NEW YORK — After an evening of reading and writing at New York University’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library and a delicious visit to my 24-hour diner, Cozy Soup & Burger, I recently strolled home through Manhattan’s East Village. That 10-minute walk was anything but appetizing.
In just that brief interval, I encountered an array of garbage: Piles of litter, empty plastic cups, and a half-eaten box of pizza on the ground chilled in the breeze.
Meanwhile, at least three bums slept on various sidewalks. Two were passed out in their clothes. A third was fully encamped beneath blankets and atop flattened cardboard boxes.
About five blocks away, a man availed himself of the City Council’s decriminalization of public urination. He was not off on a side street or crouched into a corner. Instead, he planted himself between East 13th and 14th streets and relieved himself as proudly and brashly as Manneken Pis, the famous statue in Brussels of a little boy in bronze voiding his bladder.
This real-life, non-Belgian analog to that 17th Century artwork stared out at Third Avenue with just a trash bin separating his urine-gushing appendage from the two-way traffic. He stood there in red- and clear plastic platform shoes, perfectly at ease, as if he faced his toilet at home.
Just around the corner, with equal self-confidence, a rat crouched in the middle of the sidewalk on 14th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues. It was exposed to some very bright street lights, which these vermin normally hate. A couple of other rats scurried furtively and more characteristically among a few mini-Dumpsters shoved against the front of a building, beside a construction site. About 40 feet apart, the filthy rodent and I stared at each other. I made some hissing noises, expecting that it would dart off. It didn’t. The rat stood his ground. Eventually, a car pulled up nearby. The arrogant rat finally skittered off toward the gutter and vanished.
Thoroughly disgusted, I stepped off the sidewalk and walked the short distance home through car traffic, giving these rats as wide a berth as possible, without getting myself flattened in crosstown traffic.
This 10-minute slice of life emerged on an October Tuesday night in New York City, under the far-Left leadership of vagrant-hugging, garbage-towering, urine-flowing, rat-burgeoning Mayor Bill de Bolshevik. It’s as if Rudolph W. Giuliani never lived, and John Lindsay never died.