“Excuse me folks, I don’t mean no harm, I’m just trying to not be broke. Can anyone spare some change? I don’t wanna be broke” The Subway drifter asked
“I’m trying not to be broke my dang self” An assortment of New Yorkers responded
“I’m broke too, I’m technically unemployed” I said to Don
Exchanges like these are very common on the subway. Someone will get on for one stop, ask for some change in a variety of ways , and then get off when the subway stops. I assume they do this every time a train comes. While these encounters make me feel uncomfortable, I don’t feel unsafe. None of the vagrants I have encountered have been aggressive or threatening. My favorite subway encounter has been the mariachi band that played their hearts out for 3 minutes, then got off at the stop.
I can understand though, NYC is tremendously expensive. If I was working a minimum wage job, I would need to find creative ways to conjure up some money too. I was reading an article that was talking about how much you needed to make in certain areas on the country in order to live there. The article shows that in New York State you would need to make $30.03 an hour to afford a 2-bedroom rental. To put that into perspective if you were making the minimum wage in New York State which is $11.10 you would need to work 115 hours a week to afford the two-bedroom. There are 168 hours in a week. Subtracting the hours worked, that leaves you with 7.5 hours a day a free time. That leaves no time to have a life. To live in NYC in our zip code, 10024, you need to make $47.12 an hour. This is why the minimum wage here is $15, which is why buying things here is also so expensive. click here and here to read the articles
I have not had any encounters on the bus, yet. I enjoy ridding the bus more and more every day. You get to see all of the city, whereas on the subway you are just staring into darkness. There are regular busses and +select busses. The +select busses were started to improve the reliability and speed on its busiest stops. The process is achieved by paying for the bus at an electronic kiosk before the bus arrives. It will give you a receipt and when the bus comes you just walk on. You can tell who is a newcomer to NYC by them trying to slide their metro card at the entrance on the bus. We fell victim to that several times. Luckily, the bus driver waited on us while we payed outside at the kiosk.
We had to take two +select busses to get to the Costco in Harlem. Manhattan residents here seem to go to the grocery store every few days. It’s very time consuming considering there are at least 60 people in line, at any given time, at Trader Joes. Trader Joes has the best prices we have found. We tried to save time and go to a local grocery store but it was very expensive! A pint of ice cream was 9$. So we got a Costco membership and headed there. The trip only took about 45 minuets and a half mile of walking. We bought tons of grocery’s but mostly meat that we could freeze. We also had to buy a cart so we could get everything home. Getting on the two busses and being in the way was the hardest part about the trip back. I think next time we will take an Uber home so we don’t get hateful looks from the bus riders. Overall, this will be our main shopping place other than the occasional trip to Trader Joes.
We mostly only eat out on the weekends, but it’s hard because we found a restaurant with the best ramen my taste buds have ever met!
Finally, Don has almost adjusted to his tiny kitchen.