My mom is visiting NYC for the first time since my aunt died in 1996. She’s finding the city enormously different and “strangely clean.” She keeps commenting on how friendly and courteous everybody seems now. Yesterday I toured her around the Midtown landmarks which have most changed since she last saw them: Times Square, Rockefeller Center’s Top Of The Rock (above), Grand Central, Columbus Circle, and then we saw Xanadu, which she thought was terrific, of course.
Mom’s in town for her 50th high school reunion; she went to Irvington High in Irvington, New Jersey, a tiny, formerly white working class town on the south side of Newark. When I asked her why the reunion is actually being held in nearby Union, she diplomatically replied, “Well, there really aren’t any, um, nice places to hold it in Irvington.” Which is her polite way of saying that Irvington has become a horrific slum. On a per capita basis, today Irvington has the worst crime rate in New Jersey and a murder rate six times that of the rest of the state. Union it is.
TRIVIA: Other alums of Irvington High School are Jerry Lewis and Queen Latifah.