This week I noticed an ENORMOUS number of people with walking canes in NYC. I thought I was having that “new word” experience, i.e., you learn a new word and then you suddenly see it everywhere. But, in researching this topic, I found the use of walking aids did, indeed, jump 50% over the last decade.
Here’s how this trend got on my radar in the first place
On my weekly treks to Chinatown, I’ve found myself increasingly sharing the sidewalk with elderly Chinese using walking canes – I’d estimate at least one-third of the adults I encounter are using a walking stick of some kind. Another more recent development is the use of mobility scooters. I now encounter at least one or two every time I head to Chinatown.
The homeless. I’ve also been noticing increasing numbers of homeless men on the Bowery using walking canes – especially the men utilizing the services of the Bowery Mission. These men, I’ve also noticed, tend to be overweight and arthritic.
Art lovers. My most recent sightings, last Friday, were in Chelsea. As I was heading to the Yayoi Kusama show, I ran into at least a dozen people gallery hopping, cane in hand. Says a lot about the age of the collector class.