New Year’s Day
January 1st, 2023
New Year's Day began with a man singing in the street. I heard him from my room. I don't know what he was singing, but he made my morning. It had been a long time since I had listened to the music from my street. People often walk around with a portable speaker. Hip-hop and reggaeton are playing at total volume. In winter, that changes. People walk in a hurry because the weather is freezing. The music is over.
A few days ago, dozens of people died as an Arctic storm brought freezing temperatures upstate New York. Many of them died when they were trapped in their cars. Electricity fell in many regions, so heating failed in many homes.
Inevitably, I thought of the many homeless people who inhabit New York City. The storm did not cause as much havoc as in the west, but the temperatures dropped significantly. The Mayor of New York has tried to force homeless people with mental health problems into nursing homes. City officials are more humanitarian. They allow the homeless to go down to the subway, where there is heating.
Meanwhile, gentrification advances. The city is getting wealthier and more expensive. Politicians seem satisfied. They believe that their objective is to create wealth. They forget that their goal is to protect people's rights.
The storm caused a lot of suffering among the poorest in the city. Therefore, when I heard that man singing in the street on the first day of the year, I felt joy and relief. There is hope. Happiness is returning to Harlem.