In New York, there is a cutthroat and highly competitive entrepreneurial system happening on the subways. It’s taken me a while to reign-in my cash handout tendencies, but after coming to terms with the fact that I cannot give to every person that asks for it, I’ve had to put a policy in place of no hand outs, except for food. That is, unless I can’t help it.
Today when I took Roan and his cousin Emmie to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I couldn’t believe how alive the Subway was with commerce. I don’t know if it is the economy or because it was a holiday today, but that thing was buzzing with activity, more than usual. In our subway ride from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, there were these pitches for money:
- A kid from Bed-Stuy selling chocolate bars. He said that he was helping to support his family from these sales. He was probably around fifteen.
- A homeless man, not very clean, not very articulate. He said something at the other end of the car that I couldn’t make out, and then shook his cup up and down the car until the next stop.
- A woman in her mid-thirties. Said her home had burned down, and was carrying a piece of paper she said was the certificate from the Fire Chief. I’ve seen this woman many times over the past year.
- The Subway Boys. Ok, so these are not the same boys I wrote about before, but they have a similar routine. I think they freaked most of the people out on the subway, but Roan was feeeeeeeling it. They did some flips, some popping, some breaking, and one of the guys held the other upside-down so his feet were pounding on the roof of the car. It was crazy but damn. Those boys have some moxy.
- Another boy selling chocolate. This one was possibly seven years old. I didn’t see any adult with him. I almost kidnapped him.
- A mariachi band. I love these guys – another regular sighting for me.
I did end up shelling out a few bucks to one of these train industrialists. I couldn’t help myself. I’m wondering about my readers, though. Who or what is it that finally cracks you to give a dollar or a few quarters? I know most of us just say no like Nancy Reagan told us to (different concept but same training). But sometimes it just happens. When is that for you?