Soho a decade ago, is being built up with teardowns, renovations of warehouses into lofts and high-dollar apartments, and several condo agencies on every block. The new Tribeca is the Bowery. DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge OK?) across the East River in Brooklyn, will be the next Bowery, if not the new Alphabet City.

Soho has become so gentrified, itís next to impossible to find art supplies in the neighborhood that artists reinvented beginning in the 1960s.

Chalk it up to Giulianiís cleanup campaign which transformed Times Square into a mid-American mall and took the edge out of New York, or the winter chill, but street people and crazy folks were few in number. One Middle Eastern gentleman was enjoying loudly spitting out the word ďShitĒ in a pronounced accent with regularity while leaning against a pole in Penn Station, but that was about it for nuts, far as I could see. Itís amazing that with all these people sharing tight spaces, living on top of one another, crowding subways, stairways, sidewalks, and crammed into tiny tables in teeny restaurants, more people donít go over the edge.

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