It makes me really sad that so many people are scared of New York City.
I lived in New York City until I was in the fourth grade, and even though I know the move was for the sake of my sister and myself, I honestly couldn't keep away. I work up there now, since I have accepted the fact that I will never have money (ever) to live there, and I must say, my heart remains in Manhattan.
I don't think I ever had a scary moment growing-up, and the first time I ever remember being truly freaked-out was when we went to see Cabaret for my sister's 21st birthday. (I know what you are thinking..."Diana, I thought YOU were the theatre junkie in the family and your sister couldn't really care less about it!" True. At the time, my sister had a fascination with Studio 54, and Cabaret was currently being performed there...so she had her first legal drink at Studio 54. Which was pretty cool.)
This show completely gave me the creeps. That Emcee was just horrifying to me. The ending just...aughhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! As we were walking in the street after that show, I felt really scared. Not of being mugged or shot or anything...but of creepy little men with white faces dancing around going, "Wilkommen...velcome!" Yes, I was scared of that. And of Nazis.
But never of New York City.
Recently, my friend and I were browsing a street fair on 9th Avenue. She stopped at a table to check out some bracelets, and suddenly, a guy came up behind her, went, "Christina, I think you dropped this..." handed her a couple of $1 bills, and kept walking.
When she checked her bag, she found her wallet was missing.
We think this guy STOLE HER WALLET, opened it up and CHECKED HER ID TO GET HER NAME, then HANDED HER THESE DOLLAR BILLS, CALLED HER BY NAME and WALKED AWAY.
I can't even begin to imagine how violated she felt, because I felt violated enough and it wasn't even my wallet.
(We ended up going to the Times Square police station to talk to them about it, and I'd like to say that the policewoman who helped us was extremely kind and patient...unlike the cops from THIS disaster...http://dianagolightly.blogspot.com/2007/10/i-had-run-in-with-law-other-night.html.)
Of COURSE people are scared of the city, because they hear about stuff like this happening.
A few weeks ago, I noticed a very lost-looking lady trying to figure out how to get a NJ transit ticket home. She was completely clueless, and was trying to stop people for help. Nobody stopped for her.
So I went over to her and asked her if she needed help.
I went over to the ticket machine with her and punched in all the right things to get her her ticket (I can do it blindfolded by now!) and at one point she ran off to check the board for the train and left me alone with the machine, and her credit card inside of it.
She trusted me.
I could have very easily stolen her credit card...of course I didn't...but I could have. I'm glad she trusted me.
When she finally had her ticket and knew which track she was boarding on, she honestly acted like I had given her a kidney.
It makes me sad that the simplest acts of human courtesy are such a big deal. Is the world in THAT much of a mess???
On a similar train-related note, a few weeks ago, there was a letter tacked onto the bulletin board of the Little Silver train station (where I board my train every day for my fifteen-hour commute to work).
The letter was from some lady who had left her purse behind before she got onto the train. (At first I read that and thought, "How do you just FORGET your purse???" then I said to myself, "Diana, you are the girl who has been known to put her cellphone in the dishwasher and are in absolutely no place to judge...") Somebody found the purse, took the woman's cellphone out, called "Mom" or "Home" or somebody listed in her address book to tell them they had the bag in their possession and arranged to meet them to give to to them. The lady was looking for that good samaritan to say thank-you.
Yes, it WAS very nice for the person to do all of that, but it was the right thing to do!!!!!!!! Do so few people do the right thing that the right thing is such a big deal????
The other morning before work, I heard a few British (I think) tourists trying to find the TKTs line (the TKTs "Island", as I have always called it, is being renovated and the TKTs line is now on the side of the Marriot.) I stopped to tell these people where they could find the line (anything to spread the love of Broadway...go see Xanadu, people!) and some other tourists overheard and came over to me to ask me questions as well.
A woman I worked with was walking by, and laughed at me and went, "Helping tourists?"
Yes, I am.
We all should.
It's really not a scary city if you run into the right people.