New York City has suffered more than its share of crises over its long history – draft riots during the Civil War, the stock market crash of 1929, the financial meltdown of the 1970s, to name just a few. But it hasn’t dealt with this before: the great pastrami crisis.
As anyone who has visited New York knows, the city lives on pastrami. Yes, there are hotdog vendors and $295 hamburgers and, sure, the city makes some good pizza. But to imagine New York without the Carnegie Deli or Katz’s is like imagining Paris without the Eiffel Tower or London without Lloyd’s. And, as anyone who has been there also knows, you can’t have the Katz’s or the Carnegie without pastrami.
It’s getting bad. According to the New York Times, the average price of brisket, the cut that magically becomes pastrami, rose 47 percent over 2013 and this year it is up 14 percent. It’s a disaster.
What’s required here is some creativity, and so, a proposal: Create a Pastrami Hedge Fund by levying a fine against every taxi driver who blasts his horn less than one second after a traffic light turns green.
Call him Senator Pothole South. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who is the U.S. Senate majority leader, has begun a campaign against climate change rules proposed by the Obama administration. He is reaching far beyond the confines of his federal assignment in appealing to governors and even courtrooms to block Obama’s rules.
That may be disappointing to those who understand the threat of climate change, but hardly surprising when you consider his state’s reliance on the coal industry for jobs. In that, McConnell is doing what many senators – including the original Senator Pothole, New York’s Alfonse D’Amato – were famous for doing: looking out for the people who put him in office.
You don’t have to agree with them to have at least some admiration for the students who bolted Lancaster schools on Thursday to protest the School Board’s decision to drop the district’s “Redskins” mascot. Passion is important in life, and these students showed some.
It’s unfortunate that their point was to defend the continued use of a patently offensive and hurtful symbol. There was a time when young people took to the streets to oppose such ideas and even to defend the interests of people who look different from them.
But perhaps that’s looking too deeply into this. These are kids, after all, and they’re still developing. Here’s hoping those passions are someday harnessed into the service of something truly valuable.