Letters From the Editor

Recent Thoughts

1. Under one of the windows in the living room, where I work at a desk in the corner, four guys in reflective vests and hard hats are ripping up the street with jackhammers. They wear earplugs for a reason: the jackhammer runs in 6- or 8-second bursts. Its more delicate cousin the cement-saw goes for longer intervals, though it changes in pitch – Wheee to Whuuug-Ga-Ug-Ga-Ug to WHEIEIEIII. A generator is running the whole time, plus there are trucks, and the sound of traffic redirection. A foreman who only speaks Spanish has just appeared and the rest of the crew pretends not to hear him, and his change from normal conversation to shouting doesn’t seem to help.

2. The noise makes hair fall out.

3. The living room’s air conditioner unit is installed in the same window that overlooks the construction, so the sound is much louder than if the window was fully closed – those little, plastic flippers on either side of the unit weren’t designed for New York.

4. The noise is felt primarily in the teeth, reminds me I hate going to the dentist, and need to soon.

5. Turning on the air conditioner is very funny the first time, when the living room is filled with cement-dust.

6. The apartment is small, only two rooms. By installing an 18" x 24" wood shelf today, I have added to our kitchen’s re-sale value immensely: it now has a counter. Immediately the counter was taken up by a coffeemaker, a garlic bowl, a stack of saucers and a metal can holding all the long utensils. Maybe someday we’ll have drawers.

7. The construction downstairs may go for weeks. Standing flush to the window, I am approximately 14-feet away from the nearest hardhat.

8. Either The Atlantic has incredible editors, or I’m deluded by the heat, or Patrick Buchanan is much smarter in print than on-air. The World as Will and Representation is slow-going but the 10-pages-a-day regiment seems to be working, except for those days when more than five pages before a nap seems a bit too ambitious, or the saws are actually inside my head. Also thought: has the New Yorker given up on casuals?

9. Walked by Rocco’s today, the setpiece for The Restaurant, wondered how many people know about Beppe, the under-sung Tuscan restaurant across the street that deserves lots of attention, though it’s old-hat by now. Is it white truffle season yet? Not that it matters.

10. It is impossible to translate a jackhammer.

12. Liked this quote from Michel Houellebecqc’s Platform: ‘In most circumstances in my life, I have had about as much freedom as has a vacuum cleaner.’


Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. His latest book is Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. More information can be found at rosecransbaldwin.com. More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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