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Senior Correspondent

"New Seats Let Airlines Squeeze in More Passengers," the Associated Press reported.

Hardly news to the Lady Friend and me. After a packed flight on Virgin America from San Francisco to New York and back in recent days, we still are looking for the rest of us.

"It's part of a trend among the airlines to view seats as money-makers, not just pieces of furniture," explained the AP. "Add a few inches of legroom and airlines can charge more for tickets. Take away a few inches and they can fit more seats on the plane."

All this, we are reminded, is going on in coach when airlines are spending heavily on more comfort in first class.

Talk of two Americas!

We spent our eight nights in Manhattan at a small hotel on 23rd Street. The tumult from traffic and crowds thundered outside our sixth-floor room 24/7. When we got home, we saw in the New York Times that a new study said older people living near noisy airports may have increased their risk for cardiovascular disease. We wondered what the researchers would say about 23rd Street.

It was plenty noisy, but they would have to take into account that the place where we stayed was also a Catholic retreat, run by an order of good-natured, good-humored and progressive nuns. We would stay there again but ask for a quieter side of the building. We didn't raise the question when we moved in.

A bathroom went with our room. There were lots of rooms with shared baths. As the Lady Friend said, "Leave well enough alone. We’re too old to share a bathroom."

The talk of the town is the High Line, about a mile-long linear park that follows an old railroad track on the Lower West Side of Manhattan. An aerial greenway, the High Line crosses historic landmarks like the old meatpacking district and the neighborhood of Chelsea.

It was inspired by a similar project in Paris — a nearly three-mile promenade — completed in 1993. A dismaying sight to some but heartening to others is the astonishing real estate development that the High Line has spurred in the neighborhood.

Speaking of sights to dismay, one comes across a work of sculpture on the High Line. It portrays Colin Powell holding a vial — one assumes it’s filled with uranium — to back up his claim to the U.N. Security Council that Saddam Hussein was building a nuclear arsenal. The infamous speech was delivered on Feb. 5, 2003, to win international support for an invasion of Iraq.

This article originally appeared in the San Leandro Times.

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