When friends of mine once returned from the Southwest, I was astounded to first learn about Lowriders - vehicles outfitted, some with all manner of hydraulics, to be lowered as much as possible. There are High Riders too. But why would anyone go through all the work to do such things?
There are many profound mysteries yet to be solved, but on Sunday, my questions were rather mundane. Why were these particular men together? Were they all widowers? What were they chatting about - women, the sorry state of the world, how things used to be better, or how the mores of youth have declined? Why was there one rebel who wore shorts and sported khaki instead of pants and the requisite gray and white?
Other mysteries abound, particularly, why do so many old men wear their pants so high? Online forums give a myriad of intriguing and plausible reasons with no consensus. The best answer seems to be that the men shrink in old age but continue to wear the same size pants, necessitating that they hike them up to fit. Others cite osteoporosis and the decline of hips, increasing waistlines and diminishing buttocks. Of course, these men may rightly retort, why are so many wearing their pants absurdly low? Is there something more inherently fashionable about Lowriders than High Riders?
Amidst all the glam and glitter, the presence of many ordinary things can be easily overlooked in New York City, such as poverty and the aged. Examining the demographics of New York City in the census report reveals how atypical the city population is from the country at large in many respects. In race and ethnicity, 44% of New York City is white (75% in the USA), 27% black (12% US), 10% Asian (3.6% US) and 27% Hispanic (12% US).
Other statistics, however, show little variation from the United States population - particularly age. About 12% of both New York City (and the United States) is over 65 years of age. That's a lot of older people - about one million people.
Many New Yorkers, like myself, have never had a desire to live in Florida. One can never be sure of how the future will unfold and desires might change, but I also do not aspire to retiring in Miami Beach. Fortunately, if I want to see retired old men congregating near the ocean, I only need to make a trip to the Brighton Beach boardwalk. And if there comes a day when I want to wear my pants real low or I have to hike my pants up, I know I can do it right here :)