He's Springing Forward to Move City Clocks to Daylight Time – The New York Times


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Marvin Schneider, the New York City clock master, has a busy weekend ahead.

Good morning. It’s Friday. We’ll look at how New York City’s clock master handles the change to daylight saving time. We’ll also check on a telephone number made famous by a song in the big band era.
Over the weekend, the rest of us will probably do what Marvin Schneider has already done — spring forward, and complain.
We have our alarm clocks and microwave ovens. He has the clock in the tower at City Hall, still running with its century-old gears. He has the clock in Brooklyn Borough Hall that he once considered his worst enemy. He has the clock on the corner of 280 Broadway, a relic from when it was the headquarters of the old New York Sun, not home to city agencies like the Department of Buildings.
He is the New York City clock master. And he is not happy about daylight saving time.
“It’s an inconvenience,” he said. “And getting used to the change is an inconvenience.” It always takes him a couple of days to adjust, he said.
He is not alone. “It’s a weekend that makes a lot of us unhappy,” Representative Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey and the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said at a hearing on Wednesday.
Pallone’s solution? Choose one or the other — daylight saving time or standard time — and stick with it year round. He said he had not decided which he favored making permanent.
“I believe that any justifications for springing forward and falling back are either outdated or are outweighed by the serious health and economic impacts we now know are associated with the time changes,” he said.
He mentioned “side effects” that have economic consequences. “People are simply not as productive at work” in the days after the time change, he said, adding that they spend more time on their computers “on nonwork-related activities.” He also said there are more workplace injuries in the days after the time change.
There are also more automobile accidents and missed medical appointments, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and heart attacks and strokes also increase in the days after the time change. “Disturbingly,” Pallone said, “these stroke rates are even higher for some of our most vulnerable populations — cancer patients’ stroke rates increase by 25 percent, and people over the age of 65 are 20 percent more likely to have a stroke in the days following the time change.”
In the digital age, there are fewer old-fashioned clocks like the ones Schneider tends. A six-person team once went to subway stations, resetting every clock. But by 2018, there was only one analog clock left, a spokesman said, and it has since been retired, leaving only digital clocks that do not have hands that have to be turned back by, well, hand.
Schneider, 82, a per-diem municipal employee who is paid about $40 an hour, once said that he liked his clocks to be accurate but set them “to the nearest 10 seconds” using an Omega wristwatch.
He still checks the Omega. But now he has also a cellphone that he uses to “get it very, very close.”
“Not a Luddite,” he said.
Weather
It’s a mostly sunny day in the low 50s. Expect a chance of rain late at night, with temps dropping to the low 40s.
alternate-side parking
In effect until March 17 (Purim).
Some Ukrainians in New York are answering President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to join the fight against Russia. Ana Bogdanova, 37, a data scientist, is trading in the coffee shops and boutiques of Manhattan’s East Village for weapons training in her hometown, Ternopil.
“I can’t stand to hurt another being that’s alive,” said Bogdanova, who asked to be identified by the equivalent of a middle name because her parents in Ukraine are not aware of her decision. “But in this case, they’re destroying, bombing every single day. I’ll do what I’m supposed to do. I will take up arms — I will not hesitate.”
Yuriy Blazhkevych, 63, a taxi driver from Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, has spent more than $3,000 buying military gear, including fatigues, a helmet and night goggles.
“I’ll do whatever they ask me to do,” he said, when asked about his plans once he has signed up in his hometown, Lviv. “I can drive trucks for them,” he said. “But I’d ask to shoot.”
New York City’s unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in January, up from 7.4 percent in December, the state Department of Labor said. The January figure reflected the Omicron surge, which peaked on Jan. 10 with just over 40,000 new cases reported, about 87 times the 460 cases reported on March 7.
The department had originally reported the December figure as 8.8 percent. My colleague Patrick McGeehan, who covers the New York economy for the Metro desk, told me that change went hand in hand with a revision of employment statistics that added about 100,000 jobs in the city.
That was an indication that the economy and the recovery in New York were stronger in late 2021 than had been thought, but both were still weaker than in the rest of the nation.
Although New York City has dropped its vaccine mandate for indoor dining, several restaurants are still asking indoor diners for proof of vaccination.
Lawrence Ray was indicted after a New York magazine story uncovered his cultlike hold over his daughter’s college friends and others. His trial began in Manhattan.
Niulquie McKinney, a doula and midwife, turned her attention to vulnerable mothers-to-be in New Jersey, where maternal mortality rates are some of the highest in the country.
It was made famous by a song from the big band era: “PEnnsylvania 6-5000.” It was a telephone number — the number for the Hotel Pennsylvania across from Madison Square Garden. “The Encyclopedia of New York City” says it was the largest hotel in the world when it opened in 1919.
It closed two years ago — Steven Roth, the chairman of Vornado, said last year that it was “decades past its glory and sell-by date.” Recent reports of plans to replace it with a supertall building to be known as Penn15 prompted big band fans to wonder: What will happen to the telephone number?
The song was a signature number for the bandleader Glenn Miller, who with his orchestra was a mainstay at the Café Rouge in the hotel. “PEnnsylvania 6-5000” came out in the days when the first two digits in a telephone number stood for the name of a telephone exchange — PL for Plaza, RE for Regent, TR for Trafalgar.
“We will retain PEnnsylvania 6-5000,” Roth said in a footnote in Vornado’s 2021 annual report, adding that it was “the oldest continuously in-service telephone number in New York.” He did not say whom callers would reach.
Brooklyn Magazine interviewed the creator and host of “Video Music Box,” a show that debuted in 1983 and documented the evolution of hip-hop.
David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center will reopen in October, a year and a half ahead of schedule, after its $550 million makeover was accelerated during the pandemic.
What we’re watching: Nicholas Fandos, a political correspondent for Metro, will discuss state politics and the re-emergence of Andrew Cuomo with the host Clyde Haberman, on “The New York Times Close Up With Sam Roberts.” The show airs on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. [CUNY TV]
METROPOLITAN diary
Dear Diary:
I was walking along Central Park near 59th Street. It was raining heavily, and then it started to hail.
The sidewalk was empty. Cold rain seeped through my pants, and hailstones clinked all around me. I tried to pick up my pace, hunching forward into the wind.
Suddenly a motion to my right made me turn my head. What I saw nearly halted me: A bird was walking parallel to me in the same direction a few feet away.
It was no ordinary city bird. It was a turkey, and it was walking beside me on Central Park West.
I looked over at my companion, but it paid me no heed and kept striding along. The poor bird was soaked. Rivulets of water ran off its wattle. Hailstones bounced off its body with a muted patter.
A wild thought occurred to me, and I approached the bird with my umbrella extended. The turkey swiftly changed course to walk behind the benches.
I righted my umbrella and shook my head. Silly bird, I thought. I only wanted to share my meager shelter. I burst out laughing at the image.
The sound startled the bird and prompted it to move even further away. We continued walking side by side, the benches between us, until I had to cross at Columbus Circle.
— Julia Heifets
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.
Glad we could get together here. See you Monday. — J.B.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.
Melissa Guerrero, Sadiba Hasan and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at nytoday@nytimes.com.
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