Christie’s Bridge: There’s More Going on Down Below
Until very recently, I knew only a few things about Fort Lee, New Jersey:
1. One of my sisters lived there briefly. Somebody down the block broke into the house and stole stuff for drug money. They caught the thief.
2. I once blew a tire in a Christie-size pothole, coming back from the Meadowlands. The Port Authority truck guys changed my tire, free of charge. Months later, the PA’s insurance paid for a new tire.
3. I associate the George Washington Bridge with some of the most unpleasant hours in my working career – hours stuck in traffic coming back from mind-numbing Sunday football games, fans drunk and aggressive.
4. How frustrated I felt, going nowhere, watching the last exit ramp, tantalizingly empty, headed toward the mysterious bottomlands of Fort Lee. What was down there?
Now we know so much more about the GWB – beyond the big man making jokes about manning the cones himself.
Now we know that political types were playing with the lives of thousands of people for some vicious purpose. But what was it?
The other day, the journalist Laura Vecsey – who once nicknamed Alex Rodriguez Pay-Rod when he was fleeing Seattle and she was a sports columnist there – delved into the real-estate angle to the lane closings. In a piece for Zillow.com, Vecsey wrote about the development down below by another Sokolich.
On Sunday, Steve Kornacki, who knows where all the bodies are buried in New Jersey (that’s a figure of speech, a joke), delved into the real-estate angle on MSNBC:
Later, Laura Vecsey got back to the subject:
Who knew? That dark space in the New Jersey night is the center of the universe. It’s time to descend into the lower depths of Fort Lee to explore the sulfurous source of Bridgegate.
"....the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.