The Perv Hunt

It seems that New York is big, but thanks to social media it may shrink within seconds.

One of the most popular websites here is Usually they are the first ones in informing about what’s going on in the city. A few days ago their link showed up in my Facebook feed: the piece told a story of a pervert who jerked off in front of a girl riding the N train, after which he left the train with her when she tried to report the incident to an MTA employee.

The girl managed to take a picture of the guy and wrote the Gothamist, after which the site published the photo (when I saw it, I was relieved it wasn’t anyone I knew). Since I knew I could have been this girl, I started reading the comment section and was surprised to discover that one of the commentators actually admitted to having gone out on a date with the guy, after they hooked up on Ok!Cupid (a site I wrote about at Just Like NY). Since the date was weird, there was no follow-up, but naturally (as is the custom in NY), she got a picture of his penis the next day. Immediately after this comment, folks started begging her to report the guy to the police (even though some considered it “snitching”). The girl calmed everyone down by saying the Gothamist has already contacted her and she spoke to the police, too. All this happened within less than an hour after the piece has appeared. In her subsequent comments, the girl explained she didn’t remember his name or phone number, but she remembers where he lived and worked. The commentators thanked her, even though some others said that her kind of behavior is “killing the real New York”. I have no idea what their favorite kind of “truth” is, but I know mine is totally different.

I was just about to wrap this post up, when I opened the site again and learned there was a finale to the case. The guy has publicly apologized, explaining he was on drugs (most likely cocaine, very popular here) and doesn’t remember a thing (there’s a chance he was lying, of course). He promised to get some professional help.

Even though the constant intrusion of technology annoys me at times, I admit I welcome this form of it. The entire incident reminded me that my beloved New York is not only a city of dreamers, but also of wackos, and that our shared responsibility is to let each other know of possible dangers. Social media really comes in handy in this process.