Commentary &Photos 27 Nov 2011 04:41 am

Mean Benches – repost

- Has anyone else noted that the world has gotten meaner? Just watch one of the Republican debates for proof positive of that. Or take a look at what’s happening to the protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Pepper spray anyone?

Remember the comic strip Pete the Tramp by C.D. Russell? no, it’s probably before your time. Pete was a tramp who stole pies from windows and got in trouble with the law. He was the typical hobo in comic strip form, and the strip started during the depression and lasted through 1963. I read it in color in Saturday’s NY Journal American.

Pete usually slept on park benches under newspapers and got his feet slapped by the cop. I noticed park benches this week and wanted to call attention to the way our society has handled tramps, hoboes, homeless people. In New York, they’ve made them uncomfortable.

This is the park bench I noticed.

It’s a bench in Madison Square Park, and I noticed it because it’s become a relic of the past. A person could actually sleep on it.

This is the newer model. The only way you could sleep on it is if you only had a torso. They’ve put dividers there, so it makes it handy to sit and not touch the person next to you, but you couldn’t really lie down on it.

See. There are lots of these now. Madison Square Park is made of mostly these benches, but there are still a couple of the old kind.

The new little park down on Bleecker and 6th Avenue only has this type of bench.
No vagrants wanted here.

Even the old, tiny private park on Bleecker has these newer benches. (I did see someone sleeping on them, but I couldn’t get close enough to photograph the way he mangled his body to get some sleep.)

A building up on 28th and Madison made sure no one could sleep on their public seating area.

Subway benches have also become completely inhospitable.

This type bench has very tight dividers. Wearing winter garb, one hardly fits into the space. However, these benches aren’t quite so bad in that the dividers aren’t mercilessly high.

Look at these uncomfortable things at West 4th Street. (Plenty of homeless used to be downtown.)

You could hurt your back trying to sleep here. Though, I have seen some people stretched out over these partitions. That’s how desperate it gets in the winter cold.

It’s not too much better on the subway. The seats are lumpy – shaped for the bum (I don’t mean vagrant-like bum) in bright colors. It’s a tight squeeze.

The few longer seats are “Priority seating.” This means bums have to get up for older people. I’m not sure what it means if the bum is an older person.

__________(Click any image to enlarge.)


This is a repost from January 2008. The world has gotten even meaner since then.

4 Responses to “Mean Benches – repost”

  1. on 27 Nov 2011 at 4:07 pm 1.Moll said …

    So true. Mean is all the rage. Such an ugly currency. Judgement. Greed. Avarice. Conceit. Misogyny. Arrogance. Abuse of Power. Fear. Ignorance. It’s so much more exhausting to be mean than to be kind, compassionate and empathetic. We need art and smart more than ever.

  2. on 27 Nov 2011 at 4:45 pm 2.Mark Sonntag said …

    Here in Australia they call the kids born in the 80s and on the “me” generation. No manners and no respect for the law. Of course that’s a generalization, but alcohol fueled violence is, abusing police and frequent acts of violence against the elderly is the norm on evening news now.

  3. on 27 Nov 2011 at 8:27 pm 3.Floyd Norman said …

    My parents and grandparents often told stories of the 1930′s depression. How they sometimes fed people in need and helped out whenever they could.

    Today, our world is lot meaner, and I doubt we’d see any kindness today. Poor people are demonized for being poor and we just want them to go away. It’s all a very sad commentary on what we’ve become.

  4. on 27 Nov 2011 at 10:16 pm 4.Carla Veldman said …

    Wow. I hadn’t noticed this before but now that you mention it, there definitely do seem to be more uncomfortable bench designs cropping up; the manner in which a society handles the down-and-out (and to the extent of its public seating designs) is very telling. My question is, where are the homeless sleeping now?

Trackback This Post | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

eXTReMe Tracker
click for free hit counter

hit counter