It cracked seventy degrees here in New York City today. I don’t ordinarily expect to see my trusty mailman, Yu, in his summer shorts in the month of February. But fear not: I’m not going to turn this weather anomaly into something political. You know: Yu in his summer wear in wintertime as Exhibit A and absolute proof of climate change. If I did, I’d be on as thin ice as Senator Inhofe was a couple of years ago when he brought a snowball from the great outdoors—during an especially harsh winter—into the hallowed halls of Congress. He held it up as Exhibit A that climate change was a hoax. The only thing he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt was that he was not especially bright.
Whatever the meteorological reason for the current warm spell is doesn’t much matter. Two years ago, the temperature in the Bronx didn’t rise above freezing once during February. It was like living in the Arctic Circle without the midnight sun. Give me warm over cold any day of the week. After all, the especially agreeable climate enabled me to leisurely walk around this morning and take note of things that I otherwise might have missed with winter brain freeze.
For example: I experienced multiple Iron Eyes Cody moments. Litter is everywhere and in places it shouldn’t be if people weren’t boorish slobs. God forbid an individual hold on to his or her garbage and locate a trashcan that’s not at full capacity. And there are not only a lot of litterbugs around my neck of the woods, but self-centered, reckless drivers, too. I live in a residential area with nearby shopping centers, parks, and an El train. Translation: a never-ending flow of men, women, and children crossing streets.
There is a particular stop sign near a Van Cortlandt Park entrance where drivers merge on to busy Broadway. A majority of them ignore or quasi-ignore—by not coming to a full stop—the sign. It’s at a location where pedestrians of all ages cross the street in front of it. I’ve on occasion spotted a patrol car from the local 50th precinct lying in wait to ticket transgressors. But it’s the enforcement equivalent of a drop in the ocean. New York City has cameras at various traffic lights to catch drivers who run red lights. Why not put a few at important stop signs? Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of Big Brother surveillance, but something more has got to be done to punish irresponsible drivers who put the rest of us at risk.
Despite these annoying but not unusual observations on my morning excursion, no jacket was required. Lastly, I noticed two local grammar schools—one public and one parochial (my alma mater)—with their respective flags flying. The public school’s flag was at half-staff; the Catholic school’s wasn’t. I wondered about that and found nothing on the Internet to explain why. It was—for me at least—symbolic in some way of the present bizarre times. And as for seventy degree days in winter, I’ll take them when I can get them.
(Photos from the personal collection of Nicholas Nigro)