Thursday, July 31, 2014


The subject is routine: differences in 'quality of life' between Washington, D.C., and New York (meaning Manhattan and/or Brooklyn). From whose perspective, you may ask. Take a genial 35-year-old single man earning minimal income: where is he to find housing in 'hot' neighborhoods in either place? He once lived in the upper reaches - black and Hispanic - of Manhattan and now resides in a decidedly - but probably only temporarily - 'uncool' outlying D.C. neighborhood without a car. He walks 20 minutes to Metro, where previously in New York he sat on the stoop of his close-packed Manhattan dwelling and was the only white man on the block. Compare 'quality of life?" He was never mugged until he came to DC and lived for a time in the still-developing Shaw - and lived through the experience three times, the last time with a mugger who shook his hand after robbing him, saying 'Have a great day.' What does he conclude? That he never feels really safe in DC; that hostility by darker skinned people towards him is much more prevalent in DC. In New York, he actually was warned by his stoop fellows to be careful. In a way, they looked after him, feeling one of them since police assumed he was a downtown whitey coming uptown only for drugs. What explains the disparity? Southern blacks with a more vivid history of slavery in their ones populate DC, where Caribbean natives or offspring are more common in NY? The population density in Manhattan lends  itself more easily to familiarity, hence even family feelings? Who knows...

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