I’ve just arrived. I’m staying in “zip code” 10469, which is just beyond the area where I’m planning to do most of my research, . Looks like I’m in the 14th Congressional District, which I think makes me a temporary constituent of none other than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!
It will take me a while to get the hang of the local geography, in every sense, but in terms of landmarks, I’m about a mile and a half east of the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden.
It’s a supposedly big day in local politics, with the “primary” to elect the Democratic Party’s candidate to be New York City Mayor. The assumption is that whoever wins today, will win the Mayoral election in November. It’s far too early for me to make any judgments about the state of NYC politics, but from what I’ve read about the candidates in today’s poll, there’s not much to get excited about. Walking around mid-Manhattan for a couple of hours earlier, with the exception of being given one leaflet about a no-chance contender, you wouldn’t know the elections were happening. I’ll watch the turnout figures with interest.
This quietude may not just be about party politics. I’ve been to this city many times now, but I’ve never seen it like this. Although there are strenuous claims that it is (to use a phrase I’m really coming to hate) “going back to normal”, it didn’t look that way to me. Of course, the pandemic has left its trail here, but walking along 5th Avenue without the usual cacophony of sound and fury is strange. Again, too early to jump to conclusions about what that might mean.
For now, I’m just feeling very lucky to be here and when I catch-up on some sleep, excited about the prospect of exploring. I’m sure there will be lots of gritty urban stuff to write about, but in the meantime, here’s a picture from my new front garden.