Do you know that scene in Hitchcock’s The Birds where Tippi Hedren is waiting for school to let out and slowly, slowly around her land thousands of birds? No? Well get right on that. Anyway, a similar thing happened to me recently only it was with cop cars. Yes, there I was in beautiful Columbus Circle when suddenly what seemed like every police vehicle in Manhattan and perhaps some other boroughs descended upon me as though the world’s largest donut shop were opening. I could not figure it out.
While I stood, agape, taking pictures like my camera was on fire (wait, no, I’d just drop it then, wouldn’t I – well you get the idea) several people came up to me as though I might know what was going on, simply by virtue of the fact that I was taking pictures of it. One woman told me in a grave voice that she was sure it was something dire. She said, “and you know where I’m from so I know about these things.” Huh? Have we met before? I mean, she had a sort of African accent but there are a lot of countries in Africa, or so they tell me. But she did point out to me, way on the top of the Time Warner tower, a small object. She was convinced it was a sniper. After she walked away, no doubt to polish her tinfoil hat, I zoomed in on it. It was a camera. Well, duh, it’s CNN’s building. No shocker there. (click to enlarge)
So I asked one of New York’s Finest. He said “training.” They train by calling a hundred police cars to a shopping mall? “Is it for terrorism?” I asked. “No!” he barked back at me. Well, gee, don’t be so touchy, officer. It’s not like I was about to speed-dial Osama and give him the 411.
By the time I was down in the subway entrance I realized I had forgotten to ask the most important question. Um, who’s watching my neighborhood?