Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 10, 1975 · Page 39
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August 10, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 39

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, August 10, 1975
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Page 39
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The Big Apple: It's Moil Right now it's Manhattan on the rocks, a city broke as well as, to some, dangerous and dirty, loathsome and lonely. But New Yorkers love their town. Why? A close look at a city whose excitement, variety and mystery are unduplicated gives the answer. By Malcolm N. Carter an to Visit NEW YORK (AP) - Seagulls dip and swoop and swirl over the water. On the leaves, there glimmers a summer dawn's dew. Joggers thunk. thunk, thunk around the reservoir. Above and beyond the trees of Central Park, the tensions of the coming day seem to loom in the skyscrapers -; dense,' towering masses with empty -.corridors.' and offices that will soon be charged with new ideas, hard decisions, opportunities won and lost. ' It's the beginning of another day of crisis in Gotham. Today it's a strike by sanitatiorimen. Great mounds of-garbage.-lie stinking on- the sidewalks and the streets.'Another hardship to be endured. And, some might say^ another reason to leave New York.. Yet those joggers keep on thunkihg as though the garbage were a million miles '·away;-."'..''. ·' ; v -. ; -.··'·':".";.":..'.·'- · · - · - - ·.,^bh television' that night. Mayor Abra-ham D. Beame looks grim. Again. Speaking hopefully of the three-day strike's imminent end, he says New Yorkers are tough: they, can take it. » ' THEY ALWAYS DO in a city where crisis follows crisis: a single fire knocks out telephones in a 300-square-block area, enough phones for all of Vermont: policemen mount'a "fear city" campaign; the city runs out of cash. The $12.3 billion budget, is already the biggest in the nation, save the nation's itself. To balance the behemoth, the mayor levies additional taxes on the most highly taxed populace in the country. Another crisis, an'd the people who live here stay on. mindful of their durability. Sometimes even proud 'of it. This is a city seemingly filled with ad. versities -- the fear of. being threatened with a knife and robbed, although the likelihood of that is higher in 18 other major U. S. cities: the spectacle of crowded, graffiti-smeared subway trains screeching through dark tunnels: the horror of fat. loathsome rats scuttling between cracked and peeling tenement walls; the terror pi rape: the roaches. But still they remain: 8 million New Yorkers who love and sometimes hate and need the city despite its crises. Maybe even because of them. Roughly half the New Yorkers surveyed by The New York Times recently said they lived here, not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Two-thirds of the 419 respondents said they thought job and career opportunities were better here than elsewhere, and three-quarters of them said it was a good place to visit. How come? . ASK A NATIVE Egyptian who tends bar in Manhattan: "The quantity of possibilities in the city are much higher than any place else." Or ask a.. Brooklynite who writes chil- .dren's books: "Anybody who wants to do anything can find it here in the city." Since the Dutch 'first settled at the mouth of the Hudson River, the flow of immigrants to New York has'never stopped. The Irish'came here. So did the Italians. v Greek. Ukrainians. Chinese. Hungarians. Lebanese. German Jews, Puerto Ricans and Jamaicans. And many of them stayed, stamping the city with, their distinctive ethnic flavor and making it possible to purchase pizza pie or spinach pie w i t h equal ease. Nowhere are the ethnic treasures more apparent than in Manhattan, the very essence of New York, where opposite sides of the same street can evoke two different countries. And as reputed, Manhatttanites are always in a hurry. With good reason: there is so much to see, taste, feel and so little time in which to do it all. The play, the movie, the performer might be gone tomorrow. The missed bus, taxi or subway train might also be a missed opportunity. Beat the traffic light, dodge the dog droppings without breaking stride, catch the waiter, fight for a subway Determination on Madison Avenue Young New Yorker Overcomes Odds to Toss Frisbee seat, rush past the panhandler without a glance and neverrnever, never waste a minute. But this extreme of haste makes all the more appealing such an enclave of peace as the vest-pocket park with its rippling fountain half a block from the frenzy of Fifth Avenue. And the extreme of quantities makes choice that much more possible. It is not a question of whether to hear jazz or rock, but whether to hear progressive jazz among a dozen other varieties or acid rock or, say, folk rock. All