Saturday, March 25, 2023

I want them all. I want the...

 Earlier this week, I hosted a guys' night at a local theater to watch on the big screen, the 70s classic, The Warriors.

Though I've heard of the movie, I'd never seen it before. In many ways, it didn't disappoint, being the cheesy, low-budget popcorn thriller people talked about. Plenty of contrived moments, like when the gang members are on the run for their lives, yet they stop to pick up girls. Teenage hormones, I suppose. What the movie did capture was the decrepit urban of landscape of New York City at the time, where the Big Apple seemed poised on the brink of collapse. I was there in the early 70s and vividly remember the squalor, the desolation, and the fear of imminent violence. Times Square was a cesspool of humanity. Boarding the subways--covered in graffiti inside and out--was like tempting fate, even in the middle of the day. I saw people attacked on the subway, kept out of the way during spontaneous brawls in McDonalds, witnessed muggings on Park Avenue and 42nd. It was a mess.

When I heard that the city had cleaned up, I returned in 1999 for a family vacation. The change for the better was shocking. It seemed futile trying to explain how bad things had been. My sons though, were expecting to find bodies floating in the East River.  One son even remarked, "This is New York? People are so friendly."

That was then, and NYC, like too many other big cities, Denver included, is staggering under rampant homelessness, drug trafficking, overdose deaths, and violent crime. Doesn't make for comfortable living but is fodder for good stories.

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