Hipster Cop

02.18.2004 | Jacob Siegel | Urban Affairs

There’s a new type of cop in the city; or at least one cop of a new type that I suspect belongs to a generation of Gotham personality born out of September 11.  All is quiet as ever on the Culver Local, taking us old dullards away from Manhattan’s bridge and tunnel weekend riot, when two uniformed police officers board at Broadway Lafayette.  The first to enter the car, a middle-aged black guy, crosses the train and posts like a sentry by the opposite door, silent and unremarkable.

The other comes in behind him and takes his post opposite his partner, at the door nearest to myself and the platform. White, much younger, and unlike his veteran counterpart he couldn’t have looked any less NYPD.  His tousled dandy’s hair and his hipster lean, one foot up against the door, made me imagine him assuming his badge and uniform for the benefit of his Ludlow street cronies, themselves dressed as sundry blue collar types, the lot of them promenading through the new Lower East Side’s costumed bars.

 But what made this guy remarkable was his eyes scanning the car for recognition of the incongruity between himself and his uniform.  As an outsider he had an aesthetic appreciation for his role lost on his brothers in blue. Something made this young man, who might otherwise be working for a media company, decide to protect and serve.

I suspect that, like friends and acquaintances of mine, it was September 11 that impelled him to enter this new world of service with its pride of badge and uniform and gave him the privilege of flaunting his unique mongrel credentials, a hipster with a gun.  Both of the officers departed at Second Avenue, and as this curious glimpse was lost to us straphangers, it was gained by the city.  Dont get me wrong, God bless the guy, I wish I knew him.

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