New York Stories: Elliot Aronow shares a New York memory
Guest blogger Elliot Aronow remembers a teenage foray into New York City gone awry in the mid-'90s.
Thu Aug 1 2013
Welcome to "New York Stories," in which some of our favorite New Yorkers tell a story—funny, heartwarming, sad, whatever—about this great city. This week, Elliot Aronow remembers the time he tried to buy weed as a teen.
It was 1996 or so, and I was still living in New Jersey with my parents. We took the PATH into the city for the afternoon. We thought we were cool skater dudes that listened to rap music, totally wearing all the wrong clothes, like purple cutoff pants and Hook Ups T-shirts and the wackest stuff. We were going to go to Washington Square Park and skate for a bit and maybe buy some grass—we're 15 or 16 at this point. There are four of us. This is the mid-'90s, so you could sort of just buy drugs on the street. We run up to this guy, he looked kind of cool so we figured he would appreciate us or be down. The guy's like, "Aight, how many y'all want?" We're like, "20 bucks each." He's like, "I don't have that much with me, so why don't you guys come with me?"
We have no fucking clue how to get around New York. We walked everywhere from the PATH stop because we didn't really know how to use the subway. We wind up walking for half an hour. My father always said, when you go into the city, don't go past Second Avenue, because you really don't know what you're getting into. We cross Second, we cross First—we were on fucking 7th Street between Avenues C and D. We're all trying not to be fazed at all and having fake conversations with each other, being from the suburbs.
Finally we get up this dude's tenement or whatever, and he says, "You all wait here." Everyone's going into their pockets to take their crumpled $20 bill, and the dude straight-up shows us a knife, and is like, "Why don't you all give me your money and get back to your fucking Game Boys right now!" Our jaws just dropped. He was like, "I know you guys are a bunch of nice little kids, but y'all need to give me this money and get the fuck out of here."
We were so afraid, we just dumped out our entire wallets. I guess there were ATMs then; I don't even remember how we had money to get home. We basically took out our wallets and bolted as soon as we could back to the West Village, a neighborhood we vaguely understood.
Elliot Aronow is the founder of the recently launched men's lifestyle website and online store World of #jacques.
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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)