Monday, September 23, 2019

Song of the Day: 'Chelsea Morning' by Joni Mitchell

The New York Post has waded into a sensitive topic, writing that "bums are overrunning the West Village and Chelsea, according to terrified residents who are circulating a petition to remedy the crisis since police and lawmakers are unable or unwilling to help." The tabloid writes: "Longtime denizens say the problem has never been worse, with vagrants shooting up drugs and relieving and even pleasuring themselves in full view."

At first blush I described the piece as "slightly hyperbolic, but (sadly) mostly true." (Remember when I saw the sex worker "working" on a client down by my building trash cans and the 16 shuttered storefronts on 8th Avenue?) Ever since much of the gay nightlife scene moved to Hell's Kitchen, Chelsea's once bustling Eighth Avenue has at times become a veritable wasteland of shuttered businesses, derelicts and hookers hanging outside the three seedy businesses that have remained constant: a trio of adult video shops. A fellow Chelsea resident (and friend) pushed back, saying: "Slightly?" 

But after conceding that the part about the element of danger seemed like bullshit -- "one Chelsea woman said she won’t leave her apartment without Mace and a Kevlar vest"(!) -- my boyfriend had to remind me that I was assaulted over on Ninth Avenue just after the Gay Pride Parade in June. (After asking our group if we had any money -- to which I replied, "Sorry, not today" -- some erratic man sucker punched me in the gut with such force that I was concerned several days later that I may be bleeding internally because the pain had lasted so long. All I could think was that if he'd had a pocket knife, I could very well be dead and he'd have been long gone -- it all happened so quickly my friends didn't even realize I'd been punched.) So if I've been victimized -- and frankly I'm rarely on Eighth or west of there, which is what the article is about -- having moved my life east to the much nicer Seventh Avenue -- who am I to say if there are women in the neighborhood who aren't doing what they need to do to feel safe? Might be time for me to check in with NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson


jaragon said...

Sad but true

Stephen said...

I read that as "Chelsea Manning". LOL