So, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog—even longer, in fact, than it has been since Reese updated his blog. It appears that I am joining the long list of delinquent FasterSkier bloggers.
My lifestyle has undergone some serious changes over the last couple months, since I moved to New York City and started at Columbia. For example, instead of typing this post in my underwear and a t-shirt, as I would have done in the past, I am now typing it in my underwear and a collared shirt and a tie, something I would have punched myself in the face for doing just a few months ago. (For the record, did you know that a collared shirt and tie on top and underwear on bottom is perfectly sufficient for conducting video skype interviews? Just sayin’.)
Other ways things have changed: I have become a hardened New Yorker. How? Well, mainly, I got mugged. Fo real. No joke. I am now more badass than Andy Newell and Kikkan Randall combined.
So, as part of school here, I cover this neighborhood in the north Bronx called Norwood, which, I concede, is a place where you might not want to leave your valuable rubies and emeralds unattended on a park bench for more than a few minutes at a time. However, it is not a place where people regularly fear for their health and well-being.
A few weeks ago, I’m walking around on my beat, minding my own business, checking out some basketball courts under construction in a busy park in BROAD DAYLIGHT while wearing a backpack and collared shirt. In retrospect, I had not actually drawn a logo in block letters on my collared shirt that said “please mug me, as I am from a rural area of Maine where people smile at each other when passing on the street,” but I think that that is how two area youth may have interpreted it anyway.
So, yeah. I finish up looking at these basketball courts and try to leave the park so that I can go, of all places, to the police precinct, where I am trying to make friends with the cops. (Yes, I know, irony: I am about to get mugged while I am on my way to the police precinct.) Sample conversation between me and the NYPD:
Me: Can you tell me about any of the unusuals that have happened here over the last few days? (Translation: I just used the word unusuals, which makes me a hardened police reporter who knows what he’s talking about—will you please give me information that you’re not authorized to give me even though I am wearing a shirt that says “please mug me, as I am from a rural area of Maine where people smile at each other when passing on the street”?)
NYPD Officer: No. (Or some variation on this theme.)
Anyways, back to the story of me getting mugged. I am trying to leave this stupid park. But instead of finding the exit, I run into this fenced-off construction area, and there’s a guy walking the other way who says that I can’t go through there. So I’m like, okay, and I turn around, and then there is another gentleman who is walking towards me who decides that, instead of returning my friendly nod, that he will heed the instructions on my shirt and take the opportunity to lunge towards me and punch me in the throat.
Keep in mind that this is all unfolding with like one dude watching from behind a fence but apparently minding his own business, and then a handful of other people within a hundred meters or so, pleasantly enjoying their day in the park. Just another day in the Bronx. Anyways, I humbly offer the contents of my wallet and backpack to these dudes, as well as my dignity, and they proceed to make off with my iphone, $10 from my wallet, and my dignity, leaving my computer charger, library books, credit cards, and even my subway pass intact. Which is fortunte, because it means that I don’t even have to call my mom in Maine to have her drive me back to Manhattan from the Bronx! Also, my memory is not 100 percent clear on this, but I think they left the day’s edition of the Wall St. Journal, as well.
After a brief stop at several local institutions that do not let me use the phone, I walk the rest of the way to the police precinct, which was my intended destination in the first place. A wait ensues. Then, I am led up to the stairs to be interviewed by a detective.
Me: “This was not how I wanted to get inside the precinct office.” (Translation: I am a reporter who would like to view the interior of your offices without being subjected to physical violence.)
Officer: “At least you’re not wearing bracelets.” (Translation: handcuffs. Fair enough.)
After telling the detective that I don’t have much of an interest in looking through, no joke, 7,483 mugshots to see if I can identify the perpetrators, I depart, and my work for the day is finished.
Other than that, things are going pretty well. The Manhattan Nordic Ski Club, which consists of me and three other exceptionally friendly dudes, has already had its first team practice, and we are excited for Thomas Alsgaard’s visit to the city in a few weeks.
I have been busy reporting. And I also managed to con some people into letting me sneak in the back door to an extremely awesome investigative reporting program that runs concurrently to all the other classes I was already signed up for. One of the teachers is a private investigator. So suffice to say that if anyone is laundering their SuperTour prize money, I will be the first to let you all know, unless Chelsea or Topher or someone else at FasterSkier beats me to it. Over and out from NYC.