Summer in the City

Summer officially begins this week.

Tuesday was the longest day of the year, with more sunlight than any other day of the year.

For those of you who luxuriate in the longer days that are warm and many afternoons, which are hot, this is the time to appreciate and to enjoy.

After all, the summer is fleeting. No sooner has it arrived than it leaves just like that, with the blink of an eye.

In the summer the song sings itself, said William Carlos Williams, one of America’s great writers of the Depression Era. He knew of what he wrote.

In the summer, Chelsea takes on a different persona. After all, this is essentially a Hispanic barrio with a good amount of Anglo people still hanging on. Everyone mixes together rather well in this city and really, that is the ongoing history of Chelsea since it became the epitome of the American Melting Pot at the turn of the 20th Century.

Summer in the city here implies that everyone inside for the long winter months come outside.

The streets and squares are filled with people – and when its hot the Vietnam Veterans Pool is packed, as it will be when it opens on the June 25.

There is a very lazy ambiance about the city when the temperature soars.

The streets get a bit dirtier. Trash tends to stack up. Smells and odors of all kinds are more present than most of us would choose.

But with the pace of life a bit slower, the music we hear coming from open windows in hot apartments a bit louder, the freedom being expressed by nearly everyone out for a walk or shopping on Broadway or sipping a coffee in Tito’s is something to behold.

Freedom, after all, is what the American experience is all about – and here in Chelsea – people of all colors, creeds, religions, parties and persuasions of every kind are free.

They may be facing huge and sometimes insurmountable economic hurdles but at least they are free to be who they are.

There is no Taliban here ordering women not to educate themselves or to show their hair or to refrain from thinking and expressing themselves at the risk of severe punishment – even death. People trying to do that kind of thing in modern Chelsea would be taken to court and jailed for being a menace to civilized society.

Summer in the city is the best time of year.

The only heat that’s on is the sun’s. The only thing to do is to relax or head to the pool or down to the beach or to grab a slush.

It is a time of year to feel free and to be free – and that can be achieved in this city.

Enjoy the summer.

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