“Wow, what luck,” I thought. “My assemblyman, Micah Kellner, witnessed my nearly being flattened by two early-teen sidewalk cyclists.” They came silently from behind as I stepped to the left to greet the assemblyman, who was looking for a cab on 81st and York. Now I’ve learned not to change lanes on the sidewalks or pedestrian park paths without looking behind to see if the coast is clear. Imagine! Thankfully, these teens were able to expertly swerve to keep from knocking me down. The boy saying “I’m sorry, ma’am” helped, and yet I could be in the hospital now.
My assemblyman, relieved to see that I was intact, went on to hail a cab. But I know Kellner, a champion for disabled persons, will now see how critical it is for every city wheel, every sidewalk runner too, to make a nice little sound.
It does seem that when a child is injured, threatened or killed there is more concern by media and city officials. Yes, Virginia, ageism unwittingly or unconsciously infects most of us, even its victims. And even when there aren’t the obvious snickering slurs (Imus and Joy Behar are but two of TV and radio’s rankest offenders), there’s the general indifference toward elder persons, starting quite early for females.
But even “elder advocates,” like The Gray Panthers and The Older Women’s League no longer see ageism and age apartheid as undergirding and worsening problems that naturally or “unnaturally” occur in later/late life. And in media, mine is that lone voice crying out against ageism and age apartheid—and also against the safety-second traffic stances of government, whose first constitutional duty is to protect public safety.
Yes, even Kellner may be unwittingly infected, along with Rep. Carolyn Maloney, State Sen. Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Jonathan Bing and Council Member Jessica Lappin. Why do they only consult the bike advocacy group Transportation Alternatives on their pedestrian safety enhancement programs?
Two hours after my heart-stopping close call, I learned that the Café 79 diner on 79th and First is closing at the end of the year. Oh, no, not this family-run business, nurturing the nabe for 38 years! The landlord is asking for more rent, what else? But we must really try to save Café 79!
But does anyone “way up there” really care? Mayor Bloomberg may be a great businessman, but does he see the need to save these everyday neighborhood places that fill so many everyday needs—or even to save human-scale neighborhoods?
And may “saving the nabes” become a top priority of both civic and faith groups! Ah, if only mine were not the only column consistently covering both those potential sources for good. Ah, if only mine weren’t the only column consistently covering a number of everyday needs, not to mention socially acceptable oppressions like ageism and age apartheid.
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