Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Muggy Day

While other New Yorkers were spending their sunny Memorial Day Saturday on beaches, admiring others’ tans and working patiently on theirs, I spent mine in Manhattan’s 20th Precinct with my daughter Lauren, looking at mug shots.

Nineteen hours earlier… how do I express this gently?... my DAUGHTER was MUGGED! In broad Daylight-Saving-Time daylight! For an iPod and an iPhone! Hence, iBrood and iBristle.

You tell yourself it could happen anywhere. But it didn’t happen anywhere, it happened in our “backyard.” In our beloved city. Within the confines of our Upper West Side 70s oasis. Out of the blue!, an unsettling interloper on our Isle of Contentment. A menacing anomaly to old-city blocks teeming with good and multi-cultural plenty.

Lauren had just emerged from a subway station on Central Park West, a half block from her apartment, had just put her phone in the same hand as her iPod when a man walking toward her seized both. As she instinctively clung to them, he spun her around and to the ground, and ran off, iLoot in hand. She rose, looked at a finger that was pointing in a direction perpendicular to where it belonged and, presumably in shock, pulled it into place and, shocking as it sounds if you know her, started running after the hood, screaming “Stop him!” Three young men in front of her gamely gave chase, but lost sight of him. The moment Lauren stopped, she felt the pain, excruciating, not only in her finger, but in her shoulder. An NYPD squad car came to her aid in moments, and its officers called an ambulance.

It all happened not only in sprinting distance from Lauren’s apartment, but also came within a block of her sister Haley’s and family, and two blocks from ours—The Fox Compound, as I’ve described the wheel of our family’s proximity. Our hospital of choice is all of a mile away.

Being transported by ambulance on the streets of Manhattan is by no means a pain-free experience; automobile shocks weren’t built to absorb NYC potholes. (These are the kinds of things you start to take perverse pride in after you’ve been here for awhile.) Lauren winced and groaned and more than once pronounced her shoulder broken—but, to be honest, when you’ve raised a drama queen, you tend to process everything to scale.

Yes, Lauren is an actress, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows her world that the boyishly-wise doctor administering to her at the hospital and the dashing NYPD detective who entered the room to begin investigating the case were straight out of central casting. Even their names, Walker and Brennan, seemed chosen by the studios.

X-rays revealed two fractures, her clavicle and her ring finger. The initial good news was that both fractures could heal by themselves. Further scrutiny revealed otherwise; Lauren would need two operations. At that point, the good news was that the operations could be done at the same time. The bad news was that the next day ushered in the holiday weekend, so she couldn’t be operated on until the next week. Worse news followed—her writing hand—her
Facebook and texting hand!—would have to be in a cast.

You tell yourself bones heal. She didn’t hit her head, didn’t mar that beautiful face, and, watching her take everything in stride, it didn’t alter her beautiful outlook on life. Lips not moving, you tell yourself you should be livid, outraged! You know your lines, father, play your role! But all you feel and all you are is relieved.

In the late 50s and early 60s, a popular TV show set and shot on the streets of New York always ended with a narrator saying, “There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.” This has been one of them, that’s all. It
could happen anywhere.


  1. Oh Lauren... How strong you are.

    Hang in there, and get well soon.

  2. David RabinowitzJune 2, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    Guess we're not quite crime free yet.

    Dave Rabinowitz

  3. I hope you are healing Lauren. I was mugged in broad daylight on my lunch hour coming out of the subway 20 years ago. It could, and does, happen anywhere. Stay alert people. There are enough stories in the Naked City. Don't become one of them.

  4. Carol and I send our love and prayers to you, Lauren, and all the family. We hope they get the bast..d, lock him up, and throw away the key.
    Get him off the streets; so that, he can't hurt anyone else. Take care. I hope Lauren gets well soon. All our Best,
    Barry and Carol

  5. There are horrible stories coming out of Seattle WA. for these I pod phones.. What is wrong with this world.. Really sorry to hear this happen on the east cost.. I am in Canada and hearing this news again tonight on the news.. I hate to say it but is it really worth having this phone.. Hoping you heal well Lauren.. Your life is more important then that phone.. Your family would be lost without you..

  6. Ray, I was waiting to hear what you would say about this terrible episode. Just wonderful! Despite your fear and agony you made it touching and funny, my two favorite things.

    You were very discreet and didn't say how beautiful Lauren is, which I am sure is what spurred on both the policeman and the doctor's help.

  7. Ray,
    Sorry to hear about this, I wish Lauren a speedy recovery! When you least expect it, expect it!!!
    Take Care,

  8. damn! get well soon lauren. i love how the badge & the doc were out of central casting... the one & only place i got - painlessly but terrifyingly - mugged in my 13 years in our beloved apple was Bway/110th St... one of my old hoods. tho i didn't begrudge the toothless gun-toting old woman the $10 she ripped off me.

  9. OMG! Our thoughts and prayers are with Lauren and all of you! Speedy recovery to Lauren - great article Dad! Much love, Robin

  10. Ray, just read your blog entry about Lauren getting mugged. It was beautiful, tender, wise and witty--everything that I love about you.

  11. How horrible! I hope that Lauren has a swift recovery. Glad the reprehensible dreg who assaulted Lauren didn't gloom her sense of beauty in the world, nor your lightness of pen.

    My best wishes to the Foxes.

  12. So sorry to hear of Lauren's mugging experience.Here's hoping her recovery is swift and the stolen items are recovered.There is scum who pray on the unsuspecting in so many places these days...my heart goes out to the Fox family!

  13. Dear Ray,

    Add my condolences to your family and let Lauren know that Sarah and I wish her well.

  14. My Pickle Award Candidate-- After Winning,
    Please Go Away

    The Tea Party

    May G'd Bless and Protect: The Fox Family

  15. How is Lauren? This just infuriates me. Although muggings have been around for decades, I am so over this city... for so many reasons.