There's one giant grocery store in my neighborhood, it's called Fairway and it opened on the big cross street, 86th between Second and Third a little over a year ago. Long before Fairway opened on the Upper East Side it was already an institution in New York.
What started as a humble fruit stand some 75 years ago had grown into an modern orgy of food--fresh produce, of course, but also meats, fish and groceries, teas and coffees from literally around the world. I suppose the highest praise you can bestow upon Fairway is that it's made the legendary Zabar's essentially obsolete. Whatever Zabar's has, Fairway has it better and cheaper.
Some powerless friends from New Jersey are stopping by this evening for dinner and I was shooed out to Fairway to get some shrimp, Brussels sprouts, artichoke/garlic paste, a loaf of crusty semolina bread, white mushrooms and some nice red tomatoes.
I am old enough to remember the line of refugees attempting to flee Saigon when the South's capital fell to the North. The lines in Vietnam had nothing on the lines tonight at Fairway. They stretched a good block and a half--all the way back to the dried fruit.
I guess you could say that my little portion of Manhattan is well on its way to recovering from yet another "storm of the century." These once-in-a-lifetime storms come more often now, just about once a year. In part their frequency is due to our overheated 24-hour news cycle, and in part due to global warming. Or, global weirding, as Thomas Friedman calls it. Not just warmer weather, but more severe weather of all sorts.
My day started out far from weird, weather-wise. Whiskey and I walked out to a field that slopes down from Gracie Mansion and overlooks the roiling churn of the waters of Hell's Gate. This morning the day broke cool and clear. When we arrived at the yard a young woman was standing in a ditch adjacent to a toppled 65-year-old elm tree. The root system was taller than she and she was probably 5'6".
Her dog "Money," a four-year-old bulldog who resembled Winston Churchill chased Whiskey up and down the hill. Her sister's dog, a small chihuahua in a pink and grey sweater whose name I didn't catch would scurry in and out of they fray. There was much panting, growling, yapping and barking. And some Sandy war stories exchanged.
Throughout Carl Schurz park, tree limbs and branches were piled as inconspicuously as possible. They were awaiting their grim reaper, a city owned wood chipper that would surely make its way over to the park before long.
Much of New York is still suffering the ill-effects of the horrific and terrible storm. Our famous marathon was cancelled for the first time in its long history. However, the power is back in most of Manhattan and a good portion of our piss-soaked but efficient subway system is once again clattering over its century-old rails.
Tempers are frayed. Nerves are raw. Most people seem to be dreading Tuesday as well, election day, and the prospect that Mitt Romney will somehow defeat President Obama.
But slowly the city is getting up from the mat. We've been floored before and we'll be floored again. Somehow though, we always seem to get to our feet.