New York City is a dumpster fire. I am so over it.
And that’s coming from someone who had a full blown love affair with the city for over twelve years.
It didn’t take but 5 minutes of being by myself in NYC to become the target of sexual harassment.
Let me back up for a moment.
This past week, Wednesday-Saturday, my fiancé and I flew back to New York City to be with his family over the one-year anniversary of his father’s passing. And while we were there, I picked up my wedding dress and Steven had his final fitting for his tux.
Wednesday morning, our flight got in early. I checked into my hotel in Jersey City and Steven went straight to work in Manhattan, where I would meet up with him later in the day after getting my haircut in Soho.
Around 3pm, I left the hotel and walked to the NJ PATH station — which is the subway that connects Jersey City to Manhattan. (A three minute ride, truly, a no brainer).
It’s the first I’d been without Steven, and on my own since I arrived that morning. It was a beautiful 85 degree day in the city, and I was wearing a cute little sundress, summer wedge sandals, and I was feeling all cute, about to go get my pre-wedding haircut!
As a seasoned New Yorker, I always have my wits about me, especially when I’m alone, and particularly when I take the subway…which, truthfully during the last few years I lived in NYC, I never did, because crime had become so rampant post-pandemic. But the PATH usually is safer because it requires a separate ticket and is only for NJ commuters.
So anyways, I entered the PATH station — I had both hands on my purse, phone away, eyes up and alert, and I noticed as soon as I walked through the door that this suspicious looking man had zeroed in on me and was walking right at me.
Now, I still had to purchase a PATH ticket at the automated kiosk. And there was a line. And here comes this man.
He had his hands jostling around his nether region. He was licking his lips and saying the most lewd things about me, about my dress, about my legs. And he was approaching me.
I swiftly veered around him, avoiding his path.
But I still had to wait in the ticket line.
He continued to follow me and then approached me, trying to touch my hands. He was still licking his lips and saying sexually explicit things about my body.
The other people in the ticket line were non-english speaking tourists with kids who were just gawking at the scene unfolding in front of them.
Then the man started getting angry. “That’s f*$&ing rude. You gonna just ignore me?! That’s f*#&ed up. That’s f***ed up!”
At this point, there were some other men behind me that kind of stuck up for me, urging the man to “leave the girl alone,” and “back off!” And it was during that diversion that I purchased a ticket as fast as I could, and I literally ran to the turn style where I swiped my ticket, bolted through the gate and never looked back.
It was so scary. My heart was in my throat and all I could think was, “Dang, I am so glad to have escaped this forsaken city.“
Five minutes is all it took to become the target for sexual harassment. And sure, perhaps this isn’t as “drastic” as other women have tragically experienced, but his aggression was still out of line and terrifying.
Here’s the thing — I know FOX News and other news organizations can dramatize how “bad” some of these big cities have become. It’s easy to write it off that they’re just sensationalizing how dangerous or how crime-ridden New York City, or LA or San Fran or Chicago have gotten, post-pandemic.
It’s easy to roll our eyes at what we might think is just “fear mongering,” but the truth is…it actually is that bad out there.
The crime, the drug use, the homelessness. It’s all true. Not sensationalized. Not amped up for ratings. Big cities have become cesspools of violence, crime and homelessness.
Not only did I live through it in NYC, but this summer Steven and I spent time in LA and San Fran, and not only did we witness people defecating in the street and tweaking on drugs, but the city was one homeless encampment after another — taking over sidewalks, bridge underpasses, abandoned lots. It was so tragic.
The large cities in America are absolutely red-lined, run by horrible politicians and rapidly declining further into disarray.
And with New York especially, it is heartbreaking to remember what it was, and then see what it has become.
It’s just so sad.
My experience this last Wednesday, I’m grateful that I wasn’t in terrible danger, but it just speaks to the unpredictable nature of living in such a crime infested city where the police have been defunded, disrespected and told to stand down.
I’ll tell you one thing, it really makes me grateful that I got out of there when I did, and that I now live in Ohio.
So anywho. All that to say, be careful out there. Our cities are not what they used to be.
I wonder when someone will stand up and say, “Enough’s enough.” We need law and order back on the streets; we need punishment for crime; and we need to find creative and effective solutions to help people get back on their feet – get a job, get clean – and get off the streets.
That is my prayer.
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Have you seen a change in the big cities near you?
Please let me know in the comments!
Have a wonderful evening; be safe, and I’ll talk to you on Wednesday and Thursday! Boy do I have a good story for you!
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