New York City is a quirky place. In the movies, people say things like “only in New York” when they see something quirky. I’m not sure why…no one says “only in Montana” when they see a horse, or “only in LA” when they see a guy surgically enhanced to look like a sexy elf (well, maybe they do). Here are some things that make me think “only in new York” when I see them.
42 feet of “Eff-U” to the Ex
Mr. Big of Park Avenue has a new trophy wife. He’s an 80 year old billionaire. She’s 30 years younger, polished and blond, and keen on not signing a pre-nup with her newly acquired real-estate mogul husband. So far, so romantic. Could happen anywhere, like inside the White House. What makes this an “only in NY” moment? Maybe it’s the 42-foot-high pictures of the two modest lovebirds installed on two sides of Mr. Big’s Park Avenue tower. But that could also happen in Las Vegas, no? To put the East Side icing on the New York cake, you have to know that the FIRST Mrs. Big’s
Park Avenue windows face the new public art installation. Mr. B. claims not to care about that. He just wants the world to know how much he loves his new bride after dumping that bitch he married 50 years ago and who now has half his cash. Perhaps he’s humming “For I have got another girl, another girl, another girl” as he skips down 56th street: that’s no one’s business but his. Except that now it’s EVERYONE’s business. Since this is, after all, New York, reactions ranged from “why isn’t my husband also doing this for me?” to the type of subtle putdown that translates to “what a jerk” that we New Yorkers excel at.
Wild Turkeys on Staten Island
Wild turkeys are a big thing in the US. They almost got to be the national bird, which could have meant turkeys on our quarters and eagles on our thanksgiving table. Anyway, turkeys get their own liquor, so that’s something. They also get Staten Island, apparently. Staten Island — aka “the forgotten borough” and “a little piece of Joisey right here in New York City”, “home of the last aging Mafia Dons”, “the least accessible part of New York City you might as well live in Connecticut” and “why you always gotta be dumpin’ on Staten Island?” — has many charms. In addition to no subway, spotty bus service, depressing architecture, and really expensive bridge tolls, they also have a turkey problem.
The noisy gobblers are waking residents early in the morning as they flock together to meet and date in the sunny Staten Island spring sunshine. Every now and then one makes it over to Battery Park, but that’s a fluke: in general, they are very happy in Staten Island. In the old days, I suppose people just shot them and ate them, but you can’t do that now. You also can’t capture them and release them to the wild (Canada? Maryland?) without the appropriate funding for the Department of Environmental Conservation. Unfortunately, their money ran out. How to get the funding re-started? Who knows? That’s not my problem. In the meantime, don’t chase the turkeys as they are as fast and mean as grizzly, if a grizzly was smaller, had feathers, and lived on Staten Island. Side note – leave it to the Post to blame the mayor for everything, including turkeys.
Possessing a large supply of clean undies is a desirable state of affairs for all, young and old alike. Did not your grandma warn you to keep your delicate underthings renewed and fresh as a daisy, lest you have to go to the hospital and shock the attendants? Sure, ER doctors have already experienced the aftermath of accidents both routine and so bizarre they get their own reality shows, but let an EMT catch a glimpse of small clothes that aren’t fresh-off-the-line, and they may faint dead away. This is not a New York thing – it is universal. The new York twist is how we get our personal drawers into that freshly laundered condition. Most of the world just tosses ‘em in the washer and checks it off the tasklist. Not us! We have an app for that.
Mixed Messages from God
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is a great cultural and religious institution, a solid neighborhood fixture, and one of the best things on the upper west side. It’s built in stone using medieval techniques. It has an amazing organ which you can see in action up close on Monday. The priests annually bless everything from camels to mice. There are silent movies on Halloween, and the bishop allows neighborhood meetings in the lovely stone office building. There are lawns and gardens, sculptures, music and art, after school programs for kids, and many wonderful and committed people who make it all happen.
However, this is still New York City – so there’s also some world class security going on. Whoever puts up signs for St. John’s either missed the connection here or has a keen sense of irony.
Barber got a Parrot
Saw this one myself while wandering around Hell’s Kitchen. Here’s an experience that is not for the bird-phobic: shave and a haircut with a parrot. Not sure if Polly is there for companionship or to give advice on the style, but since parrots can live for 80 years and since the barber himself looks like he may want to retire soon, I’d ask about buying a half-share if I were the bird.
New York loves combining two unrelated concepts into something new. Dog cafes, where you can adopt a pooch while you have a coffee. Cat restaurants, where they bring you kitties to interact with while you try to avoid getting fur in your fettuccine. Tea parties in toy stores where the loan of a doll is included with your crumpets and muffins at a bargain price of $75 a pop. Mixed drinks and chemistry where the barkeep serves up things like bacon-flavored fizzy gin. Frankly, after 4 drinks you’ll try anything, right? Hint – try not to let your patrons’ stomachs explode if you use dry ice.
The point is, most of these are bad ideas. At best, they last a few months and then disappear. But laundry and pinball? There are still lots of buildings in the 5 boroughs with no laundry room of their own, and the tenants must endure a weekly schlep to the laundromat. There they sit browsing Instagram, bored, while keeping one eye on their clothes and the other on the clock. At the Sunshine Laundromat, you can waste your time in a fun and retro way. Can a dentist/bowling alley be far behind?
Don’t forget to check out these great pictures, too.