Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New York Really Is the City That Never Sleeps

This past Labor Day weekend—on an early Sunday morning—I noticed a meter maid walking around the neighborhood. Considering it was the day of the week that many New Yorkers call on their preferred houses of worship—and, too, that it was the "official end of summer" holiday—I thought it a very unusual time for a city employee to be roaming streets, checking up on parked cars’ registrations, and, of course, writing tickets. Perhaps the city fathers and mothers have the little guy and gal’s best interests at heart with this sort of thorough patrolling—after all, drivers should keep their automobiles’ registrations and car inspections up to date.

Forgive me, though, for being slightly cynical here. As part of my morning Internet ritual, I visit the website "EveryBlock" and search my zip code for local news items, which include the latest restaurant inspections in the area. It’s clear the city has both hired many more health inspectors and is making many more inspections of eateries, which is understandable considering rats and water bugs run amok on some of the richest real estate on the planet. However, some restaurants are being inspected every two to three months and racking up violation points that I presume are attached to considerable fines. While it’s a good thing that restaurants are being held to higher standards, forgive me—again—for being slightly cynical here.

Recently, I saw a man double park his car and get out to help a very elderly woman with her groceries as she exited a supermarket. He left his motor running and was only several yards away from his vehicle when a meter maid pounced and ticketed him. I believe this infraction comes attached to a $115 penalty nowadays. I know double-parking in overly congested metropolitan areas is a no-no, but once more: Forgive me for being slightly cynical here.

Is it possible the mayor and his dedicated bureaucratic army are foremost interested in adding money to the city’s coffers, even if it means fleecing the little people for more and more and more when they can least afford it? Perish the thought. What was I thinking? I know, of course, that he and his are looking out for me in the City That Doesn’t Sleep—just ask the meter maids and health inspectors.

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