Spring has arrived. Good bye clothes. Hello coffee shops, wifi, laptops, Nantucket Reds, puppy windows, iced lattes, gas, open windows, open hearts. Until you return home to Bushwick and realize you've been burglarized. A Public Service Announcement.
On Friday night, Ana and I came home to find the door to our apartment in Bushwick wide open. We entered with caution. The TV was still there! So was the printer. So were our lavender plants. "Great," I thought, "they didn't steal anything." Then we noticed all three of our computers were gone—a week old MacBook Pro (Just a puppy!); a worn out and weary MacBook Pro (no F8 key), and a mutilated MacBook from my youth (lots of horrendous essays on that one.) And I realized what those young college kids hanging out at the Archive in a cigarette-and-wifi haze probably haven't realized and what the happy scrawny calved whites of the West Village have forgotten: New York is still a fucking dangerous city.
It's a simple fact often and conveniently forgotten. We live off the Morgan Avenue L stop, in a neighborhood ridiculously dubbed "Morgantown." But it's Bushwick. The reason to live here is so we can afford an apartment large enough it isn't possible to touch every wall simultaneously without moving and still have at least some income to do the things that make New York City fun. Things like, you know, eating at Diner or walking over the bridge to the West Village and tapping at puppies in windows until they spasm from excitement and pass out in a mass of shredded paper and pee. (That last one's free!) But it's easy to be deluded—or at least made an amnesiac—by the sidewalk cafes, cookie shops and notions stores of bourgeoise Manhattan. No matter how nice the West Village is, Bushwick isn't safe. It's not a village. It's not a town. It's home but it is no safe haven.
No season sees more of an uptick in larceny and burglary than the summer. Bikes come out of their hibernation to be promptly snatched off in the night. WIndows are left open. Premises are entered. From their wintry den, sobering sinister potentialities become realized. The cops who came to fingerprint our house—what's up, 90th precinct! you guys are very nice—gave us some advice how to prevent further break-ins. "Move," they said. Failing that, here are a few pointers:
1) Double bolt your door. For the love of God. It's a simple twist, a Simple Twist of Fate.
2) Bug your landlord to install cameras in the hallways. Remember, these are tough times for landlords too. If they want to keep their tenants happy, they'll want to keep them safe.
3.) Be that asshole in your building to writes a note saying, "PLEASE MAKE SURE FRONT DOORS ARE CLOSED AND LOCKED."
4.) Don't live across the street from a crack house.
5.) If your landlord is giving you shit about security or installing proper locks, remind him of the clause in most leases that states the landlord is responsible for damages and stolen property due to his negligence in providing a secure living space. This includes doors that do not lock properly and failing to maintain secure entrances.
6.) Buy Renter's Insurance.
7.) Move to Assateague Island. The only thing there is sand and ponies.