Thursday, May 6, 2010

The kindness of strange New Yorkers

No sooner do I start a blog, but interesting (dare I say, blog-worthy?) things start to happen to me. Last night, I was walking with a friend through the East Village (I know, I know hardly Astoria--but we were coming from a dance class and looking for a place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a cheap margarita in a not completely packed bar. As it turns out, such places don't exist in the East Village on Cinco de Mayo.) Anyway, as we were walking, an old woman stopped us asking for help and to "protect her" from a man standing nearby who was trying to steal her bag. We (or at least I) thought she was crazy as the man was just leaning against a restaurant a few feet away, smoking a cigarette.

My friend tried to figure out what she was talking about and started asking the man if he had threatened the old woman. We weren't really sure what to do because the woman just kept mumbling about how he was going to steal her bag, but wasn't making any attempt to walk away from the guy. Just then, he finished the cigarette, threw down the butt, and actually did grab her bag. He knocked her down in the process, and then took off running up the avenue. The crazy thing was it wasn't just in front of us, but on a very busy street. So when we yelled out for someone to stop the man, several people actually did. We helped the old woman up, and some man, who for some reason was carrying a giant walking stick but had no problem sprinting with it, returned her bag.

A medium-sized crowd that had gathered stood around the guy until police arrived (only a couple of minutes later). They took the guy into custody and took down our information. Overall, I was impressed by the efficiency of the arrest. Sometimes in this huge city it seems like no one would notice if you fell over dead on the sidewalk. (And granted, there are events to support that claim.) Since I've lived here, I've learned to drown out noises that formerly would have caused me to look up and take notice, including but not limited to: yelling, random screams, sirens, and subway mariachi bands. However, whenever I do see someone in trouble, people always rush to their aid. When someone fainted on my subway car once, the people around her were calling for help and looking for a doctor seconds after she hit the ground. As jaded and wrapped up in their (or I suppose I should say 'our') lives as New Yorkers seem to be,
they do look out for their own.

Oddly enough, the attempted mugging of a senior citizen has somehow renewed my faith in the humanity of this city.


  1. Whoa! I can't believe you witnessed a purse snatching! I'm glad no one was hurt and that they caught the guy. How crazy.

    So what dance class are you taking? I don't remember you mentioning a dance class. I thought you were going to take up the irish fiddle or the tin whistle?

    Finally, I love the painting up top!


  2. Haha, thanks for the early morning reminder of our snap sisters days!

    I'm taking a Bollywood dance class with Kim. I don't think I'm really going to learn anything from it, but it's a lot of fun. And don't worry, it doesn't take valuable time away from my tin whistle practicing. Next time I see you, I hope to dazzle you with my rendition of Molly Malone.

    Thanks for the comment and for the painting kudos (I found that by googling "view of the queensborough bridge")!

  3. Wow, you are a true New Yorker now! That makes me have a little more faith in humanity too...that we still look out for each other when it comes down to it.