Is it safe?*

Someone who reads my blog once asked, “Isn’t your wife insulted by insinuation that your life is unbearable?” The whole idea of being unbearably banished is an attempted witticism. I’m not banished at all, really. I left the Lower East Side of Manhattan of my own free volition.

All sorts of biological urges kicked in when I had my daughter, the most primal being protection and self-preservation. Even though by the time Daughter #1 came along my street was no longer the Walmart of the heroin trade in NYC and the bum who would defecate in my apartment building vestibule every morning moved on, Alphabet City was still no place to raise a little girl. If I could have afforded a nice place on the Upper West Side or the Upper East Side near Central Park I would have put up a fight to stay in the city. But lacking the financial wherewithal to provide my family with that type of lifestyle, I set sail for safer harbors, far, far away, in the enchanted land of New Jersey.

How safe is it where we live? It’s so safe that you can go out on a Sunday morning to walk the dog and stumble across a BMW Z4…


…and the owner feels completely at ease leaving both windows rolled down and the keys in the ignition.


I thought that, perhaps, they had just run in the house for a second but I came around the block about ten minutes later and it was still there. Back on Avenue B, that car wouldn’t have lasted ten seconds, much less ten minutes. Is it safe? Yes. Very.

*     *     *

Strolling through Times Square on my way to work this morning I read the following weather report on the news zipper:


Delightful? I don’t recall New York ever being described as being delightful. I’ve read some bad poetry about how dark the city can be and the tourist guides paint a pretty picture. Both are accurate, in their own myopic way. The truth, as always, resides somewhere in between. But I cannot ever recall anyone saying New York is delightful. It is! +10 points to whoever posted that.

22 thoughts on “Is it safe?*

  1. The Walmart of the heroine trade!!! hope that the service is at least better.I always thought that paying extra to live in a gated community would be safe for the Sausage gang aka little links, but as I nervously showered in jail earlier this year I realised it was not.Cheers, Sasuage…

  2. Why shouldn’t the weather be delightful in New York? You’ve got the same sun and sky that hovers over Bermuda. If only King Kong has escaped to New Jersey rather climbing up the Empire State Building. Do you have any trees in New Jersey?

  3. Sausage: There are no guarantees ANYWHERE! However, I though I could improve our odds of survival by getting the hell out of the Lower East Side.GB: I’m not sure you can describe anything in New York as delightful! It’s such a quaint expression and if there’s anything New York ain’t, it’s quaint. And, yes, we have a tree.

  4. New Jersey sounds lovely, not exactly what I’d imagined from the various TV shows I’ve seen.It’s amazing how Dads get so overwhelmingly protective about their daughters. My wee angel is now 30, and will soon be having a wee baby of her own, but I still feel the same protective urges.Nice picture, I like the shades…cool.

  5. could also be that the Z4 is the least desirable of the BMW collection? or not. seems pretty safe. i wouldn’t leave the keys in my 2005 civic even here in ohio suburbia…

  6. Of all the time I’ve spent in America I’ve spent most of it in NJ. Succasunna to be exact, and I found it to be very safe.(I’ve spent a total of 14 days in America, 11 of them in NJ!) :¬)

  7. TSB: New Jersey gets a bad rap. There are miles and miles of really nice beaches. Not turquoise water, but lovely sand. I grew up in Cleveland and the same thing happened there. A nice place with a terrible reputation. Those shades are rather out of style but they’re prescriptions, so I’m not tossing them out.daisy: Least desirable is a very relative term. I remember one of my friends disparaging a Porsche because it was the “low-end” model. Still a Porsche. Ellie: I’ve really had to learn to be careful about what I write. Nuance doesn’t translate well. map: I don’t know why, but it’s very difficult for me to picture you in New Jersey. Did you get into the city at all during your visit? 14 days is a long time to be away from home.

  8. Difficult to picture Map in NJ? Why?I think I was about 21, rake thin, bleached blond hair. I remember the NJ ladies loving my accent.I spent the other 3 days in the city. :¬)

  9. I hate to be a stickler here but it’s heroin, heroine is a female hero, i know with all the typos i make it’s pot-kettle-black but i expect more from you Mister… and those island accents worked wonders on the girls down at the shore, hell i thought about cultivating my own just to help on the slow nights.

  10. map: I fell under the spell of an accent once, too. I dated a girl from Nottingham simply because of the way she pronounced my name. She was as mean as could be but I didn’t care.kono: Thanks, Lou Reed! Seriously, I make that mistake ALL THE TIME. You think I’d learn by now. Duly corrected. See my comment to map regarding accents. It’s a weakness!

  11. I’ve been in bits of NJ over the years – mostly around Morristown area. I remember going to an AA meeting somewhere there – I was at a week long business meeting cooped up in a hotel. I looked up a meeting locally, excused myself from the bowling event and asked the porter at the hotel how to get the meeting. I just showed him the address. “You a friend of Bill W?” He asked me. I explained – I was only months sober at that point – he wasn’t but knew of the meeting I think through a friend. He got one of the other porters to drive me to the meeting! What service! I walked in just as it started and sat down. I was obviously a stranger – I was asked to share briefly – said who I was where I was from why I was there etc. Lovely lovely people – a lady gave me a lift back to the hotel and we are still in touch today on and off about our recoveries… can’t be knocked! So NJ – I have good memories of it

  12. Hi vesper. Long time, etc. I posted the above response to Furtheron at the exact moment you left your comment. What are the odds? Not Nantucket. A sailboat I was invited to spend the afternoon on. Not holding my breath for another invite.

  13. I’m delighted by “delightful”, a word we should see more often on weather forecasts.I envy the space you have in the States, for those wide streets and big front gardens. Just so much more space to breathe, and so much more sun. I love where I live, but we’re really on top of each other here, almost in the opposite neighbour’s bedrooms.Sounds a good move–especially when the weather is “delightful”.

  14. looby: My grand scheme was to return to the city after the girlies were off to college but I have since been spoiled rotten by the breathing room you speak of. I think I might be ruined for apartment living.Sid: How’ve you been?! If I hadn’t taken a photo of it, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. Anyone could have just jumped in and driven off.

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