Yesterday (Tuesday, December 12th), I was surprised to see this man standing on the corner of 137th Street and Hamilton Place in Harlem, Manhattan, just down the hill from the City College of New York CUNY and P.S. 325, a public elementary school.
When I walked up to the corner, a man standing by the vendor cart that’s usually there at the base of the hill selling drinks and snacks was screaming at this old guy, “No! You go to Hell!” I couldn’t hear what the old man was saying clearly because I had headphones on, but I imagine he was saying, “No, you!” or something like that. I don’t know if the guy was seriously offended by the old man’s sign, or if he was just doing it to agitate the old guy.
More than anything, I was wondering what happened that made this guy do this? And who is his intended audience? The only real foot traffic in the area that’s constant all day long is the flow of students to and from CCNY. So, does he equate higher learning with sin? And if he does, what higher learning it? All of it, or just the social sciences and humanities? And if he condemns all education, then … well, it would be ironic since he knows how to read and write, so I’m sure it’s something more specific than that. It had to be personal though. He wasn’t handing out literature like the religious dealers that peddle pamphlets using signs that threaten eternal torture.
He wasn’t there today. At least, not when I walked through there. I’d never seen him before, either. I’m really not surprised. This is New York City after all. There’s always someone screaming about the apocalypse, screaming at someone, screaming at an imaginary person, etc. etc. At least he had his pants on.