Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New York: An Argument Against the Grinch

I love New York. Really I do. But these kinds of stories just don't seem to happen anywhere else:

"At first, I thought, 'You can't be serious.' Then I realized, what can you do? It's New York." —Matt Dahlman, 27, whose bags were stolen Christmas night at Penn Station, while he was holding the bleeding head of an elderly man who had just fallen down the escalator. [NYP]

Now of course this doesn't hold a holiday candle to the gun-toting Santa who made all of us think it might be time to give up on humanity.

But stealing bags while somebody's trying to help another person is just undeniably bad.

In defense of Manhattan, I must knock on wood as I say I have never, ever had a bad experience in the city. On the contrary, I've met some really nice cabbies, shared smiles with people on a crowded street and even had one close call with a man who turned out to be a good Samaritan in disguise.

I was young. I was clueless. And I was riding the South Ferry subway from Grand Central to visit a relative on Staten Island. For those of you who don't know, South Ferry's the last stop and as the train carried me closer to my destination, my car emptied out until there was no one left but me and one guy. He was a little older than me, he looked a little threatening, and he kept looking in my direction. I was frozen. If I stood up and looked for another car I was certain I'd get mugged. So I sat still and tried to act cool.

He stood up. He walked toward me. I started hyperventilating while trying to act like I didn't notice. But he stopped directly in front of me.

"You should move," he said.

I looked up.

"You should move," he repeated. "It's not safe to be all alone in one of these cars. You're supposed to move back as they start to empty out."

"I didn't know," I whispered.

"It's okay. Need help with your bag?"

"No, no. I can do it."

"Okay, then. You be careful, okay?"

And he smiled at me.

Like I said....I love New York.

Happy New Year.

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