Saturday, April 30, 2011

Subbing in New York--a fringe benefit . . .

. . . is finding yourself on a new block in a new neighborhood.

For all the years I've lived in New York, all the streets and blocks, especially downtown, that I've walked along countless times, there are many more, in other neighborhoods, that I haven't.

Yesterday, maybe for the first time ever, I exited the A train at Dyckman, and certainly for the first time ever walked east on Dyckman from Broadway to 10th Avenue.

A thrilling reminder of how much of this city is still new to me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Gerrymandering? Sure, I knew what it was--carving up election districts for the benefit of one party or another, one group or another. But like most of my fellow Americans, I hadn't spent a whole lot of time worrying about it, let alone trying to do something about it.

Till I got an email from ACT NOW NY inviting me to a screening of a doc on the subject, followed by a Q & A with its writer-director, Jeff Reichert.

I went to the screening. Gerrymandering proved to be far more entertaining than I'd expected, with illustrations of bizarrely gerrymandered districts and absurdist episodes of redistricting skullduggery, including the tale of the Texas Democrats who in 2003 fled to a motel in Oklahoma in a desperate attempt to stop the Republicans from redistricting at the behest of Tom DeLay.

Amidst the moments of humor, the film made clear just how much voters lose when it's our representatives who draw the lines that determine what, if any, opposition they will face.

The film does offer some good news--California has passed initiatives that take the power to redistrict out of the hands of the legislature.

For information about Gerrymandering, the movie, and links to organizations trying to put an end to the practice, visit

To find out how you can help support efforts to at reforming redistricting in New York, check out