of it live. Nor is it a question of which is the best restaurant in town. But which is the best French or Indian or Czechoslovakian or Thai or Japanese restaurant. , · * IN THE NUMBER OF extremes lies their acceptability. New Yorkers can dare to be different without fear of reproach: and in being different, they enrich the city. A man wearing sandwich boards rails in favor of "husband liberation" day after day in Rockefeller Center, attracting nary a native's glance. Members of the world's biggest avowedly homosexual community parade a quarter the length of Manhattan. In skin-hugging satins or studded leather bikinis, the rally in Central Park for gay pride without causing even a smattering sensation. New Yorkers, after all, have come.to expect the unexpected. In Soho -- the cast-iron architectural district which takes its name from being south of Houston Street pronounced "House-ton," without apologies to Sam Houston -- a natural foods restaurant fills bowls with toasted soybeans..Surprisingly ft Heart of little Italy-A Nice Place to Visit Roy Winograd and Vivian Lentini Enjoying Atmosphere, Food. Each Other enough for. such a place, the bowls rest on a cozy liquor bar. A lunch wagon at a nearby corner serves, not the familiar hot dog with sauerkraut or onions, but falafel. a Middle Eastern snack of fried chick peas. Across-West Broadway.'two'street clowns appear, begin their juggling routine and in no time have a crowd of 50 giggling and chuckling at their antics. Once a bleak section of strictly industrial buildings. Soho is now the Off-Broadway of the art world. Behind the grim gray and red brick exteriors, there exist vast studio and living lofts filled with experiments at the leading edge of artistic creativity and with lush greenery of every description in protest against the blankness of the neighborhood's many walls. Soho is part of historic lower Manhattan, where New York began. Within walking distance are a half-dozen neighborhoods of distinctly different colorations, each evoling the city's heritage. To the north is Greenwich Village. To the east is Little Italy and the Lower East Side, where such notables as Irving Berlin, Paul Muni, Eddie Cantor and Sen. Jacob Javits were reared. To the south are Chinatown, City Hall and the winding streets of Old New York, once the nation's capitol. »· THE VILLAGE, AS New Yorkers call the Bohemian bastion of the past, is still a lively area, full of ferment, good music arid casual styles of living. It was here that "The Fantasticks" opened, and it is still playing 16 years later, two doors from a funeral home. In Washington Square Park, where muggers prey at night, a throng is lured by the rhythmic chant of al fresco gamblers: "Chuck-a-luck, chuck-a-luck, the more you put down, the more you pick up." Not far away, they're playing something quite different, a mournful blues from a battered old trumpet and a guitar. Although the seats around the park's inlaid stone tables are wet with rain, a weathered and wrinkled man wearing a sun-bleached, stained straw hat is losing at checkers. "Who says I know how to play?" he asks the winner winningly. On a Sunday, the Lower East Side is as jammed as pickles in a jar. Orchard Street is closed to cars but curb to curb with people. It was here that the Irish first settled at the end of the last century. They were followed by Eastern European Jews, some of whose families still live there. And they were followed by Puerto Ricans, more than a million of whom now live all over New York. AH came here in search of a better life, and many have found it. The result of the flux has left the Lower East Side a study in contrasts, of bodegas and barrels of pickled herring. Knowledgeable New Yorkers make their way here to buy pocketbooks or caviar at bargain prices, to munch kasha knishes and to haggle with the shopkeepers. *· ALMOST IMPERCEPTIBLY, the Lower East Side melts into Little Italy and Chinatown. In Little Italy, an insistent tarantella blares from a speaker, garlic scents the air and cafe tables shaded by gaily colored jfcrhbreEas spill into Mulberry Street. v *. Charcoal-broiled sweetbreads; red, white and green pennants, cheese cake fresh from the oven; espresso -- all in the mean streets that are said to be the safest and the friendliest in town. A block from Umberto's where Joey Gallo ate his last meal, Canal Street slices across Manhattan. Here begins Chinatown, bright with neon lights. Roasted ducks long dead hang by their necks in storefront windows, through which are visible the jars of twisted dried brown roots and stalks of unfamiliar seasonings. Past what restaurant, behind what closed doors, down what flights of stairs are the infamous gambling dens? The outsider can only guess for this is the Orient: clamorous, mysterious and exotic. The British occupied this area nearly two centuries ago and imprisoned