The Old ‘Hood

This time last year I was still living in the heart of Spanish Harlem. I’ve since moved to…a less-ghetto part of Spanish Harlem. White kids in my new area would probably tell you they live in the Upper East Side. But they be full of shit.

I took Emmy the Cat to the vet on Saturday morning for her annual check up and clean bill of health for travel (she’s coming to Alaska with me for the holidays), but I’d forgotten to get her sedative for the 10 to 12 hour flights. So I took my lunch hour today to go back and get it. While last Saturday’s visit required a cab for the cat, today I hoofed it from the subway down 116th street to the vet. And…you’d think the dudes up there had never seen a white chick before! C’mon, dudes. One literally walked by me, spun around and just stared after me like I was E.T. sitting in Elliot’s bike basket.

I guess months away from the old ‘hood and I’d forgotten what the place was like. I haven’t had a skeezy “God bless you” in a long time, and it wasn’t elicited by a sneeze. All I get on the new block is the occasional giggle coupled with “blanquita.” But today, it was the old place all over again: hey mami, yo white girl, ooh mami, God bless you, and all the rest. Oh, SpaHa, you’re so very New York.

And speaking of very New York things, I just witnessed one woman trip over a baby in a stroller as she was running across the subway platform at Grand Central Station. She barely even stopped to notice what she’d done, let alone apologize to the mother. The baby, for his part, simply stared at her like, “What the eff?”


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