Sunday, May 31, 2015


A guy was just caught charging tourists $200 to ride the Staten Island Ferry each way -- even though the ferry is free. Now, you'd assume the New York Post -- a conservative, law-and-order paper -- would be appalled at the actions of this perpetrator, right? Well, not quite. Here's the Post's lede, which blames the victims:
These suckers are the reason a $30 hot dog exists.

Dopey tourists are paying top dollar to bogus vendors for “tickets” to the Staten Island Ferry -- which has been free for 18 years, The Post has learned.

One clueless pair shelled out $400 for a round-trip journey to the city’s southernmost borough, sources said.

“They’re targeting people who are tourists, because they just don’t know better,” said a source with the city’s Parks Enforcement Patrol.

Career con Gregory Reddick, 54, hooked the big fish on Wednesday while wearing a snappy “Authorized Ticket Agent” jacket near the South Street Seaport, officials said.

“Usually, the people we’re seeing are complaining that they’ve been charged $25” for a Staten Island Ferry ride, said the parks-enforcement source.

“But this guy was charging $200 each way.”
The "$30 hot dog" reference harks back to an earlier story about a vendor who overcharged customers for hot dogs and other snacks, returned insufficient change, pretended he didn't know enough English to conduct business responsibly, failed to post prices for his goods as required by law, and shortchanged the owner of his cart, who subsequently fired him -- a guy who was defended in a Post op-ed titled "The $30 Hot Dog Guy Is a Capitalist Hero."

Once you get pat the lede of the Staten Island Ferry story, you read about the perpetrator, and he sounds like the quintessential New York Post villain:
Reddick, of Jamaica, Queens, was caught by Parks Enforcement Patrolman Jean-Baptist Joseph, 33, on Pier 15 as he allegedly took the cash from the two marks.

When Joseph asked to see an ID and Parks permit, Reddick shoved him in the chest and took off, a criminal complaint says.

Joseph chased Reddick to The Battery, where he and a half-dozen fellow officers surrounded the 200-pound suspect, subduing him with the help of pepper spray, the complaint says....

Reddick’s rap sheet dates to his early teens and includes six felony convictions, other law-enforcement sources said.

He has at least five aliases, six Social Security numbers and seven dates of birth -- and has spent at least nine years in prison for burglary and credit-card fraud, sources added.
So: he's a career criminal and he resisted arrest -- oh, and the accompanying photo makes clear that he's black. You'd think the Post would be exulting in his capture. But no, the story begins by blaming the dumb-rube tourists. (Reading the story, you feel that it may have been written as a straight law-and-order tale and then edited to suggest that a colorful rogue was gulling the suckers.)

I don't get it. Does the Post just assume its readers hate tourists? (We have a reputation in the city for not liking tourists, but we're usually pretty nice to them, and while we may get exasperated when groups of tourists block our way while making slow progress down our streets, we're increasingly having the same problem with locals who are zombified by their phones.)

Is it that, or is the Post just defending capitalist thievery because, well, capitalism?

The Post wasn't very nice to Eric Garner when he died at the hands of cops who were arresting him for selling loose cigarettes -- but the Post will always stick up for the cops no matter what they do, and the Garner case put the police on the defensive. Short of that, however, I guess you can do whatever you want in the name of capitalism, especially to tourists, and the Post will cut you a break.


Victor said...

When I lived in NC, and someone I knew was going on vacation to NYC, I encouraged them.
But, I also warned them about grifters, and what to watch out for.

One year, Wallace, a Good Ol' Boy who was a Supervisor at the cable company I worked for, decided to take his family on vacation in NYC.

I offered to give him the names of the great places to visit and to eat, but he said he'd figure it out when he got there.
Ok, I figured, what can go wrong?

Then, when he came back, I asked him where he and his family went to eat. And he said to me, "You know Vic, McDonalds is a buck more per item, and TGIF and Applebee's are two bucks, or more!"

I looked at him, and I said, "You went to NYC, where there's restaurants from every nation on the planet, and you ate at chain-food places?"


So, the next year, he planned to go again.
I created a list for him of the best dining establishments in all 5 boroughs in NYC, so he didn't need to go to some fast-food factory. I even broke it down by ethnicity and country.

Wallace had an even better time, having eaten 'dirty-water dogs," knishes, Ethiopian and Mediterranean food - and in China Town, of course.
He went to my favorite Chinese place, Wo Hop on Mott St., right next to a barbershop named, 'My Dik." I told him to sit downstairs, and bring his own beer, wine, or whatever, and enjoy their tremendous food.
I also gave him some dim-sum places to visit.

Wallace loved this visit far more than his first one@
I wonder why?

That list, became known as "Vic's List," at the company

For as long as I worked there, whenever anyone went to NYC, they asked me to sent them my list.

Never Ben Better said...

When you're a stranger in a strange land, Victor, you (the generic you) cling to things you recognize and know. They're reassuring -- they may not be the best but at least you know what you're going to get. This is especially true for people who rarely go outside their familiar comfort zone.

Victor said...

Yeah, I know - stick with the tried and true.

But, when you're in Rome, do as the Roman's do!

I have to give the guy credit!
When he came back from his second trip, he was full of stories of the great places he and his family ate at, and visited - I also gave him a list of some smaller, lesser known museums and art galleries.

M. Bouffant said...

"Never give a sucker an even break", right Post?