City on a hill

| 01 Jul 2016 | 03:16

East Side Encounters


Jury duty, ZIP codes and unintended consequences — New York County (aka Manhattan) draws it jurors from ZIP codes starting with 100 and 101. About a month or two ago, I got a jury notice (I’ve served on five juries over the years) to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court at 100 Centre St. on a date in late June. When I got to Jury Room 1517 along with 99 other jurors, the clerk read us instructions and told us that in order to serve on a Manhattan jury, we had to reside in one of two ZIP codes in Manhattan — starting with either 100 or 101 — with one exception and that is ZIP code 10463 which is a Bronx ZIP code. All Bronx ZIP codes start with 104, and ZIP code 10463 covers all of Marble Hill, a neighborhood located in the northernmost part of Manhattan (which includes Washington Heights and Inwood). The 10463 ZIP code also covers parts of Riverdale. Marble Hill, however, is the reason that the Bronx ZIP code is part of the Manhattan jury pool.

I wondered why a predominately white ZIP code in the Bronx would be included in the residency requirement for Manhattan jurors. Some inquiry and checking Wikipedia revealed that, in 1984, the New York Legislature passed a bill that made Marble Hill a part of Manhattan for purposes of residency, with city services such as fire and police departments coming from and located in the Bronx, which was necessary for convenience and safety, because the closest connection to the rest of Manhattan from Marble Hill is via the lift bridge known as the Broadway Bridge. Fade out, fade in. The inclusion of 10463 in the Manhattan jury pool doesn’t bode well for diversity of jurors.

Recent statistics show that there are more than 37,000 whites and more than 12,000 blacks in the 10463 ZIP code. Yet in another Bronx ZIP code, 10451, where the Yankee Stadium and Bronx Supreme Court House are located, there are just over 21,000 blacks and 10,000 whites. Definitely a lack of diversity. The buck has to start someplace before it stops. Something has to be done. And let’s not forget the impact of Murphy’s Law — if it can happen, it will happen. Turns out that on the second day of jury service, at almost 4 p.m. when jurors were five minutes away from being discharged, a call came from the judge to send down 65 jurors. After moans and groans from the jury pool and consoling words from the court personnel, 65 names were called. Among them was the name of a black woman in her 70s who informed the clerk that she wasn’t well and couldn’t serve on a jury. Two other jurors, hearing the woman’s plight, volunteered to serve. Happy ending for the lady who didn’t want to serve. Kudos to the volunteers. But another blow to jury diversity.

Sad signs of the times — In recent weeks posters have been plastered all over the UES begging for the return of missing dogs. Sydney, Silvana and Murphy, to name a few. I’d be willing to wager that part of the problem is that pet owners or people walking dogs leave the dogs tethered by a leash to a lamppost or some other device. Not good. Passers-by stop. Sometimes the dog is barking. Sometimes shaking. Usually scared, waiting to be picked up and returned home.

When I’ve seen a dog leashed on the street waiting, I’ve gone from shop to shop and restaurant to restaurant asking if anyone’s dog is outside. I’ve never gotten a response. My suggestion is that anyone walking with a pet not let the pet out of their sight. If you have errands and the dog cannot accompany you where you’re going, take the doggie out later. Don’t tie them up and expect to find them when you finish what you’ve been doing. It’s too painful to lose them. And they’ll be frightened if someone snatches them. It’s in your hands. Protect your pooch.

Wrong way street — 200 East 90th St., corner of Third, has a circular driveway in front of the building and a parking garage immediately to the right, going east. Lady drives her car out of the garage. Instead of turning right on the eastbound street, she turns left to get to the circular driveway more quickly so she can pick up her luggage waiting for her in the driveway. This lady didn’t have the time and put herself, pedestrians and other drivers in harm’s way. 200 East 90th should install a sign indicating that left turns out of the garage are verboten.