Black Encounters: Protecting Our Streets

Although I’m a transplant and I’ve barely lived in Harlem for a year I am highly protective of my neighborhood and I don’t take kindly to haters or people ruining our good name. That is why I felt a sense of pride when I encountered the following event.

Now I love my block, but it’s not perfect. Every great love has their flaws. With that being said, I was headed home on the historical block of 125th street. Actually, I was coming from the not so hot area that we sometimes hide, like family members who we accidentally forget to invite to functions outside of family gatherings. This area is a test of unconditional love with it’s urine stench, trash strewn sidewalks that foster NYC’s trademark critters, and a bevy of people displaying the scars of a hard life.

Outside of the city, most people believe New York is a melting pot, the mecca of diversity. But anyone who lives here knows the truth, you get your multi-culturalism where you seek it. Which is why I was somewhat surprised to see a middle-age black woman engaging a white woman doing the drunk lean  on 125th. But once I got closer I realized it was not what it seemed. The black lady was chastasizing  the drunk for her public display of drunkness. She was going in! As I slowed my stroll to catch the backlash, I overheard her telling the lady to, “Go back downtown with that mess. We got children up here you can’t be in the street like that.” My soul cried YES! She told her to get on a bus, train, or something, she didn’t care just get the hell out of Harlem!

And I was loving it not only because I felt the pride of a black person sticking it to the man, but because of the reponsibility she took for her neighborhood. But she can’t only rebuke white people, this policy needs to be implemented among all of the drunkards hanging on Madison and Lexington, and maybe she does the same with them. I just know that day on 125th will forever live on as one of my proudest moments in NYC.


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