Day 121: Bocce in the Park

Competitors watch the final balls being tossed in a Bocce match

Competitors watch the final balls being tossed in a Bocce match

Located behind the main branch of the New York Public Library, Bryant Park was once barren, a drug-filled wasteland (don’t ask me how I know, I just do) of questionable value, but today it is a vibrant public park complete with a free reading library, carousel ride, espresso shops and food booths; for entertainment there is table tennis, chess games and bocce courts. Bocce, once the pastime of elderly, Italian men, is now played by New Yorkers young and old (and rather than scoring points there might be a bit of cash changing hands during the match). Yesterday’s cold, torrential rains (10th heaviest rainfall in NYC history) gave way to sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s. It was a glorious day!

Day 118: Taxi!

Taxi line up on Lexington Avenue during lunch time.

Taxi line up on Lexington Avenue during lunch time.

Anyone who has visited NYC recently will know that many taxi drivers are of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage. Ethnic groups gravitating toward specific jobs and industries is a common pattern that has repeated itself for generations in an immigrant center like New York. Back in the day the Irish came through Ellis Island and became cops in; during my youth every fruit store within 10 miles of my house was owned by an Italian family, 15 years later each of those stores were owned by a Korean family. When I drove a cab during my time in college, the taxi industry was filling up with Russian Jews who could finally leave Russia, but were unable to get an Israeli visa. No surprise, someone immigrated, then helps their family and friends do the same thing; helps them get a job, or start a business.
Today, I was walking down Lexington Avenue when I passed an block filled with Indian and Pakistani restaurants and an endless line of yellow cabs. Hint: If you ever need a cab, walk to Lexington between 27th and 28th Streets.