Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wall Street, Main Street, Happy 5769!

The juxtaposition of "Wall Street" and "Main Street" occurs in many articles about the deep financial crisis in the US. While Wall Street has obvious connotations, I'm not sure what they mean when they say "Main Street."

What I've learned in New Jersey is that Main Street is a huge mixed bag. Take, for example, Cedar Lane in Teaneck, NJ, where I had lunch yesterday. Cedar Lane was empty, deserted. It looked like Christmas Day, it was so empty. And it sense it was: yesterday was Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar. Many of the stores on Cedar Lane are operated by Jews and serve the large, and actively religious, Jewish community that lives in the area. I had lunch with a friend at an Indian restaurant, one of a number of ethnic restaurants that was welcoming diners. Main Street is like that: it takes on the character of the people who live nearby. At the same time, Main Street has services that reach a much larger group. I love to visit Teaneck's farmers' market which is held in one of the Cedar Lane parking lots and attracts a diverse crowd, including people who travel to distance to get great fresh vegetables, bread and other treats.

Main Street is a street. People walk up and down, they accomplish tasks, they greet neighbors, they look at the urban streetscape, they dream about possibilities. Each of these functions will be affected in different ways by the collapse of Wall Street. Main Street, at its best, is not simply the local mirror of Wall Street, but rather it's antidote. My lunch on Cedar Lane buoyed my spirits. I enjoyed the time spent with my friend. I was heartened to think it is 5769 in the Jewish calendar: people have been counting for a long time, and they've made it through worse than this.

"Happy New Year!" from Main Street.

1 comment:

سحاب said...

good day

i from iraq and i live in baghdad ,
i was prisoner in jadriya bunker (Famous security prison in baghdad) when usa soldires found us in a bad state with torture
in 13-11-2005
how can help
thank
htpp://aljadriya.blogspot.com