One cold spring night, the promise of summer held back as if in spite, I emerged from a subway station on the edge of Williamsburg, on my way to meet a friend for dinner. I noticed an Orthodox Jew in characteristic all-black attire and shtreimel walking swiftly toward me. I assumed that he found me suspicious — a not-rare-enough reaction to the mundane fact of my having black skin — and so was advancing threateningly to ward off the threat I was presumed to be. I began to move away from him, but not too quickly, lest I appear all the more guilty. He altered course to intercept me, like a bullet that wouldn’t be denied its target. I zigged, hoping that a quick veer would get me away from him, but somehow he managed to close the distance between us. He didn’t walk so much as glide. Perhaps the man was a ninja and I had scanned him wrong. I stopped and flinched, thinking, Not the face, please, but he leaned in and, with gentle insistence, asked, “Would you like to do a good deed?” There was an undertone of challenge to the question, and also an irresistible strain of pleading. I answered yes, and he made a sharp turn and said, “Follow me.”
How To Walk Around The World Without Leaving New York, by Garnette Cadogan. Read on.