I live on the Upper East Side in the middle of a pretty block.
If you go west, all is clean and peaceful, doormen sweeping, hosing down the pavement. Seasonal flowers planted on each esplanade.
However, if you go east, it’s a whole other story.
Between jackhammers digging up the street, breaking pipes like it’s a way of life. Swarms of commuters, faces buried in their phones, pushing their way, without pause nor apology. The professional panhandlers, every few feet, begging and perfecting their wanton wails, even though we see them later, jumping into taxis.
A new guy has joined the team who, when you say no, screams…you hunky bitch…you white, rich bitch…you can’t give me nothin?
Me, with my Starbucks card still filled with birthday presents, I’m betting Don Rickles has more cash than I do.
How can you live there? I’m often asked. Aren’t you afraid?
Actually no. Do I need to be careful and watch my back, like in any jungle? Absolutely. Is it pleasant to be accosted that way, whether it’s about money or noise, rudeness or crowding, just trying to get down the street?
I hate it, grateful I can meander the other way where civility is not yet a thing of the past.
What can I say?
I love New York. It’s my home, even when she belongs in rehab.