Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Flowery Cabs in New York City

The other day, as I was crossing Queens Boulevard to get back to work after a quick coffee break, I was stopped short by the sight of a beautifully decorated taxicab. It reminded me of how intricately the trucks and rickshaws are decorated in India. Another stranger was also pulled up short in admiration of the flowers boldly painted on the hood and back of the taxi. We wondered aloud to each other if perhaps the cab driver himself had taken a brush to his vehicle... I was inpired as well as mystified. This demanded that a photo be taken. As I pulled out my camera and took the picture you see here, the proud owner of the vehicle arrived, joyful that his taxi was the center of so much admiration. He explained that the flowers are actually made of paper and then glued onto the surface of the car, and that they were drawn by children with disabilities. The taxi driver, Mr. Deep Mangli, (pictured sitting on his cab) was also excited to share with me, as an aside, that he is a Punjabi Poet and Performer and if interested you can read all about his poetic activities at his website: http://www.deepmanglinyc.com/ (One of those only in New York moments...)

In the meantime, stop and enjoy the flowering cabs, which, according to The Gothamist, will be around through December 2007, as part of the Gardens in Transit program! Apparently, according to one commenter on the recent Gothamist article, the kids who participated in this project
"... got a huge kick out of the fact that their work was going to be on the city
cabs. In actuality, the by-laws had to be changed for this one time project
because the NYC yellow cab is an iconic symbol and can't be altered. They are
doing it this once and the law says that they can't be changed from any color
but yellow for the next 100 years."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Disturbing news

So I get a forward from a former colleague at Mills College in California. At first I didn't open it, because, hey it was a forward. It could wait. But in the end I'm glad I did, though it did contain very disturbing news. One of their music professors, Nalini Ghuman, has been barred from re-entering the country for the past year. For no discernible reason! Not only that, but her immigration attorney is unable to make any headway into finding out the reason behind her being barred from the country by the State Department. It seems that there is a great possibility that, despite Mills College's attempts at helping her, that she may just have to seek employment outside of the country, and leave her job, despite the fact that her employer wants her here, despite the fact that she has been a resident of the U.S. for at least 10 years, despite the fact that she has done nothing wrong. What is this country coming to?

Here is an article from the New York Times describing this in further detail. Here is a quote from that article, speculating as to the possible reason for blocking her re-entry:

Ms. Ghuman is certainly not alone in her frustration. Academic and civil
liberties groups point to other foreign scholars who have been denied entry
without explanation at an airport, or refused a visa when they applied. A
pending lawsuit by the
American Civil Liberties Union contends that the Bush administration is using heightened security measures to keep foreign scholars out on ideological grounds in violation of the First Amendment rights of American scholars to hear them.