Thursday, April 24, 2008

Steal This Laptop

I’ve noticed more and more that New Yorkers have become rather cavalier about their possessions. Parents leave $500 strollers unattended on sidewalks. Girls leave bicycles unlocked on the street. Now here’s a guy with total confidence that his iBook will never get swiped.



At the weird "MePa Plaza"—that popular little patch of exhaust-choked potted plants on the 9th Avenue median strip—I watched a guy walk away from his laptop. He disappeared for a couple of minutes. Where did he go? Then I spotted him yards away flirting and bumming a smoke from a girl on the other side of the plaza. He never once turned to check and make sure his laptop was still there.



So what is this about? A sign of low crime, a new freedom in the city? No. It's a sign of people who are clueless, who can afford not to care if their stuff gets stolen. I mean, hey, this was right in front of the Apple store--if your iBook gets swiped there, you can just buy another one. It's a chance to upgrade. No biggie, right?

P.S. The NYPD agrees this is a stupid idea, as they post flyers stating the obvious: "Never leave your pocketbooks, wallets, laptop computers unattended, even for a brief period."

28 comments:

god below said...

probably just another one of those ohio asswipes who will resort to cursing out nyc and new yorkers when and if things don't go his way (ie - a less than stellar frappuccino). i hate all of you fuckers for real. you've turned manhattan into a long island/midwest suburbia).

Anonymous said...

J, this mindlessness is sweeping the country. People leave their laptops, phones, iPods, whatever in unlocked cars. They go to the gym or Starbux only to return, and find the items have been taken. Many leave keys in the car, and they return to nothing! As always, they WHINE! Particularly if someone from the 5 o'clock news is nearby with a camera and microphone.

ShatteredMonocle said...

Get ready...you are about to be accused of supporting murder.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks for the laugh, shatteredM, i am sure you're right about that! because the only alternative to total super-gentrification is a crime-infested urban dystopia, right?

yunnniewannabe said...

A sign of low crime, a new freedom in the city? Yes. This is where NYC is heading. Most of you are trying to re-live the past and do not want to let go and simply move on or move. NYC is moving forward into a positive direction not backwards and negativedirection. How many of you are native NYers/ Most of you probably came from Ohio, Midwest, or whatever location that you guys deride, the only difference is, you guys thing you own NYC since you've been here longer?(what 10,15 years?). Well guess what, now there's a new influx of transplants and you just have to deal with it This city was built by immigrants and migrants alike. And the city that you guys are trying to save will be built somewhere else. This is simply just a start of a new era and the end of an old one.

Anonymous said...

the paranoid thief in me thinks it is a police sting. I know, I give this moron too much credit.

diehipster said...

Sigh. He probably thinks by that little sticker that says Property of Josh Johnson underneath the laptop will ensure it's safe return if stolen.

ShatteredMonocle said...

Told ya you wouldn't get through this one without one of these posts.

This is NOT romanticizing crime.

A number of things can be inferred about the personality of someone who would leave valuable items laying around unattended in a big city. It speaks volumes about who really thinks they own the place.

Oh, and "you just have to deal with it"...which may or may not include writing about it.

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah,
the Curbed crowd has arrived (Yunniewannabe) with their trademark vitirol. Apparently the state of Ohio is unpopulated, because in their paranoid universe, anyone who doesn't agree with their SATC/Friends/Trump fueled vision of NYC must have moved here from there to vex them. Or, their knowledge of geography is as limited as their other views.

kinglear'sjester said...

Who's paranoid? Apparently it's you who would not leave a laptop unattended thinking someone would steal it. Just because you are used to the old NY ways of being used and abused, using and abusing yourselves and each other, that doesn't mean that people who think otherwise are beneath you -- it just means that they treat people with respect, hence they expect to be treated as such. If the laptop were to get stolen, so what? -- he learns his lesson and the laptop is not yours anyway. I suppose he's contributing to the crime by leaving his laptop out to be stolen? I guess that would be same for the women who sunbathe in their swimsuits in parks; they're just waiting to be harassed or sexually assaulted?

