The post-Election, post-trauma, anti-prostitution, poppers and Viagra report

There’s no truth in the rumor that terrorists are stocking up on orthodox Jewish outfits for an upcoming attack in the city, reports The Jewish Week. �It�s totally untrue,� says Ari Laufer, manager of Eichler�s Judaica in Flatbush, Brooklyn, the largest such emporium in the city. �Nobody bought 40 bekishes or 50 kapatas,� two types of long coats worn by chasidim.

NY1 reports 68 percent of New Yorkers say they have not changed their daily routines since September 11, but security lapses at JFK may indicate the folly in that.

Jewish Week also talks to Jewish voters who were confronted on election Tuesday with the never-before-seen choice between two Jewish mayoral candidates, though more interesting was �Jane Doe�s� reason for not voting for Franklin D. Roosevelt all those years ago: �He was a real bastard�. Fifty-two percent of New York City Jews voted for Bloomberg, 47 percent for Green. Meanwhile, Democrat party squabbles continue from well before the election, as early as the September 11 primary, when the party felt certain of a lock on the election and was prematurely concerned with dividing the spoils. Bob Herbert in The Times blames Green: �Mr. Green’s biggest problem was not that he made mistakes, but that he never learned from his mistakes. Almost from the beginning he seemed to take it for granted that he would be elected mayor. He seemed mesmerized by the polls, which almost always showed him winning. So he ran a Rose Garden campaign in the Democratic primary, and finished second, which shocked him. He went down and dirty against Mr. Ferrer in the runoff, which he won, but his tactics turned off Ferrer supporters by the thousands.�

Statewide, the head of the Democratic Party is attempting to pre-empt this kind of political warfare by insisting that either Andrew Cuomo or Carl McCall get out of the race early, before it gets nasty. �We must avoid a divisive primary. One of them has to get out, it’s clear.�

Here’s the document Mike Bloomberg prepared, outlining what he’d do if elected mayor (those results available in detail). I expect this will be constantly referred to during the coming years. He’s off to a good start by eliminating $14 million in tax breaks that would have been provided by the city to his company, Bloomberg LP. Maybe he could also look into the way tenants suffer when city-owed liens are collected. [Also, New York Post, can we please not call him �Bloomy�? �Mayor Mike� is lame enough, so cliched, in fact, that both the Post and the Daily News came up with it for their election day covers.] Former mayor Ed Koch has own advice for the new mayor, or rather, anecdotes about his own time in office. �The moment I enjoyed the most in my 12 years as mayor was when we had a transit strike. One morning, I was in the office of Police Commissioner Bob McGuire, and he was telling us that all we could do about the strike was provide parking lots. Everyone was wondering how we were going to keep the city going. I looked out the window of the Police Plaza building, and I saw tens of thousands of people walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. I said to the police commissioner, �Continue, I’ll be back.� I got in the elevator, and I ran down to the Brooklyn Bridge. I went onto the bridge and I shouted, �Walk over the bridge! We aren�t going to let these bastards drag us to our knees.� People began to applaud.�

     

The number of rescue workers at Ground Zero is under contention, mainly a dispute between unions, the city and emergency organizations. Mayor Giuliani last week demanded that, for safety reasons, the number of firefighters on the scene be reduced, though the fisticuffs that broke out between “hero” firemen and “hero” police are suspected as the more likely cause (the firefighters, who invaded the site against orders and regulations, were let off the hook). Firefighters have postponed a memorial gathering in protest, and the Fire Department of New York now says it will increase the number of workers to 50 from 25, per shift, supposedly the result of a change in heart by the city administration. More than 100 had been on-site at any given time during the weeks immediately following the disaster. Reports say several bodies have been pulled from the rubble at Fresh Kills (NY1 reports four), but other people, interested in reclaiming bodies of lost comrades, say remains have been discovered at the landfill regularly since September 11, and that more workers are needed to speed recovery of corpses. �This recovery process has changed into a scoop and dump operation, and as far as we’re concerned, unless it goes back to what it was�a recovery process�we have an obligation to our members and to the other people who have given their lives at that site to do whatever we can to make sure that dignity is brought back and that the families are taken care of.� Tom Hays of The Resident writes that �the city’s other Ground Zero��the Fresh Kills landfill�is �a desolate, wind-swept plateau of household waste on Staten Island� and �arguably the world’s largest crime lab.� [There are memorial and funeral calendars for the NYPD and FDNY at the official New York City site].

