About a week after I moved to downtown Peekskill last summer I was out for a walk, exploring the neighborhood. Walking toward me from the other direction were four teenage boys - tall and lanky, pants riding low. They walked like a wall, shoulder to shoulder, with a rolling street walk that oozed attitude.
I involuntarily stiffened a little. In Manhattan this scenario can on occasion be unpleasant. Every New Yorker knows that the worst time to be out is between 3 and 4 p.m., when the teens, fresh from school, are blowing off steam. A tight row of young men walking toward a woman is a big power position. Over the years I've experienced a number of little incidents as a group of guys separates to pass by - a remark, a small shove and, a couple of times, even a grope.
The wall of Peekskill boys got almost to me, then separated to let me pass. One of them smiled at me and said, "How you doin' today, Ma'am?"
"I'm doing GREAT!" I replied.