I posted last year about finding syringes in Washington Square Park. I still find them.
Wednesday, I met my dad at Penn Station as he was passing through Manhattan and had some time. The weather was warm but not too hot, so we chose to sit outside. We went to the steps of Moynihan Hall, the new train station across Eighth Avenue that used to be a post office. Here’s its exterior, thought not from Wednesday, when there was construction work between and behind the pillars.
I’ve sat there before on occasion, usually with friends passing the time. I don’t remember feeling unsafe. I don’t remember seeing remnants of people living there, behind the construction curtains. This time I did. More than people’s clothing and the small of urine, this time I also saw used syringes, in plain view in broad daylight, sitting on the steps.
They aren’t that big and could pass for a pen if I didn’t look for them. On the other hand, their bright orange caps are hard to miss and I’ve grown accustomed to seeing them at Washington Square Park and the streets around it, especially on the west side. I once picked up a used aluminum takeout container—I favor picking up metal litter when I know recycling bins are near—and as I reached for it saw a syringe in it. I’d guess someone cooked something in the aluminum. The stoop it was on was a door or two down from Babbo, which I understand is a world-class restaurant.
I saw a couple orange caps on the train station steps and thought, “there couldn’t be needles here, it’s a wide open space,” but thought to look for them anyway. And there they were.
My phone camera’s quality is low and the sun shone too brightly for me to see the screen to crop the images to get more than just the steps, but here are the syringes on the steps of the train station. I didn’t touch them.
The building has been in the news for its recent renovation. I saw the inside for the first time. I like it on its own but I see driving increasing drug use is hopelessness at improving one’s life. This nation focuses on increasing GDP but not distribution. If someone has no hope of improving his or her circumstances, giving up becomes an increasingly favorable option. A train station generally serves communities, so not a great illustration at unequal access, but there are plenty others.
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