Saturday, November 14, 2009

Anecdotal Stories from the Upper West Side of New York

These are personal stories I have heard or seen with my own eyes and ears the past 10 days:

Today at Gristede's Upper West Side:
I see a middle class guy leaving the store, despondent.  The counter clerk told me the guy was buying 2 packets of peanuts and the card only had $0.90 and the poor guy's bill was only able to cover 1 packet.   The guy told her that was all the money he had and the peanuts would be his dinner for tonight.  Happy Halloween, America.

Couple days ago Walking Down Broadway in the 80s:
A man walking down the street with his family of wife and two little girls.  I overhear the man say, "Sorry honey, I can't, I'm unemployed..."

Yesterday, was on my way back from Blockbuster and I looked into the faces of the people on a bus heading uptown and it broke my heart.  The saddest, most forlorn, broken, sad people that I can ever want to see.  Spirits broken.  Unhappy.

The coup de grace.  Today my landlord who happens to be Jere Burns - you can look him up on IMDB - has his third wife who is probably 20 years younger contact me and tell me that they are going to be taking over the apartment 1 month early.  No discussions, no nothing.  Why? Because Jere is going to be back in New York and wants the apartment.  I paid the guy for the full term upfront.  The wife maniacally called me every day while fedex was delivering the check, it felt so petty and embarassing to have to deal with her.  Obsessed with money.

I am back in New York after a few years.  I left during the dot com years because I was tired of the assholes that work here, tired of the hustlers.  But when I left people were happy.  You could still see people walking down the street laughing and cheerful.  Today it is hard to find people walking down the street smiling, at least where I live on the UWS.

Even so, I find that New York is far better than the rest of the country and is faring relatively well.  Prices of real estate have corrected but there are no foreclosures in Manhattan, a few in the suburbs.  The UWS is still a tough place to find an apartment, being one of the more desirable places in the city for families.

The city has become the poster child and in some ways always has been the poster child of what is right and wrong with our country.  We can all form our own conclusions. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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