I stepped onto the uptown number 6 train this morning at Union Square. It smelled as if someone had, last week, stitched shut the anus and penis of a male goat or pig or moose, preventing him from urinating or evacuating his bowels, and then, this morning, removed the stitches, right there on the uptown local, with achingly predictable results.
A homeless woman sat at my end of the subway car. What she'd done was, she'd urinated up and down the length of the car, and then sat down. She had a contented look on her face. A satisfied look, with a touch of, "yeah, you cocksuckers, I just pissed all over my fucking self and the fucking subway; deal with it" look. At 23rd Street, transit cops boarded the car and removed her from it as she screamed unintelligible things at them and/or the world in the voice of a very angry bobcat.
I am tired of people who complain that New York lacks the "grit" it used to have, as if this former grit lent the city some sort of "authenticity" which it now lacks. It's true that smashed windshield glass on the sidewalk and crack whores on Park Avenue South and gunpoint hold-ups in Times Square are a thing of the past (and perhaps of the future, but not of the present); some people would argue that these are positive developments. But for better or for worse, and even here in reportedly "sanitized" Manhattan, we still have plenty of "authenticity."