Archive for February, 2013

IT’S UP TO YOU, NEW YORK TOURISTS, IT’S UP TO YOU

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

You’ve bought your “Official Guide to New York City,” or your insider-like “Unofficial Guide to New York City.”  You’ve downloaded subway apps and Zagat apps and TKTS. apps.  You’ve checked the weather, packed appropriately.  Now, as your plane safely descends into LaGuardia or JFK, it might be wise to review the following tips – they will help you to better navigate our fair city and, most importantly, not be just one more thing that annoys us….

 

BRAND-NEW REEBOKS ARE NOT “DRESS” SHOES

I know you think they are, because I see you at the theatre dressed like you’re going to a hoedown.  Unless you’re a member of the Cosa Nostra, (which, as a native New Yorker, I know doesn’t exist and is just a myth created by Hollywood), the running suit is not a good look on the streets of this city and a sure sign that you are a tourist.  Or a sign that you’re a “button man” for the mob, if the mob existed, which it doesn’t though they do sell a disproportionate number of running suits in Staten Island, which is a part of New York City that you probably won’t have time, (or are too scared), to visit…

 

BROOKLYN IS NOT NEW YORK

Yes, it is one of the five boroughs of New York City.  So are Queens and the Bronx and Staten Island.  But those other three boroughs don’t have an identity crisis.  Each is proud of what it is.  Period.  Brooklyn, on the other hand, a perfectly fine piece of land, has a problem because it sees itself as the  “also-ran,” (but hipper), and its residents find that hard to swallow.  Brooklyn is the place that hipsters and Yuppies move to when they can’t afford Manhattan and then the rationalization begins because they refuse to let reality set in.

1:  I get twice the space for half the rent!

2.  There’s a whole other vibe once you get out of Manhattan!

3.  I have an outdoor space!

4.  You can’t buy the view from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade!

5.  So much less pretentious than the city!

6.  It’s no “neigborhoody!”

7. We have our own baseball team.

8.  PS 321 is the best-kept secret in town! (No it’s not, nor is it a “free Dalton”).

And then the Manhattan bashing really begins when, in fact, if you told any of these ex-pats there’s an apartment in “the city” that they can afford, they’d be back here so fast, they’d forget to pack their kids.

Barclay’s Center does not = Madison Square Garden

Prospect Park does not = Central Park

Cobble Hill does not = Murray Hill

DUMBO = stupid acronym

The Brooklyn Dodgers left for a reason.

There’s no such thing as a “Brooklyn” sirloin.

Coney Island looks better on film than it does in person.

No one cares where ‘Sophie’s Choice’ was filmed.

Lena Dunham wants you to think that’s where she comes from.  But she’s really a rich girl from SoHo.

So don’t buy the Brooklyn t-shirt – no one at home will care, unless they came from Brooklyn, which they’ve successfully managed to leave. So they will care even less.

 

2.  NEITHER CARRIE BRADSHAW NOR SARAH JESSICA PARKER IS REALLY FROM NEW YORK CITY.

Carrie Bradshaw, the pretentious, adorkably annoying Fashionista fictional “Sex In the City” character, hails from Connecticut.  Sarah Jessica Parker is from Ohio.  Real native New Yorkers have yet to discover a way to make $300 writing a sex column and live on Madison Avenue and frequently buy shoes that cost more than a washer/dryer, with $18.50 left over for a Chicken Caesar Wrap at Dean and DeLuca.

Real New Yorkers refer to their drug dealers, not their boyfriends, as “Mr. Big.”  Whenever you feel that either Carrie Bradshaw or Sarah Jessica Parker is “so real, it’s like we’re friends,” remember that your real friends don’t hold Presidential fund-raisers at $40,000 a plate

or sell their New York City brownstones for $25,000,000.”  Real New Yorkers don’t complain about the expansion of a university because it will spoil their view.

Real New Yorkers are happy to have a view.  Or an apartment they can afford, for that matter.  Fo shizzle.

