Perhaps you've been approached by one of the gentleman preying on your sympathies at our beloved Q at Parkside. One of them, a painfully malnourished drug addict posing as an AIDS stricken father, is particularly galling. If you're not hip to the age-old BABY FORMULA SCAM, let me skool you right now.
Dude or Lady comes up to you with big doe eyes and sobs about how they can't feed their babies. Would you buy them some formula? They don't need cash, mind you. Just go into the store and buy some Enfamil (e.g.) - the powdered formula. Looks kinda like this:
You might be surprised to learn that the canister goes for about $15. But by now, you're hooked. You wouldn't let those babies starve, would you? If you're in deep, you might end up buying a couple.
Turns out formula has a quick cash turnaround on the street, and believe it or not, often gets illegally purchased by some of the less reputable bodegas and markets. Your "father of three" could be smokin' a rock before you get home to catch the latest episode Glee. Actually, he's probably watching it too. Except he's watching it high on crack.
Formula itself is a bit of a scam, of course. Most indigent moms would be MUCH better off breastfeeding - financially, emotionally and developmentally. (Plus, breasts take up much less space in one's kitchen cabinets.) The above picture shows Enfamil's LIPIL brand, the latest "breakthrough" in formula - more breastmilk-like than ever before. (I jest of course; there are many valid reasons to use formula - I ain't no La Leche League Bullyman. Heck, I enjoy a tall glass of formula myself from time to time - goes nice with a plate of teething biscuits.)
I'm fondly remembering my favorite NYC scam I ever encountered. About 20 years ago, I lived on Flatbush at Sixth Avenue - above the since-relocated Royal Video Store. A guy came up to me claiming he had a gig on Long Island, and could I help him get a train ticket so he could make the show. Before I had time to fashion a response, he starts telling me about his band - Spyro Gyra, and how the gig is real important because his son, whose mother hasn't let him see in years, will be there in the front row. It's gonna be a tearful reunion! The story was so far-fetched it HAD to be true, right? I told him to wait downstairs while I went up to grab my wallet. He started to follow me in, and I had to physically restrain him from gaining entry. At that point I caught the glazed manic look in his eyes and came to my senses. At this point, he started asking if he could "borrow" my Sony Walkman to work on a sax part. I persuasively sent him on his smooth-jazzin' way.
Years later, my girlfriend (cum wife) would tell me a story about a man she met outside a rehearsal space. She and her fellow dancer took pity on a guy trying to get home. At first they were suspicious, but he won their trust by telling them he was a musician, trying to get to a gig with his band...Spyro Gyra.
I kid you not.
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.