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...