Like many of the folks over at NY Mag (and, I suspect, most New York City residents), I also wildly fear being pushed onto the subway tracks, being murdered in the back of a cab, being doored by a parked car, and finding rats in my cupboards. It has also crossed my mind that I may be smooshed by a falling air conditioner unit, because no one installs those things properly. And, what do you know, that happened:
There were no brackets on the unit that plummeted from the sixth floor of 65 Second Avenue yesterday. It fell from the window of Bruce Fuller’s apartment and, after smashing through the awning of WineBar, landed on the head of 67-year-old Vietnam vet Anthony Franzese. But there is a silver lining to this tale: Franzese did not die, and in fact, was found only to have minor injuries after being taken to Bellevue Hospital. And since he and Fuller, the AC unit’s owner, are friends, Fuller is taking care of Franzese’s Shih Tzu while he is incapacitated.
I was particularly afraid of the AC-on-the-head thing when I lived in the East Village — my apartment was across the street from Wine Bar, actually — and I knew that half the neighborhood was young kids like me who were generally inept at anything involving tools or physical labor, and lived in tenement buildings owned by absentee landlorders and maintained by generally stoned or otherwise not-the-sharpest supers. My own super (who was both regularly stoned and not the sharpest) installed our showerhead upside down and could not for the life of him figure out a Plan B when I pointed out this mishap (I ended up duct taping a hand-held shower head to the upside-down holder, and showered like that for a year before finally just buying and installing a new fixture myself). Anyway, point being, I suspect that most AC units in those old East Village buildings are installed by total yahoos who stick them in the window and hope that they stay put. I know mine sure was. So I always avoided walking too close to the walls of those buildings in the summer time (also because AC units are drippy, and I’m kind of convinced that the drips are pure freon and are going to burn my skin off or at least give me cancer).
It’s pretty terrifying to realize that my fear of getting Wile E. Coyote’ed by an air conditioner came true for someone. And at a bar that I once went to, even though it’s a terrible bar with terrible over-priced wine and douchey clientele (I was being passive-aggressive towards a then-boyfriend who I knew would hate it. I probably deserved to get smashed by a falling AC unit for that!). And yes, I am aware that I am doing the thing where something bad happens somewhere and some annoying person goes, “Oh my God, I was there once!” as if that puts them in Very Close Proximity To Tragedy — see, e.g., “I once went to the World Trade Center!”
Regardless, I will never walk or sit under an air conditioner again.
My other big-city fears: Falling through those metal doors on the street that lead to restaurant basements (which never seem to be securely closed); falling through the sidewalk grates; being killed by an exploding manhole; being killed by scaffolding; being killed by someone who is hiding out within an elaborate maze of scaffolding and blue-painted wood walls; being killed by a falling window-washer or a window-washer’s supplies; being killed by someone who breaks into my apartment; bedbugs; having a rat run over my feet while I’m waiting for the subway; contracting some sort of horrific disease from touching the subway poles; being attacked by pigeons; and contracting some sort of horrific disease from being attacked by pigeons.
I cannot be the only one. What do you irrationally fear about where you live?
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