It’s Friday morning. The entire Capital District is blanketed with heaps of snow.
Island residents have already been alerted – by e-mail, by phone and by text message – to move their cars off the city streets, so the cars can be towed. I’ve already parked Dracourage in one of the designated “safe spots” to park – the old Ford Motor Company parking lot – and now I’m catching the bus to get to the day job in Albany.
There’s a bit of a delay – someone on George Street hadn’t moved his car prior to the 8:00 A.M. plowing deadline, and the Green Island tow trucks are on their way. Until this one car can be pulled out of the snowbank and hoisted onto the flatbed, the CDTA’s bus route is blocked. A few minutes at most, but still blocked.
In the back of the bus, I hear two people loudly discussing the situation.
“Aw come on, fucking Green Island is the fucking worst. Worst place in the Capital District. Fucking tow trucks all over, just to make me late for work.”
“Yeah,” the other person growled. “Every time I ride through here, I hold my nose, this place is such a fucking dump.”
It took a lot of will power for me to stay in my seat and not go back there and knock a few heads together.
Because those two bonkbrains don’t know shit about Green Island.
Let me explain.
When it comes to snow clearances, Green Island is organized like you wouldn’t believe. There are people on every street corner, they’re manually directing traffic and overriding the traffic lights, just to make sure traffic flows as well as possible. And if someone can’t get their car moved in time, there are a dozen GI residents who will help move a car or get it plowed out of the snow. Towing is a last resort, but it’s done with efficiency and care to the vehicle.
And the streets and sidewalks are cleared as fast as possible. Because Green Islanders take pride in our Town and Village. In the summer, there are concerts at the Green Island Gazebo. We have our own bowling alley, it’s within walking distance of anywhere in the Town and Village. Our Little League park is among the best and well-maintained anywhere in the area.
Oh, and Santa Claus comes through the Town and Village each year.
You don’t believe me?
Take a look, I wouldn’t lie to you.
Does that look like Santa Claus to you? Of COURSE it does.
Oh, and another thing. You know what you get when you move to Green Island?
Municipal power. That’s right, you pay pennies for electricity.
Let me explain.
At one point in time, the Ford Motor Company had a factory along Green Island’s Hudson River shore. The river provided hydroelectric power to the factory, who used it to manufacture Ford’s radiators. Every car made before 1983 – whether it was a Mustang or a Thunderbird or a Falcon or a Fairlane – contains a radiator that was manufactured in Green Island.
But when Ford moved their plant out of Green Island, they left the generators behind. And the Town and Village commandeered the generators, which now provide cheap municipal power to Town and Village residents. And I mean cheap. Like $35 a month for lights. $45 a month if I decide to run an air conditioner.
And every month, the Mayor sends out a newsletter that alerts the residents of upcoming events, recycling days, etc. You need to pay a water bill? You can bring it right to the Village office, it’s on George Street, you can’t miss it.
I moved here ten years ago, and although there may have been opportunities to move elsewhere, I haven’t taken them. I’m happy where I am. And most Green Islanders are happy where they are as well.
Besides, I should note that on my way home from Albany, I had to transfer in Watervliet. The bus stop at Watervliet was snowed in. Although the sidewalk was cleared, there was no pathway from the sidewalk to the street, so that one could board a bus. Trust me, the snow was so high, Tenzing Norgay wouldn’t try to summit it.
Nobody would put up with that shit on the Island. If someone couldn’t get out to plow their sidewalk or shovel their steps, there’s at least a dozen people on Facebook that can be quickly contacted and respond for help.
In other words … I’m fine on the Island. And if anybody else out there says that Green Island is a dump …
They’re probably just jealous. That, and their city’s plowing methods are Byzantine at best. And their monthly light bill is larger than what I pay in electricity for an entire year. Nyah.