Sunday, December 25, 2005

And a very happy Hanukkah too!

To our Jewish friends, may you have a joyous Hanukkah.

I apologize for not doing it just before sundown, as I had originally intended, but I was visiting someone in the Bronx this afternoon and was delayed both going and coming. The traffic was bad enough, but infinitely worse with the heavy rains. The top thirds of Co-op City's apartment buildings, normally prominent, were clad in fog. By the time I got back, it was time to help finish cooking dinner, then eat dinner.

Anyone who lives in or visits Co-op City can attest to the extreme dearth of parking during peak times. Heavy traffic is bad enough, but nothing makes me curse like circling around Co-op City for an hour and not finding a parking spot. (I will confess that, at rare times when I am frustrated enough, even holidays won't prevent me from stringing together several epithets in such a way that a Marine drill sergeant would be impressed.) I was tempted to park just inside this "No Parking" zone, but after 0.68 seconds (Star Trek reference there) I decided not to. A major holiday isn't likely to stop the notoriously overzealous parking police, who once gave me a $130 ticket for parking two feet inside a 100-foot-long bus zone.

There's an economics lesson here. Parking is hardly a public good, because it is rivalrous (if you consume it, another person cannot). What Co-op City needs to do is establish pay-per-hour visitor parking. Applying a price will naturally reduce the demand, and it will encourage people to carpool when visiting their friends, instead of taking a few different cars and tying up more spots than necessary. It will also greatly reduce search costs, not just time, but all the gasoline I wasted in a futile search.

So my friend came down, and since I couldn't go up to her apartment, we drove over to a pastry shop in Bay Plaza to spend time together and browse the treats. She considered getting some cannoli but went with a strawberry shortcake. I bought a strawberry-topped cheesecake, which is just EXCELLENT, possibly the best cheesecake I've ever had.

Junior's, which originated in Brooklyn and has a shop at Grand Central Terminal, is said to have the best cheesecake in New York City (talking about all five boroughs). This little bakery's cheesecake blows away Junior's, which until today I regarded very highly. It has a creamy, slightly crumbly consistency that's reminiscent of Italian (ricotta-based) cheesecake, which isn't to everyone's taste. However, as something of a cheesecake connoisseur, I find the flavor is unsurpassed.

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