When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Monday, September 15, 2008

Well... Wow.

I mean ... I never thought I'd have this reaction. But I guess I kind of feel bad for some of these folks. Again, it has to be from the intersection I've been experiencing of late with these unbelievably monied people.

This story indicates that the money manufacturing Lehman Brothers (no, I really, literally don't know what they do, except make lots of money for some of its' employees) did not get the bail-out that many of us cynical and jaded onlookers expected them to get. so the following happened;

Employees emerging from Lehman's headquarters near the heart of Times Square Sunday night carried boxes, tote bags and duffel bags, rolling suitcases, framed artwork and spare umbrellas. Many were emblazoned with the Lehman Brothers name. Its businesses in Britain were placed in administration Monday, said the administrator, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, and employees carrying boxes and bags were walking out of Lehman's London offices.

TV trucks lined Seventh Avenue opposite the building, while barricades at the building's main entrance attempted to keep workers and onlookers from gumming up the steady flow of pedestrians flowing in and out of Times Square.

Some workers had moist eyes while a few others wept and shared hugs. Most who left the building quietly declined interviews.

People snapped pictures with cameras and their phones. Observers pressed up against a police barricade drew the ire of one man who emerged from the
building and shouted: "Are you enjoying watching this? You think this is funny?"

See, all you had to do was put a human face on this, and I'm affected. Never mind that this human face was probably attached to a guy who, so high above me in economic strata he may have been that he couldn't give less than his wife's poodle's crap (that she didn't pick up while walking it as per NYC law) about me and my life (which, btw, is why I won't be owning a dog in NYC any time soon). The fall of any human is hard to watch. That's why I also don't engage in the skullduggery on Sarah Palin, or in most politics. Okay, all politics. People are people. No matter who they are, they deserve to keep their pride and dignity. Except of course if they're filming themselves having sex, because shucks, now they're just GIVING it away like Crazy Eddie.

Just last night I was sitting in a posh eatery in my neighborhood, waiting for my Chicken Caesar salad-to-go, with dressing on the side, watching the posh eaters having their Sunday evening, last-social-gathering-of-the-weekend conversations. See, my neighborhood, Inwood, has a rather stark geological/economic divide. Broadway is like the rear eastern border of the expensive co-ops of the affluent.

The streets there are clean and the buildings have decor and lobbies. This I know because my first exposure to Inwood was through a guy who lived in this section.

I say Broadway is the "rear border" because literally, the co-ops and buildings which cost good money to have face west. They face Jersey and the Inwood Hill Park. Their backs are to us who are east of Broadway. However, the bus stops, train stations (the 1 and the A) and all the fancies eateries are on or a block from Broadway.

So they have to =literally= descend their multi-tiered stone staircase to join us at times.

And last night, I found myself feeling slightly resentful. Clearly, one half of the dining quartet was an early thirties (if not late twenties) pair of successful, self-possessed, driven yuppies elaborating about their importance in the world. I didn't outright hate them, but I did think of The Grim Jester who does, which is why he psychotically avoids Manhattan and thus avoids me.

But then I awoke to this Lehman Brothers story and I find compassion again.

Welcome to the other side of Broadway folks. I'll spring for a sandwich when your trust funds run out.

That didn't sound as compassionate as I originally intended it to be.


manhattanspeak said...

i live WOB for a while now, and I couldnt agree with you more... we are thinking about moving EOB. any suggestions on how to score a deal?

Alan said...

I'd suggest getting to know a few of the supers over here. Two apartments went vacant on my floor alone in the last year, and the super told me how much they were going for as he and his boys renovated the place.

And when I tell you DECKED IT OUT, believe it. My mouth watered. All new EVERYTHING. 'Gut-renovated' I think they call it.

I really like your blog, btw! I'm glad you found this one! I'll be checking your place out quite often! And congrats on your marriage!

BTW, this morning when I went out to take the pics, the sanitation workers therein got nervous and asked what I was taking pictures of. My thoughts were, 'If you live right, you won't have to worry' but I joked with them instead and told them the truth. Right after I flirted and told him I was an underwear model photographer and was he interested. Well, he started it! And he was a boring ol' pot-bellied boxers kind of guy anyway.

The Neighbor said...

Great post. Nice snapshot of an alien culture.

Well, to a guy from NC, anyhow.

manhattanspeak said...

here's the thing, im puerto rican but i dont speak spanish - which means im actually discriminated MORE by the dominicans than if my jewish husband when on over there. i wont lie - it's intimidating.

do you mind if i ask what ave or street your on? no details needed - just if you are on sherman, post, or vermilia? wondering if one block is a lil better than another... we have a kid and i want him to feel safe.

please leave a comment on my blog when you have a moment so that i can shoot you an email offline.


Alan said...

I'm on Broadway in the numbered streets, north of the A-train stop. But I'm on the Eastern side of Broadway. ;-)

So I'd say it's safer the closer to Broadway that you get. In those diagonal blocks which involve Vermilion and Academy and all that--it does look pretty dicey. And of course, it seems that the more white people that are mixed in the population, the safer it appears. As if the white people are some kind of barometer for safety. If THEY feel comfortable in numbers, then it's safer than the places that they don't go to live. Safer for other white people, anyway.

When I used to live in Harlem, I'd rejoice to see so many white people mingling and mixing it up. Now they've gentrified the area where I used to live (146th between 7th and 8th) with two new condos across from one another on 145th, and one down the block. White people flocking in droves to the moderate priced housing. Renaming Harlem "North Manhattan" for white-friendly purchasers.

What a mess we made of things.

But as long as this is going on, then yeah. It makes me want to hug every white person I see in the neighborhood, even though I'M the newcomer (been a year and a month now). In my building in particular, there are a few Irish families who've been there for generations. The other white folk include artists who can't afford WOB rents. The one white guy I know on your side of the street is an active actor/dancer on Broadway in a huge, popular play. And his apartment is SWEET. His patch of apartments are north of Inwood Hill Park.

manhattanspeak said...

dude, i think we know each other.

did you ever read simply saidy blog? ("not for the faint of heart?")

your email addy looks so familiar...

Alan said...

We totally know each other. I just sent you an email matching the details that you've put in your comment.

The link to my old blog is to the left, right over Wil Wheaton's link. You'll find yourself there in the comments section of my earlier days.

We've both come a long way since then, haven't we? Well, you certainly have. I'm so glad for you. And I think it's more amazing that we've ended up in the same neighborhood. :-D

Tera said...

Hmmm I started reading this in sort of a somber mood, and then it shifted, but by the end, I wasn't sure what mood I was supposed to be in...thanks Alan! ;-)

Alan said...

I spit a likkle lyric 'pon ya!

Don't worry, I had the same experience while writing it! I had compassion at the beginning, but when I thought about Joe Fired and how much he probably loathes me and my kind, and how he'll probably live off his 401Ks and interest from his several 100Ks in the bank, and how he can probably get rid of his Mercedes that he only drives on the weekends to the Hamptons, thus saving himself about 2K each month on leasing, insurance, and parking fees--which would translate to living rent for anyone else...suddenly I have less compassion.

But I did try.