You're probably this "NYer" who clutch to his or her bag when a stranger walks near them, and would not ride the elevator with a strange person (especially a person who gentrifies the city -- the very people that you claim are being pushed out). You're more insular than the people of the places that these yunnies are coming from. I'm sure at one point you were a yunnie (before there was such a term); a young urban narcissist . Except that you fed you're narcissism in other ways and that now you're older and bitter because you're being replaced by the younger generation of yunnies.

Per JM's definition of a yunnie: "we can see that these types are terrified of the unfamiliar and cling to the known. When in unfamiliar settings, separated from their soothing cellular phones and forced to stand in line with nothing to do but think, they become extremely anxious. This anxiety, an irrational fear of annihilation, sends them into a primitive, infantile rage...", and "...It makes sense that Yunnies would be attracted to the consistent and the gratifying" .

How are these different from you? Your soothing cellphones were what, E, Special K, 'shrooms? Your hippiness? Your art? Writing? Boo-hoo. Your old NY were your "consistent and the gratifying". And now you're the one "feeling the anxiety and an irrational fear of annihilation" by these "Vongerichtified"city and "Condoschmerz". Now, to you, the city is the "unfamiliar settings" thus "clinging to your own". Now that you are being separated from your "soothing neighborhood" and beloved vanishing city, you "become extremely anxious", thus paranoid and vitriolic towards those who are not of "your own" and sending you "into a primitive, infantile rage...". Now the city is changing, hence inconsistent, but not to your liking, therefore you were, or are also, a yunnie: you were "attracted to the consistent and the gratifying" of the old NY.

BaHa said...

Yunnie, just because you asked: My family's been in this city since before the Civil War. And I see a city losing its character every day. We are not going forward, we are going bland and luxe. There is a difference.
(Jeremiah, I told you no good would come of hanging around at Curbed)

yunnieyuppyhipsterwhocares said...

Baha,

Woo-hoo! -- your family has been in the city since before the civil war -- I guess they must have owned slaves too, ha? And that gives you privileges on what? -- being a snob and putting down people who wants to live in the city? New York (city) lost its character the moment the whites cheated the Native American Indians out of their land and it's always been bland and luxe since then -- those who urbanized NY then were the original yunnies (I guess that would make your family yunnies). Just because someone is happy does not make them a yunnie. So, stop blaming the nowadays yunnies for your deep hatred of your, yourself and your own family. Stop spewing out your bitterness and unhappiness to those who are or who wants to be happy. You might as well put a big wall around NYC, the way (America is putting a barrier on the Mexican border) to stop the influx of your so called undesirables. You are the true yunnie, or a wannabe, but just hate to admit it. What is is that JM blogged, yunnies cannot stand criticism; one must "...Sweet talk these kids. Don't express disappointment in them. Praise them..." Geez, sounds like you can't stand the criticism or the truth for that matter. Seems like you need to be sweet talked, and praised, and be coddled about your precious vanishing NY. And stop blaming JM (again projecting your anger towards someone else); he's doing a great job with his blog and at Curbed. Who's the sociopath and the narcissist now, Baha?

whinealluwant said...

Since JM is either too busy at his gig at Curbed, or censoring comments, here's a modified version of a previous comment that was not posted:

The Native Americans were pushed out by the Dutch. The Dutch were displaced by the British. ...so, on...And after the Civil War, NYC have been pretty much transformed by immigrants or migrants. And now yunnies are displacing you guys -- everything changes and moves forward. Just because NYC is losing its culture and being metamorphosed into a bland and luxed (at least according to Baha) city does not mean that the city is not moving forward. One person's trash is another person's treasure and vice versa. Now, really, who's whining (the guy did not even have his laptop stolen yet you accuse him of whining if his laptop were stolen?) Yet most of the comments here are nothing but whines.

AnonymoustoAnonymous said...

Hey Anonymous (April 24, 2008 2:43 PM)

How is yuppiewannabe's comments vitriolic? Don't you also mean that your knowledge of geography outside NYC is as limited as your views of those that aren't from around here, or that you who thinks that those who moves here only has SATC/Friends/Trump fueled vision of NYC. Their relocation here is the one vexing your existence. Now, who lives in the paranoid universe? And your comments aren't vitriolic? It seems like when one does not agree with you or gives you praise, you need to be coddled into a safe environment. Sounds like narcissism.

