October 13, 2020

Too Tense During Sukkot

Sukkot is a Jewish festival called the Feast of Tabernacles or sometimes call the Festival of Shelters. During this time, little booths or shelters called sukkah are built according to traditional rules. It's all very nice.

At CMU there's a bicycle-towed Sukkah so people can make their observance on campus. In NYC I've seen rental pickup trucks with a Sukkah on the back, double-parked to make the facility available.

In New York City this summer, restaurants have been permitted to establish open-air dining (streateries) in one lane of the street, sometimes displacing parking and sometimes displacing a lane for moving traffic. Some of the structures resemble Sukkah's quite a bit to me.

On another street, there's a bike lane. So the restaurant row goes outside the bike lane. Then the trucks making deliveries double-park and the actual flow on the street is like a blocked artery.

As the season progresses and it gets colder, and sometimes it rains, the shelters become more elaborate and become even more like Sukkahs. I wonder when this is no longer outside dining. There are heaters and electricity in these things.

New York is increasingly becoming a tent city, to a limited degree. None of those businesses in tents is paying any tax on the public space their using for private business.

I do not eat in these tents; I think there's insufficient protection. I do order takeout from local restaurants; I order over the phone, and not through the App, so the restaurant doesn't have to share the money with the App service.

Imagine if people (rather than businesses) set up tents and made their residence in the street like that. The authorities would clear them out on the first day. But businesses?


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