Thursday, December 8

Astoria Part 2

I decided to send my Astoria post to a local neighborhood website and post it on Facebook. I received such lovely feedback! Writing means everything to me; to have people appreciate it (Thighs followers included!) is a wonderful feeling.

In the week since I wrote the post there has been a murder, an attempted murder (same shooter and family), a rape, and two armed robberies. Who knows how many unreported crimes have happened as well.

I love New York. I really do. I feel safer in Manhattan than I do any other city. I'm not so sure about Astoria now. Times are different. Occupy Wall Street has opened my eyes to the social inequalities that have always been there, but I was too young and/or blind to see them. I am part of the 99%, yet my salary actually makes me part of the 25%. I am single, no dependents, renting, carless, and although I pay a shitload of money to my COBRA health insurance and my ridiculous credit card debt, I still have plenty of disposable income. I understand the 1% makes at least five times the salary I do, but can I honestly look at someone on welfare and say, "We're both the 99%?" Of course not. And I know that isn't the point of the OWS movement.

The thing is imagine you live in the Astoria projects. All of a sudden you see these yuppies moving in close to your turf without a care in the world. Sure I was making shit money when I worked in Publishing early on, but I wasn't poor. I chose to become poor by living beyond my means and without a roommate, hence the debt. I did it to myself.

How would you feel if you're struggling to pay your bills and feed your kids while your new upper middle class neighbors are dressing up as zombies and doing a pub crawl? How would you feel if you're a teen watching your parents (or parent) struggle? How would you feel if you're working two jobs to make ends meet and see hundreds of iPod listening, cellphone talking, Kindle reading people on the subway?

Believe me, I am not condoning crime nor am I saying we should feel guilty over our successes. NOT AT ALL. All I am saying is I can see why people are tempted to strike the neighborhood now. There's always been a lot of money in Astoria, but (from what I know) this is the first time it's spreading across into areas without it.

I'm not sure what to do about any of this, except write and give out my two cent safety tips. Here's another one:

Ladies, if I'm walking alone at night, sometimes I'll put my wallet in my back pocket, my keys in my front pocket, and my phone in my jacket (if I'm wearing one) even if I'm carrying a purse. My thought is, if someone mugs me, chances are they'll only want my bag. I know a lot of you carry thick wallets, so at the very least put your license in a pocket. This way if they take your bag, they won't know where you live. If they take your bag with your ID and keys, then smarter criminals will break into your apartment.

I realize some of my posts of late can read crazy. THE END IS NIGH!! I don't think that at all. In fact, I believe 2012 will be a great year of transformation and new beginnings. I want to make sure everyone I care about will enjoy it. Neighbors included.


Jennifer Juniper said...

I definitely think the end is nigh. Frakkin' scary. :-(

Bridget Rockstar!! said...

safety tips - awesome

just because you're poor doesn't mean you are dumb and can't be inspired to do better tho. probably more the economy than gentrification.