Barnard students conducted an experiment: They dropped 132 wallets in neighborhoods spanning the Bronx to Brooklyn, and recorded what happened. In which neighborhood were the wallets likeliest to be stolen? Why, the Upper East Side, of course!
In each nabe the students went to–which included Chelsea, Crown Heights, the Upper East Side, Harlem, City Hall and a Bronx college–the Upper East Side was the only place where the wallets were stolen twice. One student reported that a Upper East Side woman holding a bouquet of pink roses “picked up the wallet, did not look around at all, and simply kept on walking.”
Other than the Upper East Side being very shady, what’s the moral of this story? New Yorkers are good samaritans! In 82 percent of the cases, the wallet was returned; in 13 percent it was simply unseen by passers-by; in 3 percent a person tried to return it, but failed; and a lowly 2 percent of the time someone actually stole it.
So, next time you’re headed uptown on the 6 train, remember: hands in both pockets.
- John Koblin