04 November 2017

Signs Of Other Times

The other day, I managed to sneak out for a mid-afternoon ride between classes and conferences with students.  It wasn't a long ride, and it didn't take me far from the college where I teach.  But it did, as rides often do, reveal some interesting and unexpected sights.

In both the "interesting" and "unexpected" categories was this:

One almost never sees a sign like that anymore in the New York Metro area.  For that matter, one rarely sees the kind of store that's attached to it, at least in this area.  

It's at the intersection of East Tremont and Park Avenues in the Bronx.  Yes, the Park Avenue you've all heard of--the one of Zsa Zsa Gabor--extends into the Bronx, hard by the Metro North (formerly New York Central) railroad tracks!

You wouldn't expect to find a store like this on Zsa Zsa's Park. But in this part of the Bronx reside folks not unlike some of my relatives, including two blue-collar uncles of mine who lived in Brooklyn and  went up to the Catskills and sometimes even the Adirondacks to hunt around this time every year.  Their ethnic origins may be different, but their lives and desires are, I believe, similar:  They need to live in an urban area and to get out of it every now and again.  

That is why, even though I've never had any desire to hunt, and have fished only a couple of times, I understand those who love those sports.  Of course, there are very practical reasons to allow hunting:  Deer and other animals that are pursued by hunters no longer have natural predators, so hunters help to keep their population in check. If they didn't, even more animals would starve and freeze to death during the winter.  Also, although I'm not too keen on guns (and support restrictions on access to them) I am not afraid of hunters and other sportsmen, such as competitive shooters, who use them. 

Anyway, the proprietor of the store caught a glimpse of me photographing his signs.  I think he knew that I don't hunt or fish and, barring the collapse of civilization, probably never will.  Still, he was polite and was pleased when I complimented his signs.  "You just don't see these anymore," I said.  He nodded.

The sales clerk gave me their business card.  I told them I'll be back:  I did see a jacket I really like.  And they have hiking boots as well as equipment for all sorts of other sports--but not cycling!

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