There’s been a lot of flack lately about an article in the Haverford College Alumni Magazine that disparaged the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn and its large Polish-American Community. The P.C. Police have already come to the rescue to take the article off Haverford’s web site, but this controversy begs the question: who the hell goes to Haverford College and where the hell is it?
But it also begs the question: how far off was he? I will not pass judgement, because I am embarassed when people reinforce stereotypes, but I want to share this story from my days living in Greenpoint:
One Saturday afternoon, my roommate and I were walking down Manhattan Avenue to grab some lunch at the Triple Decker Diner. Two middle-aged blonde women were walking in front of us, obviously speaking in Polish. They stopped to turn into one of the two thousand 99-cent stores that line Manhattan Avenue.
The 99-cent store had double glass doors at the front. One of the women grabbed the long handle of the door to pull. The door did not budge. She tugged again, and the door would not move. Not willing to give up so easily, the two women moved to the other door. The other woman grabbed that door’s handle and started to pull. That door wouldn’t budge, either, so she pulled again. At this point, it was clear they were annoyed. Frustrated, the two women assume the store must be closed, so they walk away and continue down Manhattan Avenue.
As we passed by the doors of the store, I noticed two signs. Inside the first door the women tried to open was a white, handwritten sign: “PLEASE USE OTHER DOOR.” Right next to the handle of the second door was another sign: “PUSH.”
I was in complete disbelief. I turned to my roommate and asked, “did you just see what I just saw?”
“Yes,” he replied, “yes I did.”