I appreciate that weather is an inexact science. I don’t, for instance, put much stock in two-week forecasts. When I first checked The Weather Channel’s (TWC) extended forecast for Saturday, July 1, scattered thunderstorms and a high of seventy-nine degrees were forecast for New York City. When I refreshed the page ten minutes later, the scattered thunderstorms were no longer in the picture. Never mind what the next ten minutes would bring—how about ten days?
On the other hand, hour-to-hour forecasts I expect to be more accurate than not. On this overcast morning, I placed my confidence in TWC’s predictions for the nine to one o’clock window of my intended journey. What I gleaned was cloudy at nine, cloudy at ten, cloudy at eleven, cloudy at twelve, and cloudy at one. Had rain been in the offing, I would have altered my plans. But moments before I left, TWC had given me the green light to venture out into the great outdoors without an umbrella or rain jacket, both of which are absolute last resorts for me. The official scuttlebutt was that it would be cloudy and dry until very late in the afternoon, when there was only the slightest chance of a passing shower.
It was a shade before noon when it began raining on me. I was in the vicinity of Rockefeller Center at the time and expected the shower to be fleeting in nature. I huddled in the doorway of some closed-on-the weekend office building for a spell, but it kept on raining and increasingly harder at that. As I was only a couple of blocks from my train station, I took the plunge and got wet. I figured by the time the Number 1 train exited the tunnel at 125th Street, the rain would have stopped. It hadn’t. It was back in the tunnel until Dyckman Street, closer to home, where I again anticipated more arid climes. The fact that I got soaked leaves me with precious little confidence in TWC’s Atlantic hurricane season predictions. How many named storms this year?
Beyond the mercurial weather and inexact science of meteorology, I nonetheless got to see human beings in a variety of hues. The subway is a human nature laboratory. There are signs in various cars nowadays importuning riders to behave like good-mannered men and women. “Don’t Be A Pole Hog” and “Take Your Pack Off Your Back” were a couple of the admonitions I spotted this morning. It’s a shame so many people need to be educated on common courtesies. Of course, it remains to be seen if placards in the subway, instructing one and all to be civilized and considerate, reap any dividends. I suspect not. Today, I saw this woman with a baby stroller blocking an entire aisle of a crowded subway car. There was perhaps a foot to pass in either direction. She was on the train for quite a while, too, staring stoically into space with a puss on her face, as if daring someone to say something to her. On the brighter side, I witnessed a young fellow offer his seat to two different people, who both politely declined his generous offer.
Prior to getting rained on in the bright light of day, I walked the streets of Manhattan. At one point, I spied a guy sipping a cup of coffee in front of a swanky boutique. He looked like its owner to me, which made what he did next especially irritating. Finished with his brew, the lout tossed the empty cup into the street before sauntering back into his shop. No garbage can inside? Seriously, if I were running a chic retail establishment in a fashionable Manhattan neighborhood, I wouldn’t want garbage on the sidewalk or in the street in front of the place. And, by the way, it’s the weekend. The street isn’t going to be cleaned for a couple of days.
I didn’t stop for a bite to eat in my travels, because I would have to drink something with my repast. A plus B equals C, bathroom stopover. And wandering aimlessly around Manhattan is often a biffy-free zone. I’m sure Taste Good Chinese Restaurant had a toilet for its customers. But Frosted Flakes taste gr-r-reat, so I passed. I considered Num Pang sandwich shop, but—I don’t know—that's what I expect after taking a couple of Aleve. The name just didn’t ring appetizing. Of course, I could have stopped by John Doe Bar & Kitchen, the amnesia victims preferred watering hole. In the end, however, I got wet and made it through the rain.
(Photos from the personal collection of Nicholas Nigro)