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Sunday, December 30, 2012

This is News? New York City Full of Dangerous Crazy People!


In the wake of two subway deaths in the past month, this New York Post report claims that New York City is full of thousands of mentally ill homeless people.

This is NOT news to anyone to works or lives in New York City -- and specifically, the People's Republic of Manhattan.

I've been chronicling for years how Manhattan's major transportation hubs and other public places have become overrun with the homeless, the mentally ill (the two groups don't always overlap), and the opportunistic who prey upon the misguided altruism of New Yorkers and particularly, stupid tourists who are spending other people's money.  But a pharmacist friend of mine (who to his credit never divulges patient information) confides that in his professional opinion, many seemingly and outwardly normal white-collar professionals are really seriously overmedicated, flying high as kites on prescription meds, and engaging in worse drug abuse than some addicts hooked on so-called hard, illicit drugs.

(PS -- Recommending reading: Here is a recent Wall Street Journal story on the number of deaths from opiods -- painkillers like Vicodin.  This danger is one likely reason for the number of federal prosecutions of pill mills.)

But today, I just stick to the certifiable nuts.  Unlike the Post's article (see the link above), here's the real deal -- a compilation of my extensive observations over the past several years:
  • Grand Central Station's relatively new underground food court may have a nice selection of food, but you'd be advised to never, ever sit down anywhere, as a homeless person may have been sitting there just minutes ago.  Beware the perils of cross-contamination.  The stinking, revolting homeless regularly circle customers waiting to intercept leftovers before they are tossed in the trash.
  • As I detailed in an article two years ago, the Port Authority bus station at 42nd Street is headed back towards the dark days of B.G. -- Before Giuliani.  The cops chase the vagrants out of the station at 1 A.M., with the unintended consequence of encouraging the bums to sleep on chairs, couches and floors in the station during the rush hour!  
  • Penn Station has enough nooks and crannies to allow vagrants to evade detection, and is generally the nicest of the transportation hubs, but still requires caution.
  • Central Park has a motley crew of homeless, mentally ill, opportunistic criminals preying on clueless tourists, and an assorted bunch of deviants.  It's still safe to run there -- if you're a man and you're not wearing headphones.
  • There is a homeless box-dweller who is so permanently entrenched across from Madison Square Park's Shake Shack that she should be paying rent.
  • Early morning and late night trains to the Bronx and Brooklyn reveal that many of these apparent vagrants are headed outbound, presumably to real residences.  Their day job is preying on the altruistic guilt of working Manhattanites (or their suburban counterparts, homo sapiens stupidus Snookius), much like the so-called Occupy Wall Street protestors went home to luxury condos after marching around the fetid Zuccotti Park last year.
It is clear that, in Mike Bloomberg's illegitimate third term, New York City has continued its regression back to the dark days of the 1980s.  Fear does not rule, not yet, but the utter cluelessness of the white-collar professional set makes many of the under-40 set particularly vulnerable to unexpected crime.  Those of us who grew up in New York B.G. grew up in a climate of fear (remember the 2,000-plus homicides in 1989?) but out of that fear rose vigilance.  Today's young adults and teenagers, lollygagging around Manhattan as urban playground, are unaware of the dangers that are increasing.

The recent subway attacks, the random mindless mayhem, are a shock to this under-40 set.  Those of us who remember the days of Abe Beame and Ed Koch remember a different New York.  

This indicates a serious challenge for the next mayor.

1 comment:

  1. Some subway systems around the world are actually being retrofitted with safety systems to cut down on push-deaths (and accidents and suicides). So why not New York City? Last year, 146 people were struck by subway trains in New York City. Of those, 47 were killed. That amounts to one accident every 2.5 days, many of which would conceivably have been prevented by a feature now widely used around the world.