There are many things I can add to my never-ending “Are We in a Recession” tally. There’s the sudden cornucopia of free samples at the Grand Central Market, the five empty taxis that whizzed by me as I waited for the light to change at the intersection of Broadway/Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street at 6:15 this past Tuesday evening and the recent five day weekend where none of the frequent vacationers on my block felt impelled to leave town, but perhaps nothing beats the trouble ahead sign I experienced last week.
I was on a standing-room-only Lexington Avenue express train when, suddenly, I felt a touch on my right shoulder. That, needless to say, is the shoulder I swing my handbag over. I was absolutely stunned. Crime? In the subways? In 2008? The trade-off for New York City’s absurd unaffordability is that at least we the citizens are supposed to feel safe. Subway crime is so 1988.
I’m happy to report that my shock did not, however, override the instincts and startle reflex I developed growing up in the New York City of the dark and dirty 1970s and 1980s. I jumped even as I pulled my handbag even further forward onto my chest. I then looked up to see a 20something man walking as quickly as he possibly could through the train and away from me. As my mouth opened — to do or say what I don’t know since I was stunned by my sudden and unwanted journey back in time– he yelled across the car, “Lady, I’m not stealing your bag. I was just trying to get though the train.”
Of course he was trying to steal my carry-all. If he wasn’t, he never would have looked back and most certainly wouldn’t have drawn attention to himself by saying anything. I’m guessing he was testing to see how touch sensitive I was, and was then going to do the old slice-the-strap-with-a-razor trick.
So, if I have to live like it’s 1988 again, can I have my city back? Please ….
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