I was walking down Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg with a friend last night and we were accosted by three separate people in the space of what had to be only five to ten minutes. First person asked my friend if he was Jewish. The second person was holding a cell phone and asking us if we had a cell phone they could borrow for two seconds. I did this once in a Starbucks for a woman who as looking for a shelter to stay at that day, and she ended up overstaying her welcome.

The third person who tried to accost us asked if either of us spoke English. Of course, we said in English something like “Sorry, can’t help you.” That sort of response works for almost everyone, but to do it with this person’s approach just makes you feel sort of dumb. Turns out my friend had been stopped on the street by this person twice before and the second time they were leading into their “Do you speak English” approach, but he just gave her some change at which point she realized she had stopped him before since he already knew the end result of whatever she was going to say was that she wanted money.

We just found it amusing that we were stopped by three people with three completely separate requests. One guy just wanted to discuss Judaism for hours and hours, the other person wanted to use a phone and the last just wanted money.

Bedford Ave. seems to be oddly populated with people of this sort. I was walking down it late one night and was asked for change from two people. Only thing was that these two people looked nothing at all like the usual types you expect to get asked change for on the street. I’m not even talking the completely B.O. ridden people who seem to not move from their one place all day long. Still weird.