Friday, December 18, 2009

Fear and (not yet) loathing.....

This week, for the first time in over 20 years, I feel fear in the streets and subways of New York. And I am experiencing a deja vu version of Manhattan that pulls me back to the bad old days of the early to mid 1980s.

It started with a friend's mugging over a month ago along an affluent stretch of w 67th St, just around the corner from her home. And ended this morning with the news of yesterday's shootings in the west 80s and the same friend's reporting that she witnessed a mugging and robbery of a newsstand vendor last night right near us on Columbus in the w 60s.

My own experiences: coming out of a restaurant on 102nd and Broadway a few nights ago and walking uptown with H, three young men---one of whom was loudly, threateningly, verbally aggressive (not specifically directed at us, though there was no one else nearby)---came up behind us, and I felt a chill go up my spine. I slowed to let H walk slightly ahead so I could get a look at the guys, and the loud one started to move closer to H and I thought I was going to have to take some action. Then, he backed away, and, relieved, we continued on our way.

Two weeks prior to that, coming out of a friend's apartment on w 87th, one of two men approaching us from the opposite direction grabbed my arm as we passed each other. Though I'm no karate kid, I went into auto-kill mode, but pulled back when I realized one of the pair was inebriated. My heart was still pounding two minutes later.

The subways and public restrooms are overflowing with ripe-smelling homeless, begging for charity. Tragic and hard to resist helping, though one wonders about which are the druggies and which are just down in the dumps. The subways are running slowly and creakingly through the city now. And the whole darn thing just reminds me of how I felt being here in the first years of my career.

Am I the only one who is noticing this?

No comments:

Post a Comment