It is 4:05pm in New York City. I think the sun sets around 5:30 but it’s already darkening outside with the added dramatics of a heavy fog. It has been raining for the last 24 hours starting in mid-afternoon yesterday. Then I was hearing a strong whooshing sound somewhere in my studio-apartment which I discovered surprisingly to be my the underside of my front door.
I’m on the 12th floor of a reasonably contemporary 20 story building designed and built by Skidmore Owens & Merrill aka SOM in the early 1960s in red brick, windows flush to the facade, with absolutely not a single ornamentation anywhere at the roof line or window headers or even the entry doors, front and back. It has 414 apartments and is 200 ft long and 180 ft tall [61 & 55 m}. It has generous front and back landscaped areas with walkways and lots of evergreen planting. At least 50 trees dot the parking lot that separates this building from another identical building. Very pleasant and generous for Manhattan urban planning. Manhattan is the most densely populated county in the USA with 1.7 million people, with 8.4 in New York’s total five boroughs. It’s and the 9th largest city after Shanghai, Beijing Karachi Istanbul Dhaka Tokyo Moscow and Manila. It is the 8th wealthiest city in the world following #1 Chicago, Osaka, Paris, London, Seoul, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. The racial makeup of New York City is 45% White, 25% Black, 12% Yellow and 28% Brown if ethnicity is reduced to color code.
What was causing that whooshing, which is how I realized that it was raining, was that one of my windows was blown or sucked wide open by strong winds and whipping rain outside. My studio was a wind tunnel. I had been hoping to join my UU, Unitarian Universalist, church Christmas song singing around nightfall, but it didn’t seem likely now given the weather. My mindset is never congenial to merry-making and joyful singing, and hardly conscious that this is supposedly the celebration of a mythical man walking the Earth in the Middle-East 2000 years ago. A male person with supposedly simple but very high ideals for human coexistence on this presumably only inhabited planet in the estimated 40 billion planetary universe and 300 billion stars. There are only eight planets in our solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus and Neptune, all predicted to be without water except of course Earth. And water is essential for us homo sapiens; our body uses water in our cells, organs and tissues to regulate our temperature and maintain bodily functions. Water is part of the compositions of cells, is needed for chemical and metabolic reactions, transports nutrients, removes waste products and regulate body temperature. Not to mention water for agriculture and manufacturing and transportation and recreation.
And here today and for the last 24 hours there’s lots of water. Several times an hour, as times was approaching the 7pm meeting time, I went to the window to assess the rain strength. I judged that my large rain poncho of a light brown plastic [China $5] would suffice to get me the 20 blocks or 1 mile [1.6 km] to the church on my bicycle. I rarely take bus or subway except beyond 40 block destinations. Having been living in Copenhagen till age 13, biking is second nature for traveling within the city or even further out, and bike lanes are constructed with equal respect to sidewalks and auto lanes, usually 2 or 3 bikes wide, clearly marked and often raised off the roadway for separation. I managed to get in 45 min of vocal exercises in preparation, got dressed for the 10 min ride at 6:50 pm, when I decided to check my computer email (I have no cell-phone for saving money but still a land-phone that’s free as part of my cable provider) and saw that the notice that the music director and senior minister had canceled the choir singing because it was meant to be an outreach to the community and would be outdoors.