Sunday, May 9, 2010

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Gucci, dolche, the girl’s got it all….

But she’s begging for a dolla bill here and there.

I have talked a lot about my fantastic experiences in New York City. I have mentioned going to the movie premieres, the shows we have shot, the people I have met, and the ability for the city to just light a spark under your butt to go out and find opportunity. Few times I have written about sadness and downer parts to living in the city. But an experience that I had today left quite a bitter taste in my mouth, and I was truly angered enough that I shed tears under my sunglasses riding the 1 Uptown from a successful shopping day in SoHo.

Poverty is pretty prevalent in New York City, as most people know. People live in the subway tunnels—others search for shelters—and others are forced to find warm safe street corners. People ask for money—and others just let themselves suffer. Some get money—and use it on all the wrong things, and others get money and use it toward bettering themselves. Some people falsely display themselves as homeless and poor and go driving off in a convertible—making more untaxed money than many working class people. And then there are some you just get angry at, because you can tell the moment you look at them that they are not what they say they are.

Before I get in to today’s experience, I might mention that one of my first experiences encountering homeless people was when I was leaving a Baltimore Orioles game with my dad and my brother when I was really young. I remember the men begging us for money, but they were wearing new Air Jordans—perfectly white, and it made us all wonder, why do they need money?

My experience today was very similar. As I entered the 1 train, I saw a girl and her boyfriend walk onto the train. I then watched a girl dressed in Steve Madden Shoes, white spandex, and what appeared to be a J. Crew cardigan. Slung on her wrist was a Coach purse, and her hair looked as though it had just been died bright blonde with brown roots barely noticeable. She got up from her seat and approached a middle-aged man sitting near me, and said “Can I have a dollar sir?”

“Excuse me?”

“Can I have a dollar,” she said stumbling as she dragged her words, almost in slow motion, as if she was also on something.


“Can I have a dollar, I need to pay for the shelter…can I have just a dollar?”

The gentleman handed her a dollar. I thought she was going to move down the train, but she went back to her seat.

I noticed the man across from me was staring at her, the same way I was. She then pulled out her designer wallet and began counting all her dollar bills, before pulling out Entenmann’s Cinnamon Rolls.

This is when tears broke from my eyes. I really wanted to push myself to say something. I know that we don’t know every person’s situation, and maybe those dollars really did mean something to her and her EckoUnited wearing boyfriend, but to me it seemed like a selfish act, and it truly angered me. It is hard times out there—for a lot of people—and I just feel like it’s acts like that, that make it even harder.

She’s got dolche—sporting some of that gucc’
Still she finds it’s okay to mooch.


  1. You hear a lot of stories about people who supposedly make a lot of money panhandling, (tax free!). I'm never sure what to think about those stories, but one thing is certain - they definitely attempt to look needy.

    Do you think this girl was mentally ill? It's definitely a sad, and unusual story. Thank you for writing it so well.

  2. Professor Wills, I had not seen this comment til now, I am so sorry ! I am not sure if she was mentally ill or just very high on something else, but either way, it just made me very uneasy and angry

  3. wow, this is ridiculous. i always saw stuff like this on tv but never knew anyone with a first hand experience