“You Broke My Bulbs”- Getting Scammed in Early 90’s Manhattan

It was 1991. I was 19, in college. I he up in Queens and was still living there.  My friend “Leo” and I decided to go to Manhattan. We were too young to get into any bars. So where could we go that was cool?

Times Square.

Leo drove is enormous 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. We called it the Batmobile.

Now I’m not sure of you were in Manhattan back then,  so I’ll sum up what Times Square/42nd St was like:


42nd St was rife was closed shops. There were closed porn movie theatres… and there were some that were open for business. Other stores were porn video & novelty stores. And of course,  live peep shows.

Prostitutes roaming 8th Ave.

Good times.

So Leo and I park on Forty Deuce (42nd St) and we walk around. We go to the various stores, exploring the deviant world. Nothing major.

As we leave in the Batmobile,  Leo backs up in his parking spot on the street and THUD!


Wet get out of his car and there’s a guy behind his car, with a garbage bag full of broken light bulbs. Who carries a bag of light bulbs around… in a garbage bag?

“You broke my bulbs,” he says. He dropped the bag after the car bumped him.

We deny being able to have done that,  Leo was sure he was looking back. But Bulb Man’s friends were on the sidewalk,  saying that they saw the whole thing.

And he wanted us to pay for them.

So we’re fucked. I’m sure if we have some push back we could have gotten away but we were 19 on the Dirty  Deuce against many.

I forget how much he wanted but it was at least $100 and we only had like $30 (thankfully we didn’t buy any porn.)

Magnanimously, he agreed to settle.

Ugh. Fuck them.

I saw this article,  written recently. They’re still at it:



  1. And that’s why I never take the subway anymore in the city and always park in a reputable garage when ever I go into the city. Once a woman tried to scam me with something similar, and she wanted money for “damages” and I told her that I have to settle it through my personal insurance so let’s call the police to file a proper complaint so that you can be properly compensated. She walked off. The article had a good piece of advice to run away screaming.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s