Monday, July 13, 2015

City of Angels - Part One

New York City is one of extremes; the best of the best and the worst of the worst live, and/or work in this town. The best ballerinas dance there; the best musicians play their magnificent songs while some of the best writers will pen the best screenplays, comedy acts, or Broadway hits for the best actors to perform, judged by their toughest critics, those who’ve come to watch. “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” —right?

‘John-John’ Kennedy lived there as did his mother who died there along with John Lennon and Eric Clapton’s 4 year old son, Connor, who fell more than 20 stories to his death. So many who have made us laugh, cry, or sing our hearts out, contributed to this great city. Skyscraper construction workers watching over the city that never sleeps, sat on steel beams eating their lunch, so high above us, we looked like ants to them—and vice-versa. And then there’s the eight million New Yorkers, who are extremely good at walking in each other’s “space” and keeping their sense of “Self.” Tender souls like everyone else albeit with tough masks we create to survive the art of living in what some including myself believe is the most addictive place on Earth.

I went there thinking I’d take a bite out of the “BIG APPLE;” how arrogant of me to presume it wouldn’t take an even bigger chunk out of my ___.

I have first-hand knowledge of the best pickpockets who make their living on subways or buses as do freaks who openly and immodestly molest unsuspecting nine-to-fivers; packed together like sardines, screaming profanities at those of us dressed in corporate attire, should “we” verbally express our outrage.

The best drug dealers also call this place home, hanging out on corners or who have climbed the ladder, now delivering manila envelopes full of coke or meth or heroin to wealthy internationals giving parties at their penthouses (who knew Indians from India liked this kind of thing); or Wall Street traders who are strung out on speed (how else do you think they can deal with the pressure on the floor?), using heroin, as reported in the New York Post.

I also found the greatest automobile drivers lived in New York, who, at all costs, avoided hundreds of blaring horns honking behind them should they hold up traffic for even a minute. And God forbid they piss off one of New York City’s Finest who have bigger fish to fry than writing traffic tickets.

Contrast that with nearly four years of looking out my window, upon returning home from work, to gaze at stunningly beautiful and I mean gorgeous sunsets, or the New Jersey skyline, where I could see helicopters taking off, or the Q.E.II pulling in to harbor.

Driving into the city, you can actually feel the vibration getting stronger and stronger as if the place has a heartbeat to go with its energy field the closer you get, it’s so palpable, you’d think you’d feel small in a place like that and you can until you make it there.

What I am trying in an extreme way to say is… If you’re not the best and the brightest or the darkest at what you do, this ain’t the place for you with one exception. You’ve GOT to come here for a holiday. Just ask millions of hostellers from all over the world who save their money all year to come to NYC for a visit. Trust me when I say you’ll never die of “cabin fever” here. In four years, I was NEVER bored once.

If you do decide to move to the city, you should also think twice and maybe run the other way before EVER going up against a corrupt New York City landlord, dragging him to court for first-degree (premeditated) fraud, even if the city is paying the attorney fees and especially if you win your case. You may get the attention of one of those stone gargoyles that sit atop New York City buildings, and you really don’t want to do that.

One day, you are empowered by the thrill of getting justice for your fellow struggling tenants, and the next you’re begging your Mommy to send you the money to get an apartment as far away from this place as possible. This, after finding out the guy who screwed 120 tenants each up to $500 a month for more than four years, also flew a crop plane of marijuana from his native Guyanese wife’s country to NYC, using my apartment building’s basement as a place to store it. This meant there could be guns involved. Never mind the judge was making him pay all he stole back plus a $45,000 fine to the city. He was hopping mad and needed someone to blame. NEVER try to beat the pants off of anyone unless you know for a fact that he can’t throw you out of a plane into the deep blue sea.

People kill and die for land such as where I lived “near” 80th and Riverside Drive across the street from the Marina, just one block down from Mick Jagger’s home when he’s in the USA, on 81st, and a mere seven blocks from where Lennon was shot. Sometimes you don’t know you’re the proverbial “David” until a landlord turns into a sort of bad genie wanting revenge because he got caught and you spearheaded that outcome. I didn’t even begin to “get” the mess I was in until I found myself in a NYC county jail cell with a bunch of crack head females coming off their high, all with stomach aches, with me the only sober and straight and white person in the same cage. To get back at me, my landlord had me arrested on a bogus charge thrown out of court but not until I had lived in terror for thirty hours while the cops searched the national database to see if I had a police record, which I didn’t (in comparison, the crackheads were in and out in less than four hours).

To sum things up, don’t go out of your way looking for evil in New York because even the evil can be extreme so why ask for it even if only unconsciously? Better to leave those kinds of fights to those who stand to lose the most.

I had moved to New York to get over a tragedy involving my family that was so enormous in scope I had to leave the town where it happened and I also needed to be shocked into forgetting if I could. I think I needed to be punished having bought into the guilt trip hook, line and sinker, the moral of THAT story (I’m not so sure I’ve learned) being to never get too close to any other living thing.

There’s more to the story of how I met an angel; this is the back story, in brief, that sets the stage, and that will help to make sense of it all. Angels come to us when we need them to and/or to those brethren among us who, I am told, deserve a visit from one of God’s messengers.

Mary Kinlen, CMT BA 

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