No wonder we have discontent in our Nation. After being in Albany, I wonder why the poor have not taken to the streets. Let me describe our State’s capital city.
- An old city, whose buildings rise majestically surrounded by squalor. As the legislature dedicates funding to Buffalo. The capital languishes. Even the. Hilton has ” lower” level sales negotiators, willing to gamble $ 250,000 on a contract, while the elite corporations play out of the limelight for higher stakes.
- There are no corridors of power, only a small silo, it used to be composed of 3 men, but Sheldon Silver was indicted, now only two survive and one is Andrew Cuomo. It appears that High level negotiations don’t take place outside the Capital or the mansion, only junior negotiators stay in town.
- The entrance to Albany, is ringed by old brownstones, built in the 1800’s rotting and decayed , many boarded up, awaiting gentrification as the local populace is driven from town and further marginalized. Not even the bus stops are clearly marked. It is as if a ghost population inhabits these streets. Sadness and despair, head lowered, the people line up for the bus yet exit singly.
The outer rim of Albany is altogether different, but not unlike the suburbs of so many other communities. These communities, host the same large Malls with corporate tenants, peppering the American landscape. It doesn’t matter if you were a stranger from another land, step into these communities and you could be in Troy, Michigan or Roosevelt Field, Long Island or San Jose, California. The same restaurants and anchor Shops. No evidence of the diversity, of the small Mom and Pop’s that made this country great. You have to look so hard for those entrepreneurial enterprises. I missed one, a small diner in Brewster, that had been dormant to me as I raced past it for years. Perhaps we should open our eyes, search out that part of AMERICA we wish to preserve and patronize them , giving our money and our time.
The pendulum has swung into a non personal arc, perhaps to reclaim our identity we should consider blending what we loved with the new technology. The best of both world!s as we take those Norman Rockwell scenes and make his stories ours. Build on our strengths as we move forward into un chartered territory.
I understand my son dug deep into food reviews, to find us a genuine Japanese restaurant not far from The Cross Gates Mall, Sushi Tei. It was superb and authentic by any standards, yet hidden away, far from the main affluent centers. An oasis in a desert, followed by a small country ” soft serve” ice cream parlor, The Cone Shop. Making our evening complete as we spent quality time with my Grandson before his military induction. No cell phones intruded, we talked, joked and we laughed, telling and re telling the stories of our lives.
This was the end of my grandson’s childhood as he embarks on another journey. A new adventure. I cautioned him not to lose his sense of humor and to always remain a kid, curious and situationally alert. I’ll miss him but look forward to seeing the next phase, the ” good” man he will become.