Search This Blog

Thursday, March 28, 2024


                                                       The site of this afternoon's incident.

An unfortunate aspect of the fast food restaurants in Sunset Park is that many of them are used as convenient shelter where the local homeless/junkies/hardcore alcoholics go to sleep it off or beg. Nearly every time I’ve dined in one, I have either been accosted for money or found myself seated next to some poor bastard who’s fighting a losing battle with consciousness and gravity. 

Today I went to Texas Chicken and Burgers (aka Tex's) for lunch and ended up catty-cornered to a Latin guy who was clearly passed out, and he was slowly oozing off of his seat. 


I took his picture to provide an example for my ongoing NYC life document, but not ten seconds after I snapped the pic, he fell face first to the floor with a heavy thud. 


There were only two other customers present and only one other witness, and I was the first to make it to the counter to alert the staff. Unfortunately the staff mostly doesn’t speak English (the only English that most of them know is what’s on the menu), so I had to coax out staffers using gestures. Two of them came out and immediately got what was going on, so they called for emergency assistance and then carried on like nothing had happened, probably because this kind of thing is a common occurrence during their average work day. Meanwhile, the guy just lay there on the floor and the other patrons simply ignored him. 

After about ten minutes an ambulance arrived and out stepped two bored-looking EMTs, an Asian woman and a Latino man. While the woman took notes, the man attempted to rouse the guy who was passed out on the floor. Speaking to him in Spanish and rolling him over twice did nothing, so the male EMT asked me if the guy was drunk or high. I told him he had been doing the classic junkie nod-and-lean, so I’d bet good money that he was smacked-out. With that information in mind, the EMT lightly slapped the guy around while continuing to address him in Spanish. The guy slowly roused and was groggily helped to his feet, where he wobbled and nearly fell on top of me. Once more or less steady on his feet, the guy was asked a series of simple questions before he was determined to be okay, and once cleared the staff ushered him outside and back into the streets of Sunset Park.

Sunday, March 24, 2024


As seen on the convoluted route home from dialysis on Friday: 50 Ocean Parkway, the building where Glenn Greenberg and I shared an apartment between 1995 and 1997. I pass it on the highway every morning and can see it, but it's always too far away to photograph. This was taken from inside the Masada car as we passed by it. I was the only person of color in the building and maybe even the neighborhood, and I often got the suspicious side-eye from the locals.

Worst of all were the Russians who lived in the building. One day when I was coming home loaded down with groceries, I waited for the lobby's elevator, and when it opened a Russian woman and her daughter stepped out. The mother's eyes went wide when she saw me, she covered her child's eyes as she hastily herded her out into the lobby. All the while she dressed me down in Russian, which I could not understand. Upon making it into out apartment, as I put the groceries away I told Glenn of what had occurred. Suddenly, our doorbell rang and Glenn went to answer it. He called to me and said "It's for you" with a note of confusion in his voice. I went to the door and it was the Russian woman, only this time she had brought several people whom I assume were several members of her family. She pointed at me and again let fly with a torrent of Russian, and from the context I gathered that she was a neighbor on our floor and that she was pointing out both me and where I lived for the benefit of her kinfolk. It was a stretch to think that she had some sort of magical Russian negro-detecting sense, because she did not follow me in the elevator, so I guess she must have previously observed me coming and going through her apartment's peephole. Anyway, I never saw her again, which was no loss whatsoever.

I wonder what the neighborhood is like now. It was the kind of neighborhood where everything closed by 9pm, even the local conveniences stores/bodegas, so there was pretty much nothing to do there after the sun went down And from the look of it, I think the old video rental place is long gone, which leads me to wonder what became of its owner. He was a stereotypically flaming older guy who attempted to cruise me whenever I was in there. Good VHS rental place, though. It had a lot of hard-to-find out-of-print items, and it. was where I first saw and fell in love with SWITCHBLADE SISTERS (1975).