Ghetto or practical?


I was appalled when I looked out of my kitchen window yesterday and saw a makeshift refrigerator on the window sill of a neighbor’s apartment a few yards away. Egg nog, poultry and who knows what else adorned the window sill in the 24 degree weather.

I’m sorry but this is ghetto! But it’s what I have come to expect living in Harlem, where I reluctantly moved last May. For all the hoopla over the gentrification of Harlem, it still has so very far to go. I speak as an outsider, not someone who ever spent any time in Harlem back in the day. Had I, then I’m sure I’d be doing back flips over the offerings now available to the bourgeois. Instead, I walk around with my nose in the air, shaking my head in disgust, fighting back tears and explaining to Lucy that we’re poor and can’t do any better right now. I honestly have walked down the street with her and said, “Lucy, we live in the ghetto.”

Today’s photo verifies that. I’m sure in the backwoods of the country, folks keep their bottles of milk outside. But I’m sorry. I’m living in what is America’s most sophisticated city and the main borough at that. I should not view the belongings from someone’s fridge on the window sill when I look outside.

It’s enough that there are chicken bones on the sidewalks. Stacie even called me one morning shouting that she saw a whole fish head on the sidewalk. The public urination in Harlem is appalling as well. I recently watched a guy stand outside a bodega, talk on his cell phone, smoke a cigarette and pee against the side of the building. I shook my head at him in disgust. Another time as I walked Lucy I saw a man come out of a building, go toward a SUV, take a leak right outside his vehicle then hop inside it. I’m like, WTF? Didn’t you just leave someone’s house, if not your own? Wasn’t there a working toilet in there? These disgusting MFers piss me off to the nth degree. Another time a guy taking a piss on the street, as I walked my dog, apologized for doing so. Is it any wonder that when strange men approach me in this neighborhood and want to shake my hand, I recoil in fear of the pissy germs they’re going to spread. And I don’t feel about it. I don’t shake because I know they have just tapped. We should all be doing the fist bump thing like Barack and Michelle. It’s much more sanitary and will be an upcoming post.

For now I’m on Harlem.

And I could go on forever.

But it’s late. I’ve just finished watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” for the umpteenth time but the first time since I moved. I used to live on the same Upper East Side street as Holly Golightly’s apartment and played the movie daily because it felt like I had a good friend in the apartment with me as I worked. It was comforting watching the movie tonight but really all it did was make me long for my old neighborhood. Yeah, the UES is full of mice. I even saw one outside of Holly’s apartment one night when I walked the dog. I swear, if it wasn’t for walking that darn dog of mine I wouldn’t see so many mice, chicken bones and men relieving themselves in public.



Filed under Harlem

2 responses to “Ghetto or practical?

  1. Maureen

    Wow… wish I knew what to say. The external fridge, while quite uncouth, is at least practical. But using the streets as a latrine and a garbage can? Completely unacceptable. Don’t these folks know we’ve got a black president now?? Can’t they at LEAST try to act with a little decorum these days? Good grief.

  2. Maureen

    The external refrigeration is, while uncouth, at least somewhat practical. But using the Harlem streets alternately as a latrine and a garbage can? Completely unacceptable! Don’t these cretins know we’ve got a black president-elect now? You’d think (or at least I WISH) they’d show a little more decorum. We ALL need to be raising our game with Mr. Obama on his way to the White House!

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