Thursday, October 27, 2005

My Homeless Blog

When you see a homeless person who you really see is God. God is working through this homeless person for your understanding. Anyone who would care to please comment on this.

3 Comments:

Blogger fultonphishmonger said...

CALCUTTA BECOMES US
It’s time to welcome home the homeless.

By Jim Knipfel

I got a phone call the other day from my High-Powered Attorney, Ken. Ken's actually a dear friend, and was a friend long before he was my High-Powered Attorney. Only rarely over the years have I called upon him for legal advice, but still, I kind of like the idea of being able to refer to someone—anyone—as "my High-Powered Attorney."

Ken called from his High-Powered Attorney's Office in midtown with an idea for me. Ken does that every now and again. He's not your typical lawyer. He's the first man I know to recognize the innate greatness of the Htoo twins. Not long ago he thought I should start covering the Saddam Hussein trial, not as an important political event, but rather as great entertainment.

This latest idea of his intrigued me. The mayoral election was still fresh in everyone's mind, and at least a few of us were looking at the next four years with a sense of dread. "The billionaires have won," Ken said. "They've been given a billionaire's mandate."

He's right, of course. The mayor now has the go-ahead to do whatever he wants. That means the streets are only going to get cleaner, the city's going to become even more tourist-friendly, more open space is going to be used for advertising, more landmarks are going to be sold off to corporations and the sidewalk-clogging stroller population is going to explode. And we won't even consider the citywide smoking ban or the anti-tavern rezoning ordinances that are doubtless on the way.

It boils down to this: There's not going to be much room for the likes of you and me. The city belongs to the billionaires now, and they can do with it what they please.

So what are those of us who will never be billionaires supposed to do? What little steps can we take to try and salvage New York as something more than a theme park for the clean, rich and well-adjusted? I'm not talking about pulling a France here—nothing illegal or violent. To save our city all we need to do is be nice.

It's time to start making New York City more homeless-friendly again.

Sure, during the Giuliani years we were all taught—and came to believe—that the homeless were untouchables, that if you gave them a quarter you'd just be "enabling" them. That they were out there because they wanted to be and got what they deserved. And look at what happened—they disappeared! They went away because we stopped being nice to them. Not all of them left, of course—but they certainly aren't as prevalent and obvious as they once were.

Well, it's time to change all that. Next time you see a homeless person, offer him or her a hearty handshake (that's what my dad used to do), then give a quarter. Better still, give them a dollar, or more.

Or why stop there? If he looks a bit puckish, bring him into a Dean & Deluca and buy them a sandwich—and suggest that he eat it there!

The key is to make the homeless feel wanted.

If you find one of them camping out on the sidewalk in front of your building, instead of calling the cops, bring out a blanket. If there's a woman stinking up a subway car, instead of moving or telling the conductor, stop and think for a moment how grateful you are that all those SUV fumes haven't yet completely obliterated your sense of smell.

Once word spreads that New Yorkers are being nice to the homeless again, maybe more of them will move back. The more comfortable they are, the faster their population will grow.

A few of you might well be asking yourselves, "Why in the hell would be want to do that? That's just stupid."

Perhaps. But think of it this way: Over the past decade, New York's been invaded by people who've bought up the city, chunk by chunk, molding it into their own image and making it amenable only to billionaires. Normal folks who've lived here for generations can't afford million-dollar condos. We can't afford much of anything. The billionaires can, though. And the reelection of Mayor Bloomberg has given them the go-ahead to continue to make the city theirs and theirs alone.

This is nothing new, of course—poor, hapless Freddy Ferrer made battling the billionaires the centerpiece of his campaign. But here, see, is the joke.

Before the rest of us are completely shoved out of Manhattan, we do our part to repopulate the streets with smelly, drunken and drug-addled bums. We turn street-level New York into Calcutta.

Doing that will destroy the property values these people have worked so hard to build up. Multimillion-dollar real estate isn't worth shit when it stands along Calcutta streets. After dropping all that money on a Gramercy Park townhouse, who'd want to see that every time you stepped outside? The New York they've polished up so neat and clean and safe will, over a few short years, become worthless. To them, anyway.

Then we can all come back and start ignoring the bums again. Think of it as a sort of real-life version of George Romero's Land of the Dead, but without so much flesh-eating (at first, anyway).

And all it'll take is a few thousand of us being nice to the homeless for a while. It's not that hard, is it? Because if we don't do something, it's only going to get worse.

December 5, 2005 at 9:35 PM  
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