Monday, January 3, 2011

A Happy New Year

It's been a tough week here in NYC, as 2010 segued into 2011. A snowstorm hit our town pretty hard and made the last week of last year a rough one. Mayor Bloomberg got something he's rarely used to -- bad press -- for his administration's mishandling of what was, in many respects, a pretty ordinary blizzard. Now there accusations and counter-accusations of whether it was official incompetence or some kind of intentional sanitation worker slowdown that caused the mess. Whatever the reason, it was a bummer.

But there's some good news emerging from the melting snow.

President Obama was finally able to sign the Zadroga bill, the legislation which will cover the health care costs for 9/11 rescue workers. This bill took a torturous route to passage as Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, as well as Congresspeople Maloney and Nadler, heroically pushed it through relentless Republican opposition. It's unbelievable that a political party that has so ruthlessly and cynically used 9/11 for their own political gain would deny the people cleaning up the worst terrorist attack in American history health care -- but they sure as hell tried. Fortunately a few (very few) Republicans in Congress had blood flowing through their calloused hearts and voted for the bill in the end. While it's sad that this bill which should have passed overwhelmingly barely squeaked through, at least it did and now our workers will get the care they deserve.

And last week, amidst the tumult of the blizzard, Old New York society made a rare appearance. The 56th International Debutante Ball was held at the Waldorf-Astoria and the Observer has a great piece about it. Young women from around the country, immaculately dressed and coiffed, are accompanied by two escorts -- a civilian and a cadet from one of the service academies -- to this soiree that marks the end of the Deb season. There is dinner, dancing, and the formal entrance into Society for these young ladies -- as well as reminder that the finer things in life like class and poise and manners are still relevant in this world of Jersey Shore. Call it snobbishness, call it classism, call it elitism or whatever you will, it's nice to know that, under the radar, refinery still rules somewhere in this town.   

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