When I was either mugged or gave a stranger $160
“I’d been here maybe 5 weeks, staying on the floor of some friends who lived right off the 125th Street 1 stop in Morningside Heights. I was coming back from the interview at this hotel where I’d gotten a job as a bellhop -- which was good, because I was down to my last $200 -- listening to my iPod, feeling like I’d had my first New York triumph.
"I got off the train, and noticed this guy on the landing. And I remember thinking, it’s weird that guy’s just standing on the landing, let’s give this guy a wide berth. But as I walked past him, I had this feeling I’d bumped into somebody. I turned around, and it was the guy, standing right behind me, holding this pair of glasses, and I see one of the lenses is broken. He says, ‘Hey man, you broke my glasses.’ And I was like, ‘I’m sorry?’ And he’s like, ‘You broke my glasses. I just got these glasses fixed, so you owe me a new lens. Give me $150.’ And I said I really didn’t think I did, and also I didn’t have $150. But he kept advancing on me. At this point, we were on the street, right outside this bodega, so he tells me to go in and get $150 and bring it to him. And I was like... okay? But you can’t actually take out $150 from an ATM, so I took out $160, which meant that I now had $40 left in the world. I handed it to him, and he said, ‘Hey, thanks man!’ And then he gave me this big hug and walked away.