For two days this winter, the school bus left without Anna Perez.
The elevators in her Bronx public housing development were out – again. Perez, 21, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was stranded in her 10th floor apartment, according to her mother, Haydee Perez.
“It’s stressful, especially when I can’t take her to school,” said Haydee Perez, 51. “She starts crying.”
Nine women and one guy – mostly strangers – trail into a small apartment in Greenpoint. The twentysomethings sit down in a living room and start chatting with one another while “Hit Me Baby One More Time” blares in the background. Some nibble on chocolate chip cookies from a plate labeled “Gimme More.”
They’re all here for a 90-minute presentation titled, “Britney Spears: Goddess, Feminist Icon, Pop Priestess,” a quirky but semi-serious workshop that discusses the singer’s unique role in feminism, sexuality, and pop culture. Call it nostalgic, call it crazy, but it keeps selling out.
A few months ago, three police officers banged on Lisa Bertram’s apartment door in the middle of the night with a sick baby squirrel in their hands. She went to the door and poked her head out, took the squirrel into her apartment, and the officers left.
“Typical New York, no one [in the building] even asked me about it,” she says of the incident. “I just got weird looks on the way to the laundry room or getting my mail. Maybe people thought I was really dangerous and they shouldn’t get involved with me.”