The Corner


A True Elevator Story

New Yorkers are known for their rudeness even when the intent is progressive compassion. This morning when heading for a press-courtesy movie screening, I entered a Midtown office building elevator, following behind a short Latino-looking couple. The man pressed a floor button different from mine and as the door closed, a film-reviewing colleague for a local weekly paper slid in quickly. He just as quickly looked at the brown-skinned couple and loudly offered “Good Morning! Good Morning!” at a pitch that presumed they were both illiterate and deaf. His repetition demanded that the couple acknowledge his concern. As the elevator car rose with noticeable motion, the white male reviewer’s voice rose with it. “We Have Your Back!” he said. “New Yorkers Have Your Back!”

The couple moved closer together and never spoke. Their faces expressed puzzlement but I could not read their minds. The greeter’s thoughts might be easier to determine based on how aggressively he proclaimed his political sentiments to a pair of total strangers at the beginning of the business day. Indeed, his Sanctuary City politics seemed intended for all to hear like it or not, just the way some movie stars offer their unsolicited political opinions. When the door opened on my chosen floor, I rushed into the screening room, hoping for a less offensive example of the film-culture liberalism that extends even to wildly partisan reviewers. Still, I wondered what that bewildered couple felt about being reduced to a political cliché in Sanctimony City. Maybe they thought: “El gringo loco!”

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