I am writing about a hate incident that happened in our city recenbtly at 11th and Washington. I closed on my condominium purchase on Washington Street on Thursday 1/14 and came on Saturday 1/16 with my parents by car to show them my new home. I found a parking spot near the apartment and waited patiently for about a minute as the person in the spot backed out. As I was going into reverse, a Caucasian man in his 40s driving a large black SUV sped into the spot and parked in the place for which I had been waiting. When I rolled down my window and asked him what he was doing, he said “you’re too slow; and this place isn’t for you [emphasis on that word] people.” I am Indian-American, Ivy-league educated, have a terrific job in Manhattan, and now am a member of this community.
Rather than challenge this bigot (who knows, he may have had a weapon; Google “Craig Stephen Hicks”) I drove off and had to park ten blocks away and walk back with my parents, who are senior citizens. Is this what Hoboken is about? Are we buying into the fear and hate-mongering that is a normal part of what we see in the news, including the presidential debates, these days? What happened to common decency? Shortly after the incident, I reached out to the City Hall’s “contact us” email address to let them know about what happened. Within a few hours, a detective from the local police called about the incident and to apologize. In the next few days, I got very thoughtful emails from local council member Ravi Bhalla, and the mayor’s chief of staff, Vijay Chaudhuri. I am thankful to have decent, level-headed people like them working for the public in Hoboken. These reactions to what happened changed what was at first an awful introduction to living in Hoboken to a really positive one.