Anonymous said...

april 25 12:49

You forgot to say "go back ohio",and to blame everything on rent stabilization. you guys are slipping

Jeremiah Moss said...

the "curbed crowd," as someone here said, is shaking things up a bit. nothing like a good old-fashioned throwdown. and no, i have not been censoring comments...

thanks to the vny regulars for hanging in to kick some.

BaHa said...

Oh, Yunnie, you lack of historic knowledge is sad. My family fled the Irish famine; we were not slave owners, we fled being slaves. Working class for over two hundred years. I love myself, my family, and most of all, my city. You know what? Go to hell.

Joshua said...

Well, these kids don’t like criticism, so you have to expect these angry responses. BaHa, please tell me you could see that “snobbery” thing coming. Had you or your family arrived here more recently, the yunnie would have triumphantly declared that you therefor have no right to criticize him. As it was, since your family’s been here for many generations, the yunnie accuses you of snobbery and elitism (and a slave owner too!). Not that it makes much sense for people who routinely buy $80 flip-flops and $800 jeans to call anybody elitist, but yunnies are unique in their skill for self-serving deception. The idea, I think, is to disconcert you with whatever insult comes to mind, the better to keep the conversation away from money and social class.
One of their favorite ways of doing this, which I think should be mentioned here, is something that I guess could be called “reverse criticism”. This is a kind of intellectual somersault, whereby the yunnie takes the original complaint and reverses it so that he/she is the victim instead of the perpetrator.
For example, I once happened to be reading an article attacking gentrification in one of the newly “discovered” Brooklyn neighborhoods, possibly Williamsburg (what the yunnies call “Billyburg”). The article basically pointed out that working-class blacks and hispanics were being pushed out in favor of affluent young whites. The yunnies, of course, took offence to this, and their comments (besides the “shut up and die” variety) tended to harp on the idea that they have a right to live where they like. One of these, a classic example of yunnie logic, went as follows (edited for grammar and spelling):
“How come some white people with money don’t have as much right to live somewhere as poor black people? How would you “real New Yorkers” feel if somebody tried to keep you from living somewhere because of YOUR race?”
After I got over the shocking naivete of the mind that wrote this, it occurred to me that this was basically the original complaint, reversed so that the yunnie is the victim (of racism, “intolerance”, provincialism; something like that), and therefor possessor of the moral high ground. I found another variation of this strange logic after an article about artists being pushed out by gentrification in San Francisco, in which the yunnie asked very piously, “Why should only self-righteous artists have a right to live in the city?”. That is, the artists’ complaint in reverse. Or, more recently on this site, a Varvatos defender attempting to justify the sale of $800 jeans by insinuating that the protesters at the opening were selfish for spending $10 to make signs.
You get the idea.
So, here too, we get to see this thought process first hand. For attacking luxury-oriented homogenization, it is we who are apparently “insular”, even snobbish, as opposed to the generous and tolerant yunnie. Presumably, if you take the logic further, one could infer that, until the arrival of the illustrious yunnie, New York was an entirely homogenized place (like suburban Ohio or something). The yunnie, then, brought us diversity, which is what makes us so mad, we being bigoted and small-minded.
Silly stuff really, particularly in the face of all we have seen these past eight years or so living under the Gentrification juggernaut, to convince us that they’re just another form of innocent immigration (albeit one where everyone looks alike and no one is over 35), and urban life will be the better for their massed presence. Those excuses don’t hold up as well as they did back in 2001. But like I said–they hate criticism.

(P.S. Hey BaHa, how much you want to bet that "yunnie/yuppie/hipster" was a history major at Yale?)

Wonderful article as always, Jerry!

Bob said...

