Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Beginning of My Career as a Criminal in NYC

Back in 2005, I was on the train around midnight. I found an old newspaper on a seat. This was the Q train, and I was sitting in a forward-facing seat. So I put my foot on the side-facing seat in front of me to hold up the paper. At Cortelyou Rd, the train stops and isn't starting again. A police man comes over to my car.
him: Sir, can you come off?
me: (wondering what the heck is going on) sure, uh, why?
him: You have your feet on the seat.
me: (in disbelief) You can't have your feet on the seat?
him: Yes.

So I got off. There was also a scared-looking Spanish-speaking delinquent there. Anyhow, these two cops take our IDs, write us tickets, the whole works. It took me a while to realize they were serious. Apparently you can't take up more than one seat because it blocks other passengers from sitting down. I tried telling the cops that I wasn't blocking anyone and the train was empty, but they wouldn't listen. Then I got pissed. There are crimes happening all over the city, and the police have nothing better to do than make sure people keep their feet on the floor?

When the next train came, the policemen motioned to the driver to wait and proceeded to go from car to car and look through the windows. My fellow ticketee and I got on the train and moved on.

In the end it wasn't too bad, because I was in Oholei Torah at the time, and didn't at all mind taking a day off from seder to fight the ticket. I had given the cops my Illinois address, and had a whole list of reason to tell the judge why I didn't deserve the ticket:
1. The car was empty.
2. I had just come from Illinois the week before. (That was the truth.)
3. I didn't know that you can't put your feet up.
4. I'm really tired, so I can't remember what else I had up my sleeve, but the point is that I had a bunch of excuses, and they were all decent. I spent the days before the hearing thinking which one was the best, because you can't go to the judge with five different excuses. That doesn't sound nice.

So I finally got in front of the judge, and before I could open my mouth, he hits the record button on this old-fashioned tape recorder (they're still using those old tape recorders in 2009) and starts spewing legalese about who he is and who I am and what I'm accused of and when I allegedly did it and that the ticket cannot establish a prima facie because it doesn't say how I was blocking people so the case is dismissed. He turns off the tape recorder and invites me to leave.

I waited a little longer in the waiting room to get transcripts of the hearing and hopped back to yeshiva, where I had my fifteen minutes of fame telling everyone the story.

That was just the beginning. Since then I've gotten two more tickets while riding the MTA, one parking ticket, and I've been accused of a criminal offense which is still pending. But my other tales of crime will have to wait for another day.

Thanks Sarabonne for the idea.


  1. And DixieYid tells me something about how Rav Soloveitchik said we should respect the authorities of this coutry, since they protect us from the goyim, etc., etc.

    Sure, in relative sense (comparing to Russia), the cops here deserve respect. But in absolute sense — absolutely not, for a large part. Yeah, a lot of them fight crime, etc., etc. But they also serve [insert some libertarian propaganda here]. Plus, a lot of them are donut-eating morons.

    Btw, I have over $500 of unpaid parking tickets from the city of New Orleans, LA.

  2. And good job fighting the tyranny of the state.

  3. I got a 50 summons for being in a park at 9:05. Max penalty is 25. The judge actually made me pay the 25 dollars.

  4. I got a ticket for lying down and sleeping in a train once at 5:00 in the morning on a Teusday. ..I only lied down to avoid trouble! ..still never paid it..

  5. What do you mean, being in a park?

  6. Tell us more about your pending criminal case.

  7. If I recall correctly Rabbi Korn once slept the night on the subway after a lively farbrengan. He woke up when all the business folk were on their way to work.

  8. nemo: One of these days I'll get around to it.

    Sara: Rabbi Korn can consider himself lucky.

  9. Parks close at 9. I was sitting on a park bench at 9:05 enjoying what weather there is in NYC in february when a cop car pulls up, 2 cops walk into the park and write me up a ticket

  10. You are a horrible human being. You are lucky you weren't arrested and cavity searched in the NYC February weather. It is people like you that make the Goyim hate us.

  11. MBM, I’ve never heard of something like this even in the concentration camp of Greater Boston. (Although, to be fair, we are allowed to make a right turn on red here.)

  12. what about the time the guy attacked you with a baguette? huh?

  13. haha I never knew it was possible to get a ticket for something like that

  14. CA:You live in boston and go to Brandeis? What does a chassidishe bochur like you call the truck?
    Nemo: The city wants money and it's easier to get it out of people like me than out of people who actually do stuff. Maybe I should have mugged a little old lady. Then nothing would happen to me.

  15. MBM, huh?

    Where I am and what I do has nothing to do with who I am.

  16. Modeh B'MiktsasNovember 20, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    Huh? where did I say it did?


Forth shall ye all hold.