Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Oh yeah. If I were a criminal, this would
 definitely put the fear of God in me.
In the mid-1990s, during a mini-crimewave in the Upper East Side, the local neighborhood folks put to a vote the idea if hiring a private security firm to patrol our streets at night. It was voted down overwhelmingly, the locals apparently concerned about being considered crimophobic.  

There must be another crime uptick around here (outside of inexplicably rising maintenance costs for co-ops). In the last few days, little ads calling for neighborhood watch patrols have appeared throughout the neighborhood. I casually mentioned to my wife, "I'd join if they gave me a gun."

"I think they give you a vest," she replied nervously.

Giving a thin smile, I repeated quietly, "I want a gun."

My wife offered up her patented sigh. "If people didn't know you, they'd think you were weird in a strange way." Or maybe it was, "strange in a weird way." Whatever she said, it was redundant, something I never am, ever, never.

Hint: the secret is in the crust.
It would actually be pretty easy to separate the creeps from the UES residents. Just stop random people east of Central Park between 72nd and 96th and give them any of these tests:
  • Ask a rapid-fire series of questions that only locals could answer: "What's the difference between the pizzas as Pintaile's and Two Boots?"  "What do two horn blasts mean at the Second Avenue subway construction site?" "What's the name of Mayor Bloomberg's live-in girlfriend?" This kind of intense psychological grilling works wonders at Israel's airports -- why not here?
  •  Start a "casual" conversation with someone who looks suspicious with, "Hey, buddy, where you from?" If they give the name of any city other than New York, they're lying. Nobody from out of town visits any part of Manhattan east of Central Park between 72nd and 96th because there's nothing here to see. That's what I like about it.
  • Assume that any fat guy wearing a backwards baseball cap while talking on his cellphone is up to no good -- except if he's pushing a baby carriage and/or wearing a t-shirt reading MONTAUK: THE END OF THE ISLAND.
  •  While we're on the subject, if a couple is doing nothing to stop their baby's incessant screaming, they're Upper East Siders and, unfortunately, should be left alone. 
  • If, while attending a free Central Park concert featuring the New York Philharmonic,
    How I get talked into this year
    after year is a mystery.

    you encounter a group of people who are actually listening to the music, notify the nearest cop. We Upper East Siders are there to scarf down Chinese food from plastic containers, illegally drink alcoholic beverages and yak incessantly for two hours.
  • Similarly, the people who attend the July 4th fireworks show on the East River are definitely from another part of town and, thus, should be considered potential outside agitators. Real Upper East Siders either watch it from their roof or that of a friend's, or, more likely, are already in Southampton, the end of the Island. (This rule is currently unnecessary anyway because, for the fifth year in a row, the fireworks will be shot over the Hudson. Let them get the headaches.)
You can avoid any of the above by following one rule: Anybody lacking an American Express Gold Card -- out.


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