This goes to show how detached from reality these narcissistic bastards are. Leaving an expensive laptop unattended in public defies common sense to the point of absurdity. It's a sad testament to the mindset of our city's elite when being mindful of one's possessions is derided as nostalgia for criminality and chaos. The arrogance and hubris of these people never fails to amaze me. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together wouldn't be so cavalier with their valuables in ANY public setting in ANY community. More power to them, though. If they want to leave free early Christmas presents for some thiefs lying about then they'll eventually have to learn the hard way.

Joshua said...

May I also suggest that any thief who picks it up could hock it and put the money towards their 300% rent increases.

BaHa said...

Joshua, thanks, just thanks. Your call is perfect; I really don't have more to say than that--except that I, as you did, found the slave ownership idea offensive. The idea that the Italians, the Jews, the Micks (mine own, who suffered under NINA [No Irish Need Apply]) were slave holders!
And yes, Josh, I'll agree dollars to doughnuts that yunnie/yuppie's education was as you called it. He/she sure as shit wasn't an English major! Thanks again for getting my back.

Jeremiah Moss said...

yes, i am now not approving all comments. in particular, those that aim to keep the contentious Curbed/VNY smackdown alive. my prerogative as blogmaster, or whatever i am. so, if you sent in a comment and you don't see it here, that's probably what happened to it. thanks for taking the time, but it's time to move on.

BaHa said...

Jeremiah, God bless you, goddammit, as Ross of the New Yorker used to say.

Anonymous said...

J, this mindless behavior seems to be spreading. I now live in another city. People leave laptops, cell phones, etc. in unlocked cars, then head to the gym or Star$. When they return, they are shocked to find these items gone. Some even leave their keys in the cars. They return to find the cars gone.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am one of those people who holds my bag closed and close to my body on the subway. I also don't put my feet on bus seats, I don't lean on a subway pole during rush hour, if I have a backpack on public transportation I take it off my back and put it at my feet, and I exit a bus via the rear. These are COMMON SENSE things that make living in this city bearable for *everyone*.

I am also thankful that I can take an elevator in the subway in 2009 without being lectured by my friends or parents for being stupid. I am glad crime is down. I am glad the city is safer.

But leaving a $3000 laptop out in public is JUST STUPID. The police, with all of their crime statistics about how much safer the city is, will have told him that what he did was ILL ADVISED.

So, sure. You can walk from the J train to Kent Ave. with your iPod headphones on at 4 in the morning and then cry when you get mugged. You can take out $200 from an ATM at a bodega in a neighborhood you don't know without paying attention to who's around you, who's watching you, and who walks behind you when you leave. You can fall asleep on the subway with your purse sprawled open on the seat next to you at 1am - go ahead, knock yourself out.

But don't complain when your carelessness and arrogance makes you an attractive crime target.

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah's snarky humor is—as weapons of choice go—a deft and admirable instrument of change. That it invites such inexplicable vitriol from both "sides" (in varying amounts) is regrettable. I think we'd do well to drop cartoonish generalizations of "us" and "them" and remember that there exists a whole spectrum of transplants, natives, tourists, suburbanites, visiting workers, and others occupying our city.

Some are certainly clueless, overcompensated Ohioans who are out to evict all character from the city—except, of course, that which is provided by free samples from frozen yogurt establishments. Just as surely, and in direct opposition, there is a menagerie of curmudgeonly and covetous holdouts who pray for nothing less than a violent crime wave and a complete cessation of waste management and other city services.

But in the vast middle are regular people, flawed people, perhaps shaped a bit by the times we live in, or perhaps a bit bitter about everything having been shaped. My advice: Stop labeling them. Stop thinking there are so many of them, or that you know how they think. Stop assuming they're all like those assholes on the Internet. Mock the extremes if you want—that's part of what Jeremiah does here, with great skill. But I'm afraid that most of what we're doing is villainizing when we should be engaging.

Tree said...

In defense of Ohio, since I am vaguely from Ohio, many (white, upper middle class) people born in New York are as likely to buy into super-gentrification as anyone else.

laura said...

the reason why people leave $3000 laptops unattended? they can replace it easily. no need to desect it. its a no brainer. it doesnt affect you, so who cares? some of these people are naive, as well as rich.