Monday, February 2, 2009

Party in the hood. But which hood?

It’s Friday night, and 20-something’s call their delivery service that arrives as sure as Domino’s and choose their $50’s from a virtual spice rack of designer weed. It’s the weekend, so sensible amounts of cocaine are purchased, with actual real cocaine right in it. Drug dealers in expensive zip codes look just like you, have pride in their product, and wouldn’t dream of diluting their brand with substandard merchandise. They may even hang around for a round or two of Guitar Hero.

Meanwhile, uptown in the Bronx, people are partying, too. PCP is a street corner away, and it’s all the rage. PCP is not a ‘70’s thing - it’s showing up on street corners and on arrest sheets in urban areas everywhere. A guy I know, a cop who’s unfortunate enough to work above 168 street, complained of a violent headache from PCP fumes from a drug arrest he’d just made. A debilitating drug, the fumes are nauseating and toxic. But for some in the Bronx, it’s just another party. Do they gather around flaming oil drums, just like on TV, as sure as high white youths from good homes gather around their Wii’s?

Plainclothes cops don’t customarily ride through the streets of Williamsburg hunting hipsters in skinny jeans, oversized sunglasses and hydro-scented Brooklyn Industries bags. Is NYPD’s focus on drug activity uptown based on the fact that it’s simply not very pretty? That user’s drug infused grins reveal dental armageddon, not Park Avenue enhanced pearly whites? Yes, PCP is inherently repugnant, closer to the eye of the storm of drug wars and organized crime violence, and is rarely consumed before a cultural stroll through the Met. But at the end of the day is a party just a party?

If the consumption of crack or PCP goes without violent incident, is the arrest an arrest, or a societal value judgment? And what lasting value to society does it provide? Prison time rarely rehabilitates drug addicts. It usually just provides them with better contacts. Arrests, incarceration and court appointed attorneys are exorbitantly costly, money that might be better spent on government funded social programs that may bring about meaningful change in their communities. Then we could spare the boys in blue the headache.


  1. The boys in blue are the headache. They know about drug use in Williamsburg, they just choose not to go out of their way to stop it. Don't get me wrong, they'll arrest a hipster if they see him drop a dime bag, but won't expend any more energy to arrest them than it takes to bend over and pick it up.

  2. If it happens above 86th street in the city, I have no idea about it. PCP? No clue, I'm white. Weed is the pastime of choice. I don't know one person within 10 years of my age who doesn't smoke, and I know a lot of people. Designer only, from top guys in the city. Currently, we've been enjoying a strain called Chemdog. It's expensive ($100 for an 1/8oz), but you'd expect that after being featured in Forbes magazine:

  3. claudtalks does not condone or condemn the use of marijuana or the use of PCP. Use the latter at your own risk. (Side effects such as toothlessness, horrific halitosis, and certain loss of job, children, and rental unit may arise.)

  4. I'm object to the first coment about cops that don't arrest hippies. I'v been an nyc cop for four teen years have have arrested many. Trust me, their is alot more work involved in investigating them then pulling over cars with Grapefruit Dead bumper stickers!