June 12, 2001
Here with, a few random notes, mainly from our recent trip to New York for a whirlwind theater tour.
We are not what you'd call frequent visitors to New York, but for the past few years we've had occasions to spend some time there on business and pleasure. Some of our friends do not like the Big City. They find it cold, hostile and riddled with potential muggers. Our experiences, for the most part, have been very pleasant. We like going to the theater and no place else on earth has New York's selection to choose from. Even the box office failures can occasionally earn our applause. On our last foray into the island, we chose to take a sightseeing bus tour on a day when rain threatened but never really developed. It was a double-decker bus, with no cover on the topside, and it was an import from Britain. The driver was on the right side, or "wrong side," if you prefer. We chose to ride downstairs in view of the possibility of rain. It's a good way to see the city, but the place is so big that you'd have to spend a full day or more just driving around and not getting out at any place of special interest.
The tour guide, incidentally, was a stereotypical New Yorker in her speech, the colloquialisms and phrases, and her psuedo-brassy manner. As the bus tooled along Broadway - near Times Square, she proudly said that particular area had been converted into a safe and clean district because of Rudy Giuliani, "the best mayor we've ever had." She said the present controversies involving the mayor were unfortunate, but she stuck by her characterization of him in proclaiming the virtues he had brought about. A few years ago, you could not feel safe after nightfall on the Great White Way. That's all in the past. The mayor has virtually eliminated the muggers and public urinators who used to threaten visitors. The triple-X theaters and adult shops have been compacted into a cluster off the beaten path and one can stroll along the avenues - Madison, Park, Fifth and all the others - without great fear. As you know, His Honor is the target of many late-night TV show hosts because he has cleaned up so much of America's biggest city. More power to him. His domestic difficulties are unfortunate but as our guide pointed out, he has done a good job of running the city.
On our Sunday there, we attended a morning service at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, a large and very old institution where we have worshipped previously. For whatever reason, the attendance was much better last Sunday than it has been on our previous visits, and being there certainly gave us a lift. And that reminds me, of a recent happening at our own Perry Presbyterian Church. The pastor, the Rev. Tim Boggess, observed his fourth anniversary here on Easter Sunday. As a token of their love and appreciation, the congregation presented him with a new Chevy S-10 pickup, just the thing for a wannabe cowboy. In response, Tim gave his Saturn sedan to the Wycliffe Bible translators for the use of their missionaries when they are in the U.S. on leave. What a circle of love can start!