This past Saturday night, at about 6:55pm, I was walking home from a bike shop in my neighborhood. I cut down South 5th Place, a short connecting street by the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, bordering tiny Continental Army Plaza. Parked at the corner with South 5th Street, right at the entrance to the pedestrian walkway, I saw a television news van with its transmitter up. A TV news reporter and a cameraman stood next to the van, facing each other. The reporter held a microphone in his hand, but he was not lit. Both appeared to be just standing there silently, in the dark, in the rain, waiting.
Not such a strange sight, of course, but it made me curious as to what had happened in the neighborhood that merited a story on the local news. So five minutes later, back at home, I turned on the television, and there again was the reporter, lit now and talking: this was the lead. I was even more curious. The story? It was raining. A lot. The reporter pointed at the cars climbing onto the bridge behind him; although it was raining a lot, he said, as we could see, the traffic was not slowing down. The segment cut to interviews earlier in the day with regular citizens in the street. One said she did not mind the rain. Another said she actually kind of liked it. New Yorkers were shown tip-toeing through puddles. A tree had fallen somewhere in the greater metropolitan area, and somewhere else, people were without power. But for the most part, the reporter concluded, this rain was not a problem for New York. (He didn’t mention that people were dying in southwestern New Hampshire.)
We are all meteorologists now.
So shouldn’t we all be also talking about this?
And even doing something about it?