the American revolutionary soldiers memorialized now in the oasis that is the graveyard of Trinity Church. Catching the sun's noontime rays there, a number of young persons, many of them shirtless, perch on the soldiers' monument. Although a mere block from the tumult of the New York Stock Exchange, they are as distant and as wistful as a cloud. Leigh Dean pauses while making a gravestone rubbing to say she comes here often. "It's a place to retreat from all the chaos and the noise and the jangle that's around us," she says. "The thing is that there are so many things in this city that'are free." she says. "Perhaps it takes an imagination." Sum/av (f' c urrent ffairs W cst \'irginia . · i TM ID August 10,1975 IN THE SUMMER, New York is "free city" -- free outdoor performances of the Metropolitan Opera, free films in the parks, free music on the streets. Of course, some entertainment costs' money -- the much-vaunted cultural wealth of the city. The museums. The theater. The movies as new as a world premiere, as old as a silent classic. At curtain time, Broadway pulses. Footsteps quicken. Necks cran toward celebrities. Peacock clothes appear. Some parts of the Great White Way are so clogged with limousines and lesser cars that a fire engine with siren screaming moves only one block in 10 minutes. Surrounded like islands in a sea of sleaze, the theaters emply out to leave Times Square to the prostitutes, the pimps, the midnight cowboys, the topless bars, the massage parlors and the pornographic book stores. And not a few unwit- t i n g . t o u r i s t s . Across town, on the elegant East Side, the singles life swings in bars with names like Friday's, Maxwell's Plum and Adam's Apple. Making friends is the ostensible object. Easy sex is the frequent result there and in bars meant just for homosexual encounters. In these self-consciously casual and resolutely joyous nightspots, loneliness is the motor and money, the key. But no one seems to mind meeting where drinks are dear, where dress is flawlessly chic, where everyone's hunting and many are hurting, where friendship rests on a mortar of words tossed over the din. Failure is going home alone. Maybe tomorrow, for there is no last chance in a city of hope. The joggers will be out in the park early. L.T. Anderson Free Ticket Was Wasted The election day advantage handed them in the form of Watergate scandals was frittered away in the regular session by members of the Democratic majority in the state legislature, who. after giving themselves a handsome pay raise, staggered crazily from one pork barrel project to another, throwing the people's money around like confetti. They gave the state its second and third medical schools in the face of professional opinion that the first medical school isn't a first rate one. Then they gave us. incredibly, a Track and Field Hall of Fame which nobody wanted, or even thought about, until an energetic promoter, all on his own. derided it would be a nice thing for the taxpayers to buy. I DON'T BELIEVE the confessions of John Kelly damaged the Democrats a great deal. . The Democrats already had damaged themselves mortally before the state treasurer, a former necktie salesman, was shown to be following the crooked path worn by predecessors in state government. Kelly's crimes fade in the presence of the legislature, where sell- interest and boobery vie for the upper hand. It will be a surprise to me if Democrats are elected to a majority of the legislative seats available to Kanawha County candidates at the next election. I wouldn't be altogether surprised if Republicans make a clean sweep of the offices. In my years at the Gazette I have never before heard so many expressions of indignation about the conduct of state legislators. We cannot expect run-of-the-mill political candidates to be wise, unselfish and just. Most of us assume, however, that they will be cunning enough to take steps to insure their reelection. Members of the present legislative majority failed even in this simple exercise, not recognizing that a pork barrel project produces votes only when the project captures more than minimal interest. THE PEOPLE OF Kanawha County, despite intensive conditioning, aren't excited by the prospect of a Track and Field Hall of Fame. They aren't in the mood to buy one for the price of two medical schools. The people who want additional medical schools are the people in the communities in which the schools will be located, some feverish Marshall University alumni and a few legislators whose personal interests are obvious. We shall see at the next election just how popular Democrats made themselves in the legislature after being given a free ticket to their offices by Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew. those great Republican scoundrels of the century.

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