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Showing posts with label NYC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NYC. Show all posts

Saturday, April 11, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 27: Terror in the Hood


Pandemic Log: Saturday, 11th April 2020

Out walking the dog this afternoon and one block from us there was some serious police activity underway.

The entire street was shut and there were literally dozens of fire trucks, police cars and ambulances everywhere. Uninformed police officers and the NYPD’s Counter Terrorism Unit had cordoned off the street at both ends and nobody was being allowed to enter; even if they lived on the block.

A friend who lives on this block texted to tell us that the cops told her that if she wanted to leave her apartment, she would not be allowed back again.

Reporters were on the scene from at least one major network but they could not tell me what was happening. However, one journalist asked if she could take a picture of my dog!

I tried asking one of the CTU officers about what was going on, he hesitated for a moment and then simply said “they are investigating an incident”.

As part of our walk we came around to the other end of the street because that is where our fruit vendor is located. This was when I saw the bomb disposal unit truck.

We took pictures as we walked by and did not stop but that was not true of a number of my fellow New Yorker's; many had started to gather.

There was by no means a large crowd; as there might have been during normal times but more than there should be gathering during a pandemic that requires there to be no congregation of people.

I guess after having been locked down for close to a month, there is a desperate need for some action or more likely desperation to get a more exciting Instagram video.

As we picked up our groceries and started back home, my wife texted to say that her friend who lived on the street called to say that a fireman told her that they had discovered a pipe bomb...

UPDATE: turns out an emotionally disturbed person made 911 call about a suspicious package, which they claimed was a pipe bomb. It was not.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 24: Strangers in the Night

Pandemic Log: Wednesday, 8th April 2020

Since the lock down began a few weeks ago the streets around our neighbourhood have started to get more desolate, and I have noticed some sketchy men wandering around at night.

Last night, when I was out waking my dog I saw a man walking towards me. He was behaving very erratically and looked threatening, but as I turned onto the street, he kept going up the avenue.

From the corner of my eye I spotted a young woman walking alone in the same direction that the man had just walked off in; instinctively I doubled back towards the avenue.

Sure enough the man had started to menacingly block this woman's path. Clearly scared she crossed the street to avoid him but he proceeded to follow her;,crossing diagonally so that he could stay a few feet ahead. As she proceeded, he moved to block her path again. She said something and then turned and started to walk faster, and he picked up his pace to follow her.

Again she began to cross the street and again he followed; now openly chasing after her.

At this point I picked up my dog and walked into the middle of the street, to meet her halfway, and said to her, "Walk with me."

She was visibly shaken but grateful as we started walking together. He had again followed and was now approaching us head-on. She told me that she said to him that she was not carrying money, but that he just kept coming at her. I told her that, I had noticed him behaving erratically.

As we walked past him, I put myself as a buffer between him and the girl and looked him in the eye, at that point he mumbled something about looking for someone and then crossed and skulked away.

She kept thanking me and saying me how grateful she was, and how she never felt unsafe on the Upper West Side before. I told her I was happy to walk as many blocks as she wanted, but after about three blocks when it became clear that he was not turning back, she told me she was fine.

She thanked me again, and I told her it was not necessary, but added that I had seen a lot of strange folks wandering around out at night and it was probably better to walk during the day, for now.

Nobody should feel unsafe walking our streets at night, but these are strange times...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 7: Sunday Bloody Sunday

Pandemic Log: Sunday, 22nd March 2020

Our first Sunday with New York on lock down did not feel slow or lazy but more like a surreal dream that for the moment feels never ending one.

At 9am our laundry lady was on the phone asking us to bring our clothes in because her boss decided to close the laundromat; starting that evening. They had remained open in the first days after the September 11th attacks, during the great Manhattan blackout and through the 2008 financial crisis but were defeated by an invisible an insidious virus. 

When I asked if someone had gotten sick, she said that was not the case and that all the employees had lobbied to remain open, but the owner was adamant that he did not want to risk anyone getting ill. 

Just last night millions of Manhattanites had breathed a collective sigh of relief, when the Governor issued an executive order stating that all non-essential businesses would be required to close, but classified laundromats as an essential service; allowing them to remain open along with hospitals, pharmacies, delis and grocery stores.

This is probably a hard thing for most people to get their head around but many people in this city, especially those who live in walk-ups and pre 1970’s buildings do not have a washing machine in their apartment or laundry services in their basement. 

Granted that running out of clean underwear might not be at the top of anyone’s concerns, but it does become an additional inconvenience for many of us who will now have to add hand washing clothes to our list of things to do.