Sunday, March 15, 2020

2020. 001. Murals in the Court

I wrote this in early February, before Coronavirus changed Jury Duty with its potential jurors crowded in close quarters in one room. Now, in the days of social distancing, Jury Duty seems like a blast from the past—even though I haven't yet deposited my $40 paycheck.

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Jury Duty is a combination of horrible and fascinating. It's certainly a different world from my usual of arts and letters, with its range of citizens and Jury Clerks who are almost like stand-up comics in their delivery of a lot of information that's delivered clearly and patiently, then amusingly, and then repeated impatiently but still in a way that's entertaining.

I'm wrong about the lack of arts and letters, though. The rotunda at 60 Centre Street, where I'm serving—or waiting to serve/not serve, is gorgeous. And the jury rooms have murals that show the history of New York City old (done from early historical prints) and new (artists's 1930s renditions of Manhattan and its harbor and the West Side Highway). The images done from prints are "pre-woke." That is, Indian settlements are labelled "primitive," even though the settlements look sophisticated to me. Unfortunately, photos aren't allowed. In fact, anyone caught taking photos will be slapped with a "contempt of court" charge and sentenced to serving two weeks (in the jury room, I imagine).

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