I bet some of my readers who've heard about last week's blackout in Queens have been wondering why I haven't been bitching about Con Ed. Well, wait no longer.
The imminent heat wave, which is supposed to start up later today, has struck fear in the hearts of most, um, outer borough folks who theorize that since Con Ed cannot apparently handle any kind of heat, the lights are destined to go out again, and who knows for how long this time around. As for me, my cats and I have been kicking it old school for the past week, even though I did have at least some electricity throughout the whole fiasco and got complete power back on Friday last. I want to conserve as much as possible, which should make my ex very happy since one of the reasons we broke up was because, according to him, I kept leaving the lights and the AC on and was otherwise wasteful. OK, OK, I've learned my lesson. I've seen the news clips on the people in Astoria who got back power for about an hour, after 6 or so days of nothing, just to have it shut off again. My thinking is that since Con Ed (emphasis on the CON) just fixed whatever problem they came up with last week, they will use this heat wave as an excuse and say that they hadn't finished their repairs and cannot continue because of the weather, yadda, yadda, yadda. On New York 1, they went over the blackouts that have happened in the past 29-30 years: the big NYC one in the Summer of Sam, 1977, several brownouts in Washington Heights with a complete blackout in 1999, the BIG one in 2003 where most of the northeast was cut off, and then this one. The track record doesn't really look that bad, but if you have had experience with Con Ed and are acquainted with the way media works, you know that there are many problems they don't even bother to report. When I lived in Washington Heights in 2000 and 2001, there were brown- and blackouts during heat so bad, it made my cat Samson jump into the cold shower with me. No lie. And when you compare NYC with other big cities, we have way too many infrastructure problems to warrant our status as "capital of the world" or the City's tax happy ways. Yeah, I'm outta here ASAP, God willing. On another note, I was talking with M-the-media-guy, who lives on the Upper East side, that NYC is a pretty ugly city for all the taxes we pay. Of course I was surprised to hear that given his cushy place of residence, but happy to hear that I am not alone on that one.
The irony last week was that Con Ed's power plant is in northwestern Astoria, across the street from some customers who lost power. That and the fact that Bloomberg, who was sitting pretty in Gracie Mansion, was claiming that a "continuing" heat wave was at fault even well after the temperatures had fallen to the 70's. That statement of course was a completely unnacceptable excuse even the first time he used it when Con Ed, in the beginning of the summer, swore to its customers and their local representatives and government that they were well-prepared for the summer (as it does indeed come every year...duh, motherfuckers), and temperatures ALWAYS get into the 90's around this time of year. Heat waves are nothing new. It took Bloomberg 4 days to cross the East river and check out the situation. That surprised me because, even though I don't really like Bloomberg that much, I didn't think he was going to be so negligent and squeamish. But, just like a good businessman, he follows the money, and it unfortunately is not in Queens, which is also kind of his own fault, but that's another story. So there I was, taking the stairs in my building (not that that's bad for me or anything), which was rendered a 7-story walk up, getting outside and looking down 48th avenue at the Empire State Building, all lit up for the tourists and the rich. Yeah, I was pretty bitter about the whole thing, but couldn't complain too much because I was spared from the worst of it. I did call Con Ed's media office last thursday to ask about the problem and was told that the company didn't even know what the problem was and therefore didn't know how to fix it. This went against everything that the media was feeding us: that Con Ed was "working tirelessly" to fix the problem, meaning that Con Ed had misled the customers, local government, everyone. And I saw just how "On It" (their new slogan) Con Ed was: the was a Con Ed truck parked across the street from my building the first night, which I was glad to see, until I got closer and saw that the repairmen had grabbed the last of the cold beers from the corner deli and were sitting on the bumper of their truck drinking away. That was not at all heartening, to say the least, and the urge to yell and curse at them in both spanish and english almost got the better of me. Pataki talked of suing Con Ed, and those guys have to at least get slapped around a bit for this. They and the MTA should be thankful that Giuliani isn't around, because he, even though he was/is a racist, would have had them by the balls already. That's the only reason I miss Giuliani. He was a strong leader who wouldn't take shit from anybody (except maybe the NYPD), unlike Bloomberg who is everyone's lapdog.
Yes, I have learned my lessons. 1. Even if I don't have to deal with Con Ed directly anymore as I have an all utilities included rent, I still have to deal with them. That's the problem, they're everywhere, and there no choice but to deal with them. Even Brooklyn's Keyspan energy is apparently part of Con Ed (so any Park Sloper's thinking they are immune to the rest of the City, sorry, you are not). 2. Conserve, conserve, conserve, and not necessarily because it's good for the earth and "helps reduce the US's dependence on foreign oil", so says Bloomberg. Those are fringe benefits. No, I will conserve so as not to give Con Ed any ammo with which to screw us again.
Editor's note: HA!!!!!