Monday, August 11, 2008

Subway Shakespeareans

Many consider Romeo and Juliet, William’s #1 play. Well, here in New York, we have Broadway. Romeo and Juliet ride the #1 train! This summer, USC drama students Peter Vack and Troian Bellisario have been performing the play’s famous balcony scene between train stops. They like the variety of audiences that enter at each stop and time their performances accordingly. Tips have ranged from a penny to $20. Live performances in the subway are often a very entertaining diversion from our famous hole in the ground. However, Troian shouldn’t be standing on train seats in order to recreate a terrace. New Yorkers don’t stand on things meant to be sat on, Troian. You shouldn’t either. Despite some nasty scenes you’ve undoubtedly witnessed while riding the rails, we got some class here!

"New" New Yawk Talk

Within the next few months, all New York City agencies providing public service must do so in six foreign languages (Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Italian and French Creole). Mayor Bloomberg believes our newest residents’ great diversity can also pose significant challenges when it comes to dealing with the government. It probably does. Of course many who are fluent in "the King's English" are challenged by government bureaucracy too! It's a fact that for hundreds of years before initiatives like this language assistance program, one of the city’s, and for that matter, the nation’s greatest strengths was the “great melting pot” our ancestors were a part of. Our relatives were compelled to learn the language and customs of the new nation where they chose to live. Of course they had fewer options back then. In so doing though, they became a more integral part of something far better than they left behind. Immigrants should have the right to celebrate their heritage. Each wave of newcomers often enhances our society in some manner. However, they should be more open to the idea of assimilating into America’s culture; language included. A "common language" is a better way to build a society with a cohesive bond among all its' people. I wonder if this plan of the mayor’s will contribute to a more cohesive city or, if it adds another floor to the Tower of Babel. That kind of skyscraper we don’t need anywhere in New York.