Issue 10 - 16 June 2005
Just a big white refrigerator (the thing on the right is the box it came in)
In New York, there are four seasons. The wet one, the dead leaf one, the f...ing cold one, and the really, really unpleasant one.
This is the unpleasant one.
New York in summer is really the armpit of the world. When the heat comes, it is nice for the first minute or so - a bit like being stepping outside in Singapore before your shirt instantly sticks to your back. Then it hits you - the humidity, the smell and the noise. New York is a noisy place - sitting on our balcony, there is a solid roar of air conditioning units, pneumatic drills, sirens and car horns. Sitting here this evening feels a little like sitting on the tarmac at Hong Kong airport under a Cathay Pacific 747 - it's noisy, its a bit whiffy, and it feels like I'm in the blast of the jet engine.
In summer, the beautiful people get a chance to show how beautiful they are, and the other 99% of New Yorkers leave the house believing that if they are not beautiful, they can at least wear almost nothing and get away with it. I hate to say it, but the 99% are painfully wrong. While the streets are a boiling 35 degrees, the subway is airconditioned (very civilised - Londoners take note). I wear a suit to work, and so I swelter in the street, but the superchilled subway is perfect for me. One step inside the frigid depths of a subway car is however enough to turn the most over-primped, under-dressed socialite into a shivering goose. Score one to the ugly blokes in the suits.
Air-conditioning is a strange animal. It is a bit like living in a refrigerator (stay with me on this one). A refrigerator is a big white box, with a cooling element in it, powered by a big engine at the back. It is a fact that if you leave the door of a fridge open, the temperature of the room will initially fall (as the cold air from inside the fridge mixes with the warmer air in the room), but then rise. This is because the engine at the back generates more heat making cold air, than the cold air it generates. This is of course due to the famously well-known principle of physics, "you can't get something for nothing," or to use some basic New York principles with the same concept, "did you really expect me to carry your bags up here for nothing," or, "did you honestly think that lunch was free?"
My office building is big and white, and is shaped like a refrigerator. It is cold on the inside (although not lately - the pot plant I keep on my desk is the only thing not wilting for the first six hours of the day), and even has a light which comes on when I open the front door in the morning. It does however take a great big engine on the roof to keep it cool, which I know from the "no free lunch" principle generates more heat than it does hot air.
The heat of the New York summer is therefore self-perpetuating: the weather warms up, the air-conditioning comes on, which generates more heat outside the buildings, which means that the air-conditioning must be turned up, which in itself generates more heat. So, New York is really just a city full of fridges with their doors open.
Events last fortnight:
Another quarter-end went by, and I didn't get sacked - as soon as they find someone stupid enough to volunteer to do this 14 hours a day in my place (in the balmy climes of 88 Pine Street after the aircon shuts off at 6pm), I'm off to grow grapes in Central Otago I think (as opposed to growing tomatoes in the heat at my desk). No volunteers? No surprise there - not enough gullible accountants in the world, I say.
Friday two weeks ago: Star Wars! Children of the 70's, you've got to love it, because it answers all the questions it took the franchise the first 10 years to pose. "How could Darth Vader be Luke's father?" "How could Leah be Luke's sister if they grew up on different planets?" To be honest, George Lukas answered these with as little inspiration as possible. Seriously, if you asked me when I first saw Star Wars what the story should be to explain Obi-Wan's 1977 statement, "He was a Jedi once, you know," I'm pretty sure I would have added a few more twists to the tale. And I was 7 years old at the time.
Friday last week: our first show on Broadway - "Chicago" at St James' Theatre on 49th St. This was always my favourite Broadway to Hollywood crossover, and it was excellent. Super-slick and professionsal as you would expect. He had it coming, he had it coming, and you would have done it, just the same.
Last weekend: camping weekend at Hammanasset Beach in Connetticut, about two hours North-East from New York. Andrew and Willa were kind enough to give us a lift, sponsor the gas, cart our kit around, provide all the food and utensils, and be polite about my ability to undercook and overcook food on the BBQ. You guys win the "I could survive Guantanamo Bay without my Koran" award for holding out under torture.
And now for the photos:
Long Beach, Long Island. Memorial weekend (two weeks ago)
A rock in the Gunks - Kim's new climbing partner (Jim) is up the top there somewhere.
There he is, a little closer.
The Gunks - about 2 hours North of New York.
Summer on the pier at Christopher Street in Greenwich Village - wow was it HOT on this day!
And - the team: we always dress like this!
The Pine St All Stars, from left to right, back row (club and position in parentheses); Michael Burgess (New Zealand, London and Zurich - bat boy); Rob Grudzinski (New Jersey - catcher); Debbie Pellegrino (Brooklyn - 1st base); Patrick McMahon (Inwood - short stop); Fred Cuttita (Manhattan - pitcher)
Seated: Rahul Chopra (Canada and Manhattan Pretenders - 3rd base); Bram Boeve (The Netherlands and Geneva - designated hitter).
Inset: Michele Peluso (Long Island - Manager, trainer, coach and franchise owner).
Absent (on free transfer from rival club): Donna Kichukova (Bulgaria - 2nd base)