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Thursday, March 13, 2008

My First Run-In with the NYPD

East 42nd Street
Photo by myself in front of Grand Central on East 42nd Street.

Cabs, buses, hurried office workers and sauntering tourists make this a busy area. The raised, bridge-like structure of Pershing Square is out of frame to the left. Its steel rivets are mirrored by the canopy at Grand Central. The glamorous lighting and details draw me here.

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I went back to my old office today to wrap up some last minute things. I dealt with billing issues, passing off my projects and cleaning my desk. I tried getting in and out as quickly as possible, but it took a few hours.

I wound up carting off a couple big bags of stuff: old drawings, business cards, books, shoes. I was surprised I could carry it all.

Here's where the story gets interesting. I was stopped for my very first time at the subway station and searched by the NYPD!! (This beats all racial profiling speculations because I am female and I do not look Middle Eastern).

'Ma'am, can you come over here? This officer needs to look through your bags.'

I was hailed to the side, where a tallish dark-haired policeman gestured for me to put my bags on the table.

'Can you open the bags Ma'am, so I can see inside?' he said.

'Oh sure,' I said. 'I just left my job, by the way. I'm just bringing some stuff home.'

'Oh yeah? You start your new job yet?'

'No, next week.'

'Better pay?'

'Yeah sure, a little.' I felt embarrassed.

'That's wonderful. I'm happy for you,' he said. 'You have a good day, now!'

I was tickled pink by the boys in blue.

Related posts: Bridge and Tunnel

20 comments:

Nikon said...

I love B&W - & this is a great shot. I was in Red Hook about 20 years ago when it was a run down, on the fringe ( & on the river), gritty place. I loved it!!
Now it's turning into another yuppieville.
(I love your avatar!)

Kim said...

That's a lovely corner shot, very effective in B&W. Random searches at the subway, this is our America. Wonderful story!
-Kim
Seattle Daily Photo

Kitty said...

Welcome Nikon!
I can't imagine Red Hook 20 years ago, never mind Manhattan. It must've been a war zone.
There are some tiny houses there are very bumpy cobblestone streets that are so quirky. When the weather gets better, I'll have to show you those.

Welcome Kim!
It's nice to know the boys in blue are doin' their jobs.

Love your photos and your blog!

Kizz said...

Wow. I would have bet my bottom dollar that I could walk into the subway carrying a black gym bag with pipe bomb parts sticking out of it and the NYPD wouldn't search me. You have defied the expectation, how cool!

Kitty said...

How funny, Kizz?
These guys are actually aware of their surroundings and they do stop people, even though they look like they're standing around chit chatting.

Spandrel Studios said...

Hey, at least the police kept things light and upbeat - and how nice to send you off with such positive wishes!

Tammy said...

I was waiting for you to say they cuffed and frisked you. It's good to know that they are so nice. :o)

Kizz said...

No, I knew that they were actually stopping people and looking in bags I just assumed they were profiling and in a very narrow way, too. I've only ever seen them search similar sorts of people, people who I don't think are like you at all. It's nice to know I'm wrong.

Murphy_jay said...

Kitty, why did they search you? Is it common that they will stop anybody and search their bags?

Nice photos. Love the B&W ones.

Feinsodville said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ha Ha Sound said...

I haven't had that happen to me yet, but everybody I know who's been stopped and searched says that it's usually over and done with pretty quickly. Glad you didn't have a tough time of things. I see those guys every once in a while in the Astor Place subway station.

Oh, and BTW, feel free to link away. =+)

Kitty said...

I was shocked, Spandrel! It was comical how overly polite the guy was.

Tammy, I have seen people cuffed and worse! but this one was gentle with me, lol.

Murphy Jay, they stop people who look 'suspicious' and they conduct 'random' searches. As Kizz says, most people feel the NYPD has been profiling certain ethnic types.

Kizz, Spitzer may fall, but at least we know we can have faith in the police. (I'm 1/2 joking)

Ha Ha, the cops lurk in very specific stations. Union Square, 72nd and Broadway, Grand Central. I guess the ones with more foot traffic? But I've seen them in Greenpoint, too!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

I carry a backpack most days as I run to the gym from work, so I'm always anticipating this happening to me, but so far I've been lucky.

I love this photo. I like the way you've caught the flags fluttering.

Kitty said...

Thank you, dear Fish!

May you encounter an overly friendly cop if you're stopped in the future!

Fredrik said...

Lovely picture and a cute story!

Kitty said...

Hello Fredrik and thank you!

Mama Mayborne... said...

Great story. Glad you gathered all your stuff from the old office. I used to work in HR and when one girl was terminated she forgot to take her voodoo doll (and all the pins stuck in its eyes). Creeped me out for days!!

Kitty said...

holy cow, Mama.
It's a good thing that woman left, then. Yikes!
I've approached the voodoo doll stage a couple times but never actually made one.

Ming the Merciless said...

The one time I was stopped by the Boys in Blue at the subway station was the day I had a canvas bag of brownies, cupcakes and cookies for a bake sale I was organizing at work. I also had a serrated knife in there. I'm Chinese so I wasn't really racially PROFILED!

The cop who inspected my bag chuckled when he saw what I had.

He said, "Bake sale?"

I said, "Yeap! Wanna cookie?"

He said, "Nah! Thanks anyway!"

I said, "No, THANK YOU!"

For all he knew, I could have been a serrated knife wielding on a stabbing mission.

Kitty said...

Ming, how funny!!
With all the stories about policemen and donuts, I'm surprised he held back. There's nothing like homemade cookies!