Category Archives: strangers in New York

Wistful yearnings of a Yelp reviewer

I was on Yelp looking for a bar to pass time before my class tonight, when I came across this review. I felt so bad for this poor guy.

One Saturday night, I was feeling depressed. I was tired of spending Saturday nights alone watching stupid YouTube videos. I was also upset at the fact that I’m 31 and I still live with my parents, while almost everyone I know has their own place. In order to get over my misery, I hung out with my two best friends, Bud and Light.

This is a run-of-the-mill bar. There’s nothing special about it. It’s small and cramped.There wasn’t that much to do other than to watch TV or joke around with your friends. Practically all of the patrons were white (not that I have a problem with that). The bartenders were cool. I had two drinks while I watched a Mets game (there was nothing else on). I didn’t have anything to eat so I can’t comment about that. .

I didn’t come here with the intention of meeting women (although that would’ve been nice). I just came to pass the time. I neither liked nor disliked this bar.

Granted, maybe Yelp isn’t as appropriate an outlet for this as, say, his therapist’s office. But it seems like Yelp is all he has. It’s kind of like how I feel about my credit score. It’s all I have, and it’s really, really special to me.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that this individual has also reviewed such establishments as Brooklyn and Queens (for all you non-New Yorkers, I am indeed referring to the Burroughs; these are not some new hipster establishments).

He really likes Kmart, his local music store, and his physical therapist “who speaks in a fake American accent;” Newark Light Rail, not so much. Let’s take a look at what he had to say about that:

Many people think that Newark is a ghetto, crime-infested city. However, I recently began an unpaid internship at a legal aid organization in downtown Newark. After walking around the area, I realized that there are actually nice parts of Newark. With that said, I decided that I wanted to check out Branch Brook Park. I’d heard that it’s the New Jersey version of Central Park. Today, I headed to the park. I fucking regret it.

I got on the train at Newark Penn Station. The inside of the train was relatively clean and the riders behaved themselves. However, I noticed that several of the underground stops were desolate and dimly lit. Someone could get raped or robbed in those stations. The ride was pretty fast- it only took about 20 minutes to get to Branch Brook Park.

I got off at the station and walked to the park. I wanted to see the cherry blossoms but I came a few weeks too soon. I was very disappointed. I headed back to the station and waited for the train back to Newark Penn. And then that’s when things went from bad to worse. I was about to lean on a pole when I noticed that it said ,”Danger: High Voltage”. I quickly got away. I was scared shit. Keep in mind that I was on the platform, not the tracks. Why would NJ Transit have something so dangerous on the platform? I was inches away from being fried to death. Wouldn’t it make sense to have a fence to protect people from something that’s potentially fatal?

A simple train ride to a park nearly turned into a ride to the cemetery.

I support Clinton, and you support Sanders, and that’s okay (as long as none of us supports Trump)

Hillary Clinton was a different kind of first lady. She wasn’t a Nancy Reagan, married to the patron saint of the Republican party, or a Barbara Bush, married to…okay, I got nothing on George Bush, Sr. She was a politician first and a wife twenty-third. And that’s when people started hating her, back when sexism was rampant, unlike now when it’s completely eradicated, and women enjoy all the same privileges as men do. Unlike the other first ladies, she did STUFF. And then she became a senator and did more stuff. And then she became secretary of state and did even more stuff. And you know? I am sick and tired of people hating on her because she dared to be a person back in the 90s and had a vagina at the same time. She not warm and fuzzy, and, as I’ve come to realize, you cannot be a powerful woman and be warm and fuzzy at the same time. Our society does not accept that. But you also can’t be a powerful woman and avoid being called a bitch, because our society does not accept non-warm-and-fuzzy women; only men are allowed to be the opposite of warm and fuzzy. So in summary, women should not be powerful.

I say all this because people are so set in not liking Clinton and finding a lot of ways to avoid supporting her without having one central argument other than she just rubs them the wrong way. Some people say they’re against this whole idea of a Clinton dynasty. Guess what: only one Clinton has been president. And Hillary isn’t even an actual Clinton; she just married one. If you want to talk about Benghazi, I would just like to say of course she’s had some foreign policy issues, because she is the only candidate with any foreign policy experience. No, Sanders never made any international errors, because he’s never been responsible for dealing with other countries. If you like Sanders, that’s okay, but I hope you support him for what he stands for and that you know what he stands for and just how viable his ideas are in the real world. That is, I hope you didn’t just become a diehard Bernie fan because you don’t like the alternative.

And if you really love Bernie Sanders, I accept that, and I hope you can accept me, too. Just as long as neither of loves Trump or Cruz.

Interlude: an appreciation for some strangers on the subway

You know that moment of doom when the train stalls and the conductor announces “afhjkadfbkafbkasf” and you have no idea what s/he said because it was incoherent? And then you ask someone what s/he said and they have no idea either? And eventually s/he repeats it, and you realize there’s a sick passenger, and you proceed to bang your head against a wall because you’re definitely going to be late to work? Well, a couple weeks ago, I was that person who made you bang your head against a wall, because I totally fainted on the subway.

Here are some things that happen when you faint on the subway: you automatically get a seat, the conductor comes over and encourages you to get off the train (but what do you do then?), people offer you a lot of medical advice, and actually, strangers are very nice. After I insisted that I was fine and wanted to stay on the train, people offered me water and spoke to me in soothing tones. A special shout out to that one woman who offered to get off at my stop with me and walk me to work.

