Tuesday, November 3, 2009

When sidewalks rule

In Northern New Jersey, this Halloween was sensational, thanks to its being on a Saturday and having warm weather. People were outside all day, ohhing over princesses and ahhing over superdogs. In Jersey City, where I live, people sat on the stoops with bowls of candy for passing sprites. Crowds in costumes congregated in the small front yards. I took granddaughter Lily to Hoboken where she went trick-or-treating. The usually difficult streets were impassable, clogged in the afternoon with small batmen and in the evening with slutty nurses. Lily rushed home to weigh her candy and was thrilled to have 8 pounds of the stuff. One of her classmates--an even more aggressive hunter-gatherer--ended up with 25 pounds of candy. Lily said, "People in Hoboken are so rich they just put out bowls of candy and we all took a lot." The pleasure of this was insane, and eclipsed all the Halloweens she'd observed to date. In the milling and giving and smiling and admiring, the cities I passed through--Englewood, Hoboken and Jersey City--celebrated with great style the urbanists' holiday, the day when sidewalks rule.

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