A Victory amid the gripes Graying New York

| 15 Aug 2016 | 04:39

Congratulations to our wonderful building president and community activist extraordinaire, Jean Green Dorsey, who won a nice settlement from the city when our building attempted to exclude rent stabilized tenants from the new gym. Not only did we gain access (at a fair price), but the company had to pay for their discrimination against the mostly seniors who don’t pay market rent. A wonderful victory!

I’m wondering if government workers have to take a “rude” test in order to qualify for the job. I’m sure someone has met a helpful post office employee, but that person isn’t me. The line can be around the corner and the workers are, seemingly, moving at a snail’s pace, never making eye contact and obviously would prefer being on the golf course. Another example: My reduced fare Metrocard hadn’t arrived a few weeks before the expiration date, as it usually does. I called the MTA and a very short-tempered woman barked “we’re still mailing them.” I waited a week or so more. When I phoned again, I was told that my apartment number wasn’t on file. Why didn’t she tell me that the first time and correct it?

I didn’t get my card so I went way down to Stone Street to try to settle the matter. There was one person on line…me. The clerks were too busy talking to each other to notice. Finally I stepped up and asked if I needed to take a number. One clerk finally noticed me and told me that they had until the day before the expiration date to get the card to me and to come back next Monday if I hadn’t gotten it. Then he turned away to resume his conversation with his co-worker.

Well, lo and behold, I got the card on a Saturday, one day before it expired. By that time I had written several e-mails to the MTA site as well as all the phone calls. Voila! The card. But it wasn’t easy. Whenever I travel out of the city, the personnel at post offices, business offices, restaurants and any other places of business are friendly, polite and seem to want to help. It’s hard to find that attitude here in Manhattan but especially at government offices. It seems a little power causes a mighty swelled head. The worst post office I ever dealt with, before my building got its own package room, was 104th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues, the Ansonia PO. I felt whiplashed whenever I left there. Thank heavens I don’t have to deal with them anymore. But really, city workers are unique in their bad attitude. I know my senior friends notice this, and I wonder if some of the attitude is especially for us oldsters.

Another issue. Why do restaurants, during the summer, have to feel like the refrigerator of a butcher shop? Why do we need to bring our faux fur coats just to have a meal? Air conditioning is nice, but freezing is not. This goes for most stores also. One of the pleasures of summer (humidity is definitely not one of them!) is not needing coats, scarves and hats. But what’s the point if one always has to carry a sweater just to enter a restaurant or store? And back to dining; lousy acoustics. So many restaurants are so badly insulated that it makes me and my friends wonder if they do it on purpose. Take Fairway, on 75th and Broadway. They have really good, fresh food….and the worst acoustics I’ve encountered. Plus, the tables are pushed together so close that between the ambient noise and the near-by conversations, my friends and I end up shouting at each other. Definitely not good for aging ears.

I just spent a fortune for lunch, during Restaurant Week, at a supposedly fancy place. Not only was it freezing and loud, but the portions were miniscule. It seems the more you pay, the less you get. This is called fine dining. But really, six tiny ravioli, and what they called lemon sorbet for dessert which was really some stored-away snow from last winter? Maybe I’m just a diner person. They’re big, they’re roomy, they’re reasonably priced and the portions are enough to satisfy. Is it top quality; of course not. But if I only get two bites of top quality, I’d rather have a full meal and feel I’ve eaten something.

Senior Planet occasionally receives requests from casting agencies looking for senior subjects for film and television. An agency is currently seeking people over 40 with arthritis who still play their instruments. Check out the Senior Planet website for more information.