Good morning and happy April 1! No jokes or pranks today, but I think that our Freeze Frame will make you smile. Read on…
Thanks to all the readers who responded to my request for their thoughts on what has happened and what’s next. I also spent many hours on the phone hearing the views of locals yesterday.
I came away with the opinion that there is little we can do on the big issues, but every little we do will help.
There is no doubt that Hell’s Kitchen is one of the kindest areas you could live in. One friend recounted how he was struggling with bags heading home from Food Emporium and three people asked if they could help him. The HK Free Store is kindness in action. Small acts of kindness are a big win.
TAKE A STEP
Do something. When Catie Savage was frustrated by litter piling up in the streets, she took the first step to pick it up. Then she organized the Hell’s Kitchen Litter Legion. We could leave it to government (who should undoubtedly be dealing with this) but the principle of see something/do something is good.
If you don’t feel like a leader, then a starting point could be volunteering with SafeWalx who are coming to the area. You can lend your presence to keep vulnerable neighbors safe.
You are very unlikely to see me quote from the NYPD, the New York Post or Police unions here, but this excerpt from the Post’s coverage of the vicious assault on W43rd Street reflects the view of many about the role of elected officials in Hell’s Kitchen over the last 13 months.
During an appearance Wednesday morning on PIX 11, the NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea was asked whether Elliot should’ve been out on parole — a question he deferred to the parole board.
“When you’re releasing people from prison and you’re putting them in homeless shelters, you’re asking for trouble,” he said.
“There’s got to be a safety net and there’s got to be resources for them. It just never should’ve happened.”
News of Elliot’s release on parole prompted city union heads, including Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo, to blame local officials.
“When New York politicians and their parole board think it’s a good idea to release a murderer who killed his mother — they certainly can’t pretend to be surprised he brutally attacked a woman in Midtown,” he said. “It’s about time the City Council, State Assembly, and Governor be held accountable for their irresponsible laws and decisions. New Yorkers are clearly not safe because of them. They need to fix what they broke.”
Lieutenants Benevolent Association President Lou Turco added: “You can’t make it up. Do we need any more proof that the failed policies of our elected officials are leading to more New Yorkers being injured and killed? When are we going to hold our elected leaders accountable? Reimagine elected officials.”
All were noticeably silent on the issue yesterday. We would like to publish the response of elected officials to this.
Andrew Yang is not an elected official, but he is our Hell’s Kitchen neighbor. He should step up with more than words and tweets to show that he can make a difference when his neighborhood needs leadership and help — or why would he be the best choice to lead the city? We appreciated yesterday that he promoted the neighborhood with his tweet of lunch from Turkish Cuisine — but you just need to walk 9th Avenue to see the crisis. We have asked to interview him about what he plans to do.
Thank you to Jonathan for sending this note yesterday about microaggression.
I’m saddened and angry about the attack this week and the lack of concern by the bystanders, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Most Asian-Americans, like myself, have dealt with racism their entire lives. What surprises me today is that Anti-Asian sentiment is finally getting some attention. But this is not new.
I can say that I saw the escalation in violence coming when Trump used racist rhetoric to describe the Coronavirus. But Trump only brought this issue to the surface, he didn’t start it. Our racist attitudes, and microaggressions, and the acceptance of these attitudes need to change. We’re all guilty (including myself) of allowing our racist attitudes to get this far.
When you ask an Asian person to figure out the dining bill because they’re good at math…you’re being racist.
When you’re surprised an Asian person raised their voice to you, because you expected them to be calm and timid…you’re being racist.
When you say you never attracted to/only attracted to Asians…you’re being racist.
When you say someone is “overreacting” by calling out any of the above attitudes…you’re being racist.
When you say nothing or laugh alongside others when you see racist acts, jokes, language, etc…you’re being racist.
There are thousands of other examples, in the movies and on TV, in the workplace, and among our friend groups where racism is casually accepted. We need to reflect inward on ourselves, we need to call out microaggressions when we see them, and we need to listen to those who are directly affected by this on a daily basis.
What we’ve been reading
How NYC artists have responded to the pandemic. (Gothamist)
What will Open Streets 2021 look like? (Grub Street)
Will getting a background check on your Tinder or Hinge match take the romance out of dating? (PR Newswire)
Workville is heading to midtown. (Crain’s)
Winter is coming… Game of Thrones gets ready for Broadway. (New York Times)
We all need a smile, and Lili Fable lights up 9th Avenue in this lovely Youtube video with her granddaughter, Layne. It’s fun seeing all the people talking about the 1979 video we published last month — and you’ll even learn the proper pronunciation of Poseidon!