Chesler Chronicles

Jerusalem on the Upper East Side: Starbucks, Riverdale, and Me.

The Manhattan Starbucks Coffee Shop which was bombed yesterday, is only two and a half blocks away from where I live. As soon as I returned from my brief holiday and heard about this latest incident, I went over to see it. News trucks and police cars impressively surrounded the crime scene; indeed, the blown-out windows on East 92nd Street were already boarded up and the bench outside was, indeed, shattered. The FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force had been there and gone.


While there have been a number of “political” bombings in Manhattan between 2005-2008, (outside the Times Square military recruitment center, the British Consulate, and the Greek Consulate), all thought to have been committed by a “man on a bicycle,” and at a Starbucks in Providence, Rhode Island, this one, according to one eyewitness, may have been committed by two “blond teenagers.”

Please note: The media is telling us that no Arabs, no Muslims, no Afghans, no jihadists were involved in this attack, that this one was an all-American, all-Christian prank. Does that make you feel safer?

Remember when the entire eastern seaboard experienced a power failure in August of 2003 and how relieved we all were, despite sweltering without light, electricity, transportation, communication or refrigeration, when we discovered that it was “only” a massive grid failure, not another terrorist attack?

And, by the way, last week’s unexploded target synagogues in Riverdale in the Bronx are only twenty minutes away from where I live by car, as are/were the Twin Towers of the forever-missing World Trade Center.

I not only live in interesting times—I see that I also live in a very interesting neighborhood as well. I thought that Jerusalem was the center of the world. Perhaps it is, but Jerusalem, unprotected, has proliferated and gone global. Now, teenagers and prison-convert jihadists are blowing up coffee shops (or trying to), and synagogues, (or trying to); how long before they start blowing themselves up too? Both here as well as in the Middle East and all over the Islamic world?


Recently, I ran into a very annoying dinner guest who insisted that he—and only he–“knew it all;” of course, he then proceeded to demonstrate how little he really knew. When he got to the Middle East I almost dived under the table to avoid what was coming. Sure enough: This Know-it-All explained that if only Israel would pay more money to the Palestinians, built up an economy for them, that the Palestinians would finally have something they cared about that they would want to protect, not destroy.

Wearily, (why bother mentioning the Palestinian-destroyed greenhouses of Gaza), warily, I asked him if he had ever read Harry Potter or ever heard one of his children describe the fictional “death eaters” and/or “dementers” who “suck out people’s souls.” (Much thanks to my esteemed reader, Dr. McCosker, for reminding me of this distinction). Setting aside vulnerable, although brainwashed Palestinian civilians, I suggested that the Palestinian (and other Islamist) terrorist leaders are death eaters, not reasonable men and women. By definition, they live to kill, and they live to die, that is what they do and who they are. Thus, rewarding them with a flourishing economy may not work. Like so many liberal-radicals, he is incapable of contemplating the possibility that evil actually exists and that it might not yield to any rational, social-economic win-win, “feel good,” man-made program.


Meanwhile, I hope that my most local Starbucks fixes its windows and its little, welcoming bench and that all the dreamy skateboarders, rollerbladers, bicyclists, tricyclists, and those on scooters, walkers, and canes return, unharmed, to this peaceful corner café.

I plan to go over there later today to purchase a cappuccino, (decaf espresso, low fat milk, iced). And, this weekend, I will be visiting and dining with my dear, synagogue-going friends in Riverdale. Neither teenage pranksters nor jihadic bombers have a chance in hell of keeping me away.

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