Thursday, February 28, 2008

Getting to know Downtown Brooklyn

If you haven't noticed, posting's been a bit light around here lately. I got called for jury duty this week. And while I can't discuss any details of the trial, here are a few things I've learned this week:
  • Jury duty in New York begins with a 30 minute video which begins with a scene showing medieval folks throwing a guy into the water to see if he sinks. The message: Sure, it sucks getting called into court for a few days, but would you rather we judge people based on superstitions?
  • Everybody wants out of jury duty. Although nobody's exempt from being called, there are a few situations where they'll dismiss you... or if you've moved out of the county, they'll send your summons to the appropriate district. When the woman in charge lists the reasons people should come to the front to discuss their situation, 5 or 6 people got in line. When she asked if anyone had other reasons, about 20 people piled on, even though it was unlikely they had anything to say which would sway her.
  • Having lived in Brooklyn for just under a year, this week is the first time I've spent any time downtown. It's a bit crowded and hectic, but there are drug stores besides Duane Reed, which is somehow much more exciting than it should be. But really, that's the biggest difference between downtown Brooklyn and Bed-Stuy: there are more retail chains downtown. And taller buildings.
  • While there's WiFi available in the jury selection/waiting room, access to some sites, including is blocked. Of course, you can always update your blog via email. And they don't block IM, Twitter, or other sites that would let you get the word out. And if you're in the jury selection room it means you probably haven't been chosen for a trial yet anyway, so what exactly are they trying to prevent you from writing about?

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