     

In a follow-up to here, let’s note a story about how dogs brought to comfort the grieving are taking on a large emotional burden: �Few animals are accustomed to the intense conditions and constant attention of the family center, so their time there is limited to two hours a day, a few days a week. Even so, they’re exhausted after absorbing all that emotion. Some must be carried out. The day after a sobbing firefighter’s widow threw her arms around Jesse, a golden retriever, �Jesse’s eyes were bloodshot,� said the dog’s owner, Mario Canzoneri. �He was lying down. He wasn’t the same dog. You’d think that dog had pulled 100 pounds on a sled for a month.��

     

The post-9/11 advertising campaign to bring more visitors to the city is ramping up, in hopes of protecting the $25-billion industry. The city had coasted for so long on its reputation that its convention and visitors marketing budget was a pathetic $11.8 million, ranked 17th in the nation, behind even St. Louis and barely above Little Rock.

     

Nana Kojo Ayesu writes with an edge of affection in The Cooperator about traditional urban nuisances: �Clearly, to have survived for months on damp, rocking ships crossing the Atlantic and then to have made a go of it in alien territory, Norway rats and house mice are hearty, adaptable creatures. They�re agile, resourceful, and strong for their size. Rats have been observed treading water for nearly 36 hours at a stretch, and mice can wriggle through holes one-quarter inch in diameter. Both rats and mice can survive temperatures ranging from 32 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit�house mice often make their homes in the insulation surrounding heating units in kitchen stoves. The little creatures can even adjust the thickness of their fur to compensate for the higher temperatures inside the oven.�

     

That horrific story behind a child abuse case continues to unfold on Staten Island. The Times has a full report, explaining how a three-year-old girl was beaten in a bathtub over her soiled pants, as her mother and father �scrubbed the toddler’s skin raw with a Brillo pad and squirted alcohol and peroxide onto the wounds.� She was force-fed soap in order to silence her cries. The Staten Island Advance has a chronology of the family’s long history of abuse. A foster mother who knew the family says the state should have acted long ago, �There were so many red flags.� At least one other neighbor regrets not reporting signs of abuse. : �He wasn’t a bad guy. She played him like a puppet. Every time she got pregnant she didn’t want the baby. She said he was forcing her to have them. She always said she was stressed out and tired.�

     

School Board 24 in western Queens voted unanimously to enforce a state law requiring that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited at the start of every school day. Students with a �good reason� will be excused from the pledge, and teachers who refuse to lead the class pledge will be allowed to have another teacher take over the task. They also decided to name Public School 58 in Maspeth �The School of Heros.� That’ll be a hard one to back up on the football, field, won’t it? It’s like naming a kid “Abraham Lincoln Neil Armstrong Jesus.� Too much to live up to.

     

Arlene Lewis, writing for the Queens Tribune, says $2.2 million is earned annually by pimps via their prostitutes in Queens, a good deal of it near the Queens Plaza area at the foot of the Queensborough Bridge, not too far from where the Museum of Modern Art is installing itself temporarily. No doubt that explains the sheltering subway-to-MOMA walkway they’re building.

     

The Blade reports that a chemical trend in the gay community is the combo of Viagra and poppers, the latter also known as “video head cleaner” and made from amyl nitrate or butyl nitrate. Both drugs are perfectly legal, but the pair can be lethal. �The vessels get larger and that lowers your blood pressure and that lowers the amount of blood that goes through your heart and into your brain. That�s what the amyl nitrate does, and that�s a similar mechanism to what the Viagra does. It improves blood flow to the penis. So these two things, working in a similar way, cause an overdose of this effect and people have extremely low blood pressure.�

     

The Concorde’s back, Patsy and Edina, so rejoice, though there are Queens residents who fought the plane’s return. Sonic booms at 8:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. every day do not resonate well in residential areas, nor does even the thunder-like sound level of the thrumming engines at non-boom times. But protests against the noise of the planes grew stale: US Congressman Anthony Weiner says he forgot to push for a bill banning the plane to be introduced in the Senate, as it had been in the House.

     

The New York and New Jersey construction industry, often a strong financial supporter of the Sinn Fein, not in small part due to the number of Irish construction workers, used that fund-raising skill to put together $400,000 for the support of relatives of victims the World Trade Center attacks, of which a number were themselves Irish or of Irish heritage.

     

Expected in New York City in winter 2002 for the Davos Forum are 3200 delegates and visitors. And how many protesters? They don’t say.

     

Former Beatle George Harrison is undergoing treatment on Staten Island. �The word around the hospital is that the procedure he is having is the last chance of saving his life.�

     

Elaine Stritch is getting applause in press and in person for her one-woman show, �Elaine Stritch: At Liberty.�”

Posted November 8, 2001

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