Thoughts on New York Castes...


As I recently bespattered from Grand Central to 56th street in the pouring rain I was struck by, among a plethora of other semi-gelatinous goobers, the spontaneous deconstruction of what I always accepted, for better or worse, as fundamental to the city--a system of New York social, financial and racial castes. Nonetheless, as I took cover within a small entranceway I found myself welcomed into an impromptu, incredibly demographically diverse caste made up of “have-nots”--have not umbrellas that is.

The small group into which I was quickly assimilated and warmly welcomed was made up of what appeared to be a wet, suited (not wetsuited) business woman, a steaming street person and a boggy, bewildered tourist. It came as no surprise, at least to me, that the most comfortable among us appeared to be my new smelly friend squatting just to my right at my feet. While we all watched the ‘haves’ trot by at full out New York pace on route, no doubt, to some gathering of dry people, our wet ragtag group commiserated and, with the passing of each umbrella, grew more congenial.

Perhaps just five minutes but in that time there existed only two castes in the city, the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’.
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