Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dangerous New York

This is rather ironic, just when I shared my fascination with the Central Park a few days ago, last night I had one of the most horrible experiences there.

Every day I walk home from work, and since the park is on the way, I love walking through it. It's really an almost every day routine for me, no matter what time it is as it's always beautiful and relaxing after a hectic day.

Last night was no different, I left the office after 7pm and was in the park around 8pm, just when the dusk was setting in. When I turned off the stone bridge over the pond (pic 1), and entered a secluded path (pic 2) leading to the west side of the park, a sharp sense of alert struck me. I noticed a shadow behind me getting bigger and I realized that I was being followed. In panic, I started praying for people to be right behind the bushes a few steps away. As the shadow was getting closer to me and I made a turn behind the bushes, I was relieved to find a couple sitting on the bench and the other one walking towards me. The follower slowed down and I got a few moments to gather my breath and collect my thoughts.

I was fully aware that I was being followed so I proceeded to move to the side of the park where people jog and ride bicycles. And although I walked right on the road, where pedestrians were not allowed, I felt him following behind me. A few times I would slow down and look at my phone and I would notice him slowing down too. As I would start pacing he'd be right behind me. Something told me not to look at him and not let him know that I was aware of his presence.

Once I exited the park, and entered the crowded street of West Broadway, I was hoping he'd left. But when I slowed down and looked at my phone, I realized he was still there. I was freaking out. Not willing to walk home, and let him see where I lived, I needed to somehow scare him to leave me alone. I didn't want to attract anyone's attention, so I stopped at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and pretended that I was reading the posters. Thank God, there were people around. He wasn't sure what to do, and then I clearly saw him. He nervously moved to the side, and once I dialed my phone and started looking around as if I was waiting for someone, he ran away.

That was the 2nd time I was being followed in the city, the 1st time being on the subway in the middle of the day. The scariest part is that it happened in areas that are perceived to be some of the safest places in NY, and with people around. It makes it so much more creepy, knowing that it could happen anywhere at any time.

Word of advice: be vigilant at all times. As any big city in the world, NY has bad and good that needs to be paid attention to.

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