Lookin’ for Love in All the Wrong Places

Lost in Yonkers

Q: My girlfriend, who I admit is a bit of a hater, says that Yonkers is the worst place in the country to be single. She even says some sort of study proved it. Help me tell her she’s wrong (as usual). —Jerry Bentham, Yonkers

A: Uh, well… let’s just say she isn’t making things up but that you also can’t believe everything you read.

In mid-December, a website called wallethub.com did a piece on the best and worst American cities for singles. Their analysts compared the 150 most populated cities based on 25 key metrics, supposedly to help singles prep for the best dating opportunities. According to them, their data set ranged from the percentage of singles and the number of online-dating opportunities to the number of attractions in each city. 

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They measured things like the cost of a meal at a restaurant, a drink at a club, beauty-salon rates, unemployment rate, balance of gender, and even something called the “Overall Well Being index.” Wallethub’s analysts gave each factor a weight and totaled them up per city.

According to these analysts, the City of Gracious Living doesn’t live up to its name when it comes to being single, and, just like your “hater” girlfriend said, Yonkers came in 150th out of the 150 cities studied. (Who knows? If they’d studied more cities, Yonkers might have ranked even lower.)

Now, just so my parents don’t think I wasted my college psychology degree, let me add something very important. I didn’t see how the numbers were crunched or if the study had solid internal or external validity. Internal validity means that there wouldn’t be more than a single reason or cause for a result, whereas external validity refers to whether the study is actually measuring what it purports to measure. In short, how do we know this study measured the right things in the right way?

Keep your head held high, Yonkers! Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, so just shake it off, my friends.


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Wrong of Way

Q: Does the rule (or law?) of staying left except to pass apply to Interstate 684? That highway is part of my daily commute, and I’ve always wondered, as I slowly travel south in the “fast lane,” behind 10+ cars, while the middle lane has half that amount, and the poor right lane barely has any. I see the signs noting the “stay left” rule on other thoroughfares, but wondering if our beloved stretch of roadway should be more diligent in setting the ground rules. Thanks!  —Jim Cronin (aka, the guy who now always travels in the right lane), Waccabuc

According to some, drivers on I-684 often don’t know their left lane from their right.

A: If I’ve read your question right, Jim, you may suffer from an affliction (that I just made up) called highway dyslexia — or, alternatively, British road-rules syndrome.

In any event, because I love my readers, I spoke with New York State Police Staff Sgt. Terence J. McDonnell, who told me:

“I think your writer misstated [his] intent, but yes, the “keep right except to pass” rule applies to all roads generally. The Vehicle & Traffic Law section 1120 states that: on all roadways, a vehicle shall be driven on the right half of the roadway, except as follows (1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement. [There are several other rules, as well.] In addition, the NYS DMV Driver’s Manual for licensed drivers states: ‘The law requires that we drive on the right side of the road. … You are permitted to pass on the right only in certain circumstances, and it must be done only when necessary and safe.’ When you pass other vehicles or change lanes to keep away from hazards, do so with caution and only when necessary. You must not exceed the speed limit to pass another vehicle.’ The fact that it is right there in the NYS DMV Driver’s Manual, which is required knowledge for all drivers, means everyone should know that, right? Not so much, unfortunately,” said Sgt. McDonnell.

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I-684 isn’t listed as an exception to this rule, and I don’t see why it ever would be. 

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