I'm surrounded by Hasids. And I couldn't be happier.
Let me clarify.
I'm living in a neighborhood full of Hasids, and I couldn't be happier.
For those of you who don't know what Hasids are, they are orthodox jews. Their collective group moniker translates roughly into "righteous", and they follow a strict doctrine of behavior so that they may place themselves in favor of the big glowy man in the sky.
Let me zoom out a little further.
For the length of last year I was living in a neighborhood of Brooklyn stammeringly named Bedford-Stuyvesant. I'd call the name a little odd, but its an hour or so's train ride away from another neighborhood tastefully named Flushing.
The Bed-Stuy is a shitty fucking neighborhood.
Its dirty, its noisy, its serviced by one of the most infamously terrible trains in the five boroughs, and its full of crime. The only reason I even lived there was because its bloody cheap.
I could say I was too busy being all doe-eyed at living in New York City for the first time to notice, but as it turns out, I continued not noticed for nine months straight.
That all came to a gloriously reality-checking halt when I walked out of my room one late night/early morning to find a guy I've never seen before standing in my hallway.
The little shitstain had already taken almost 600 dollars worth of stuff and passed it out the window that he came in to his friends.
The police arrived in the nick of time, fifteen minutes after the man had lost all of his nerve seeing me and taken off down the street.
The next month and a half after that before I moved out was a whirl of paranoia, wild parties, late nights and missed plane tickets, half fueled by my recent escapades into the business end of petty crime and half fueled by the imminent end of summer.
At that point, we installed bars on the windows and kept everything under lock and key. It wouldn't have been quite so bad if the same nuts hadn't attempted to break in two or three more times after that. How did I know? They left their greasy handprints on the window from trying to shove them up from the outside.
So Bed Stuy was a little late to the welcoming party. Nine months late, in fact. But the Hello Crew came in and did their job, and as a result, I moved. Sometime in the swirl that was the last month I pulled a place out of the ground in South Brooklyn, helped my roommate clean up the old place the best we could, then got the hell out of dodge.
My new neighborhood is fantastic, in every safe sense of that word. And not safe as in conservative, but safe as in safe. Its a family neighborhood. There's a jewish school across the street, and Bramsonort College a handful of blocks down 20th.
As a result, the place is also kind of boring, in terms of social scene. As in, there is none, unless you count going to a 24 Hour Grocery being social.
But its safe. After a few months of tearing my hair out, and going to sleep uncertain of whether I'd find the window broken when I woke up, I can rest easy.
Its Shabbas, and a few Hasids just walked down the street.
I'm freaking surrounded by them in this neighborhood.
And I couldn't be happier.