In summary, thanks to those strangers, and also, the next time your train is stalled for a sick passenger, know that s/he is probably really embarrassed and never wanted to be that person and is really, really sorry.

Nobody’s Forever Young (Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart are in their 70s)

The other night I was in a dive bar in Brooklyn where I observed the following exchange:

Drunk girl (to bartender): “Hold old do you think I am?”

Bartender: “Uh…23 or 24?”

Drunk girl: “Ughhhh. I’m 24?”

Bartender: “And that’s bad?”

Drunk girl: “I was hoping you’d say 22.”

Bartender: “Is 22 that different from 24?”

Drunk girl: “22 is young. 24 is so old.”

Now, I’m aware that I have, on occasion, complained about being old, or getting upset over birthdays. We’re all guilty of doing that at some point. I hope I wasn’t doing it at 24.

Coincidentally, this took place shortly after I had a conversation with a friend who just turned 30. I mused about younger friends who think their youth is a badge of honor. Newsflash: age is one thing you definitely cannot control. And guess what: you’re 24 now, but you’re going to be 25 next year, and in six years, horror of horrors…30. Everybody is every age until death.

Nobody loves getting older after 21, except my dad, who is counting down the days until his 65th birthday when he will reap all the benefits of being a senior citizen. For the record, it’s over a year away, but he already has a list memorized. The supermarket in my hometown gives a discount to shoppers over the age of 55 on Tuesdays. Apparently you have to identify yourself as a senior citizen. My dad goes every Tuesday.

That said, I just really want to have my shit together by the time I turn 30.

I’m not about to tear down children

who were trick-or-treating on Saturday, because my heart is not made of stone. (Although I’m a little over the Elsa costumes. Let’s try to be a little more creative, guys, k?) But while I was handing out candy on my stoop, a parent decided to dig in, too. Are you for real? Are you, an adult and mother of two, going to demand candy for yourself? (Yes. Yes, she is.) That’s even worse than the teenagers. Not that they shouldn’t have shame, too.

Monday morning on the F train


I frequently see people sleeping on the subway. It’s not as often that I see someone spread out across almost an entire bench having the nap of her life at 9 a.m. on a Monday. I got in this car because I thought I spotted empty seats this morning and was excited. I was wrong.


In case you can’t read what her tattoo says, it reads “Fuck me hard.” I’m really glad she has that tattoo because otherwise someone might be tempted to fuck her gently.

The five most annoying kinds of people on the subway

Ranked from least to most offensive.

5. People selling overpriced candy bars. If it were just kids I’d semi-understand, but when grown ass dude are trying to get me to pay $5 for Welch’s fruit snacks I’m entitled to a little fury. The vending machine at work already rips me off.

4. People eating Cheetos/other gross foods. IMO if you absolutely must eat food during your 45-minute commute, it should be a clean, neat, odorless food. Carrot sticks. Celery. A banana. If I can smell your food it’s the wrong kind. If it’s staining your fingers a color that does not occur in nature, nope.

3. Mariachi bands. The Bachelor franchise treats them like they’re the mother of all romance. I hear them coming and want to switch subway cars.

2. People selling Jesus. Sample speech: “I was in a bad place, and then I found Jesus. You can do. Give me money.”

1. Showtimers. Nothing sends chills down my spine like the announcement “It’s showtime!” as two teenagers demand that everyone clears the aisle to show us their latest routine, which inevitably involves glorified pushups from the handlebars, hat-throwing, somersaults to the sound of pulsating music for which I am way too old. A third teenager stands to the side politely catcalling his friend: “That’s right. Way to go. All right.”

Honorable mentions go to:

-That guy who was sitting on the subway car floor with an entire amp/bass setup who played heavy metal from one stop to the next. Then he went around asking for money. When he got to me, he asked me to be his girlfriend. When I declined, he asked for my phone number. When I declined, he asked if he could walk me home. As much as I wanted him to know where I live, our romance was not to be. That could have been my future husband and I totally missed my chance.

-That guy selling copies of his self-published memoir. Point for creativity, Dude.

To the woman who was giving her children Starbursts on the train this morning

My mother denied me sugary cereal when I was growing up. Of course I resented her for it at the time. I wanted Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. When my older brother went away for summer camp, he wrote me long letters about the dessert he was eating for breakfast, and I was jealous.

Did it make me a healthy eater as an adult? Not really. Could I really go for a bowl of Lucky Charms right now? Totally. But I appreciate my mother’s efforts towards keeping me healthy and not fat. So thanks, Mom, for not feeding me candy for breakfast.

Now a question for the woman who was actually feeding her kids candy for breakfast: Do you really dislike their camp counselors that much?

Come on. Lucky Charms are one thing. Straight up Starbursts? I know I’m not a parent, but I think I’m entitled to judge you for that. You’re not the one who has to deal with the consequences, after all. Think of those poor high school/college students who have to play charades with them all day, and now they have to do it while your kids are hopped up on sugar. (Side note: I could fill a book with my camp counseloring and babysitting stories. Another time.)

To the people who stand up at the fireworks to “get a better view”

You’re not getting a better view by doing that. The fireworks are in the sky. You look dumb.