Thursday, 7 June 2007

Issue 17 - Wind

5 February, 2006

Kim having a laugh in Central Park. Actually, I think she's telling me how cold the wind is. This day was about -12 degrees centigrade with the wind chill.


I walk to work each morning past the global headquarters of JP Morgan Chase, the NYSE, the former home of the great House of Morgan bank, down Broad Street to the very tip of Manhattan, where I have a tiny cubicle in a dark corner of a huge open-plan floor at 1 New York Plaza. I walk this way partly for the fun of passing all of these great monuments to capitalism, but mostly to break up the wind in winter.

In the winter months, the sun may shine, or it may not, it may be cold, or it may be mild. But the wind, the howling, evil, devious, and crippling wind, the wind is constant. My office has a pleasant plaza on Water Street, which sets the building back a little from the road (part of the building code, designed to allow buildings to be very, very tall, but allow light to reach the streets). That is to say, the plaza usually looks good in photos, but the reality is quite the opposite. Being set right next to Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, there is no shelter from the wind which either blows off the harbour (bringing wet weather from the South), off the East River (bringing the icy breath of the North Atlantic), or down Water Street (being a Northerly express line of Arctic air, direct from Canada). It is not a place for unbuttoned coats, long hair, hats or people who did not have an American-over-sized plate of pancakes for breakfast. As for using an umbrella in the rain - fuh-getaboudit. It depends which direction you open it, but after 5 seconds in an arctic blast every umbrella is either a blown-out skeleton, or the user is is wearning a black wire hat/straight-jacket from the shoulders up. Umbrellas sell for $5 at street corners, and no-one will pay more because they will be sacrifices to the Mary Poppins god by the next corner anyway.

Now, I'll admit to anyone who asks that I carry a few extra kilos around my middle, but at least now I know that I have a substantial advantage over those who don't ........... ballast. Once in a while I see men and women with what many would consider perfect figures fighting a losing battle with the wind - stopped in their tracks, blown off course, or spun around like they've been slapped in the face with a frozen fish. I may take up a little more space on the subway than them, but at least I can plot and maintain a consistent course across the plaza, without looking like I'm on an ice rink. Which leads me to the conclusion that the reason so many people in New York are overweight is purely to given them a decent anchor when the wind blows.


Is it redundant to say "flightless Apteryx Haastii", given technically all Apteryx Haastii are flightless?

If I go for a flight in a helicopter, does this mean I am no longer flightless, or am I no longer an Apteryx Haastii?


What the Farnarkle is an Apteryx Haastii? The answer is below:

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People's poll: Does anyone from outside New Zealand really know when (or what) Waitangi Day is?


And now for some recent photos:

Our building at 2 Gold Street. The "two" sculpture was done by the same fellow who thought up the twin towers of light in 2002 on the World Trade Center.

Our building - our apartment is the 8th balcony from the bottom (or 10th from the top) on the right-hand side. If you like to test yourself, you can try to count up to the 29th floor (remembering of course that there is no 13th floor) instead...

Arty photo in the the curved mirror sculpture at Wall St Plaza two blocks from home. The white tower to the right is 88 Pine Street, where I worked for the first couple of months after we arrived. The air-conditioning never worked, and the toilets were often backed up, but I get the feeling the rent is cheap (like the budgie). Not sure I miss this building yet.

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