The Holiday Season inevitably means you will be asked to GIVE. Giving is good! I give my time, my service, friendship, food, money and gifts…. Sometimes we can even OD! (over donate).
Living in NYC, I am asked on an almost daily basis to “just give a few pennies” or “give any food you might have – even a half a sandwich in your bag”. People tend to come at me from any angle (I guess I have a certain look)?
However – I tend to NOT want to give based on the many observations made breathing, walking and working over the last two years here.
I hope this serves as a cautionary tale if you visit The Big Apple during the holidays (or any other time of the year)!
- When approaching a homeless (senior) woman living on the corner of Broadway & W. 73rd (she lives on the sidewalk with her two dogs) I offered a pair of nice sneakers. (I need to replace mine about every four months because I walk so much). She looked at them, turned her nose up and said, “No, I am good.”
- Early one morning — on my way to work, a young man put on a sad puppy-dog face (like that of a six-year-old) and whined in a boyish way that he needs money to get food for breakfast; he’s so hungry. I snapped, “I have three kids of my own to feed.” (yes two of my kids are in their 20’s but I still dole out $$$ for their travels, college, or well being). His face instantly returned to that of a responsible adult and he gave me a look like, “I hear you Girl” …flashed the “peace out” sign, and moved along quickly.
- Another morning at the subway — I casually looked down the stairway only to see a homeless man harassing each person he sees. Since there is no train on its way – I stay on the platform above and avoid his presence. As the train arrives I swiftly move down the stairwell and onto the train without contact from Mr. Touchy Feely Beggar Person.
- A Desert Storm Vet asks for support as I am coming home late from work (at the theater). It’s after 11 PM, but I feel for our Vets. I give him $2. He replies, “Is that all?!” He’s annoyed. He wants more $. He wants enough money to buy dinner. He asks me to walk a few blocks up and buy him a “rib dinner” from Chirping Chicken. (I am guessing I am supposed to walk the dinner back to him while he sits there with his sign)? I want to take my $ back but I don’t. I say, “I just got off work, I am tired, I am going on my way. Best of luck to you.”
- A man is begging for money on the subway (this happens everyday); He seems hostile. He is begging for anything… even pennies. A man across from me gives him whatever he has in his pocket (it looked like a few dimes, pennies, and a nickel). The homeless man screams, “THAT’S ALL?!” The homeless man was a little scary. The other man gives him a little more money, and he moves along.
- A very skinny – very obnoxious guy paces the subway back and forth in a manic way whining like a two year old for money; he’s having a tantrum; he persists in a most unpleasant fashion. His voice is incredibly irritating. After the ride (when we are no longer his hostages) he yells at everyone for not giving him a thing. Did I just get insulted? Footnote: On an express ride the beggars have your uninterrupted attention. You def feel like a hostage!
- Countless people have approached me on the subway, in the subway station, or on the streets. Some hold doors for you expecting $. (My co-worker told me her strategy for dealing with this one). She says, “Hi, I am not going to give you money for opening the door for me. I can do that for myself. But I will smile at you and be nice to you… and say ‘thank you’.”
- Some approach you and either ask for a swipe of your Metro Card, or ask for the card itself. Buzz off!
If a singer or musician(s) perform(s) on the subway and create a feeling of happiness, I usually will give a donation.
If you are in the giving mood, maybe try Go Fund Me, or another organization of your choice.
Sadly all of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting will not be supported. Click to see the story.
I would think twice before shelling out money to the beggars or swindlers on the streets of NYC though!
Photos below taken on my rooftop during the Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Are you a festive holiday lover or a Grinch? (Yes, that is a Grinch float, not a frog)! hehe – I thought it was a frog at first!