a healthier New York

New Yorkers, by and large, live longer than the average American, according to figures in the latest study of the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The announcement probably surprised as many of us as it must everyone else. How could we actually be healthier than the rest of the country? The NYTimes story cites the factors of increased police numbers and better AIDS treatments.

But New Yorkers, being New Yorkers, also put their own spin on it. New York life is challenging, but eventually provides its reward in the twilight years, said Mitchell L. Moss, director of the Taub Urban Research Center at New York University.

He listed a trifecta of New York characteristics that contribute to a long life expectancy: density (you're surrounded by neighbors, and medical research proves that people with friends live longer), an elaborate system of public and private health care (your doctor is probably just down the block) and extensive mass transit (you're safer in a subway than in a car).

Personally, I've always been convinced that we must first thank our minimal dependence on cars and television for whatever advantages in health and longevity we might have over other Americans. Avoiding more rude adjectives, we can certainly say we're far skinnier overall.

of course, darling, no surprise at all.

yae