Thursday, May 22, 2008

NYC “unabideable”: the marbleized streets of the city

I’m a fast-walkin’ sonofabitch. I like to get where I’m goin’, and if I’m delayed for any reason, I don’t mind breaking into a sprint. The only problem with doing that these days (and, no, I have not taken a tumble on these fucking things, I just recognized it’s the most distinct of possibilities): many of Manhattan’s streets are no longer the grey, gritty-looking concrete of yesteryear, but are instead this pretty-ass marbleized surface that, in any type of precipitation becomes a sheet of slippery hell that will indeed cost ya a twisted ankle, a broken wrist, or at least, a humiliating dive. I became aware of the wild slipperiness of NYC’s streets — you knew it — when I had no health insurance for a long stretch of time and did take a dive on a Manhattan sidewalk in the snow (simply walking). Now, in order to not reproduce said instance, I am constantly watching where I’m going, and have noticed that the more “prestige” areas of the town have become slippery sheets of curbage, thanks to a super-pretty (pretty=bad in my lexicon; utilitarian=good) substance called terrazzo.

I found that this problem started a number of years back through a very old New York Times article that hails from the disco era, but just one look down as you walk in the rain, and you can tell that, once again, those who have insurance and want things to look nice are fully in favor of this faux look. This material now makes up large portions of the Grand Central area, Park Avenue, and other tonier vicinities (through which we peons must move as we migrate to our daily attempt to pay bills). I don’t expect this trend to decrease — in fact, as is evident from the fact that the above link connects to a 27-year-old article, the situation will become far worse as time goes one, as this is now a city of extraordinarily rich people and extremely poor ones (each highrise erected=merely a pied a terre for a foreign or domestic dignitary who has a few mil layin’ around). If you have insurance and tumble on a terrazzo surface, you can get treated and be good as new; if you don’t, you can do what I did and use ice packs and Ace bandages (as the laser surgery wasn’t even an option) and have a joint that’s a nice viable candidate for premature arthritis. As Hubert Selby used ta put it (mocking an ad campaign of the time): New York, it’s a fuckin’ summer festival.

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