 

NEW YORKERS WILL GIVE YOU THE WRONG DIRECTIONS.

Sometimes they don’t mean to, (though I might, particularly if you’re an adult woman wearing a crewneck sweatshirt adorned with kittens or eagles).   Other times, their intentions are pure but, living in NYC, they’ve lost their ability to say, “I don’t know.”  They may look the other way when they see a homeless person sleeping on a subway grating, and will certainly cross the street to avoid those Greenpeace freakazoids. But the second they hear, “Do you know how I get to….?” they’re in, even if they moved here last week.  Smile, nod politely, and then refer to the appropriate app.   And keep a special ear out for anyone who advises, “Grand Central Station?  It’s not more than two kilometers from…” or “Do you see that signpost?  Just make a right at the roundabout and…” They are as authentically New York as – well – Carrie Bradshaw.

 

CAB DRIVERS PLAY TRICKS. 

First, those little air fresheners, either cardboard and hanging from the rear view mirror, or Lucite aqua or pink tassled bottles glued to the meter box, are not tricks.  They are olfactory offenses that make the back of the cab smell like cloves or Pine-Sol. Or underarms that haven’t been washed since VE Day.

Cab driver tricks range from getting you from Greenwich Village to Gramercy Park through East Hampton, not being able to change a twenty when that’s all you have and the fare is $11, to blasting whichever type of music you find most horrific, until your inner ear bleeds. Or maybe you like Sitar music…

 

YES – IT COSTS MORE TO ENTER THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART THAN IT DOES TO SPEND THE WEEKEND AT YOUR HOMETOWN MARIOTT

$25????   And you don’t even get to gnaw off and take home a piece of a Renoir?  The sign may say that it’s just a “suggested” price of admission, but if you don’t pay it, the cashiers and anyone standing within 50 feet will look at you as though you’re one of “The Box Car Children.”   Real New Yorkers don’t give a shit.  Many of us remember the days when all museums were free and feel like we’re being overly-generous throwing a couple of bucks and a broken button at the cashier who’s rich, bored and working for free. Another key tip, tourists – please don’t refer to the Museum of Modern Art as “MOMA”.  It is really offensive, like you’re BFFs with the museum.  And, MOMA, we should really have a talk about my having to contribute anything to look at those monochromatic black squares you call “paintings” or, even worse, “art.”


REAL NEW YORKERS DON’T GO TO CERTAIN BROADWAY SHOWS

A revival of “Death of a Salesman” or a new David Mamet play?  Absolutely.  Mamma Mia! or Spiderman: Bring on the Dark?  Not so much…  Look around the theatre.  Is everyone there dressed like you?  Plaid shorts?  Dockers?  Teva sandals and white sports socks? In New York City, “I saw CATS 19 times!” isn’t an accomplishment – it’s a disorder.

 

FEEL THE “I HEART NY” IN YOUR HEAD, IXNAY THE T-SHIRT 

There is no place that shirt works.  Back home, your neighbors are thinking, “What a show-off!” and, in New York City, we’re thinking, “What a schmuck.”

 

TAKE YOUR PHOTO AND MOVE ALONG

Yes, it’s the Chrysler Building.  The same one that’s been there since 1930.  The same one in the movie, “Annie.”  The same one the Silver Surfer flew through. You’re not Ansel Adams.  You’re not even Nigel Barker.  Take out your Nikon Coolpix, snap and keep it moving.  Surely there’s a bag of sugar-laden cashews or five-dollar Pashmina shawl calling your name on the next corner.

 

STOP SITTING ON LAWN CHAIRS IN THE GUTTERS OF TIMES SQUARE

The only people sitting there are other tourists.  What could you possibly have to do besides gawk at one another.  “Wow – this city really is big!”  “It looks just like the movies.  Well, except for all the brown people…”  “We were at the top of the Empire State Building today – you know – where Tom Hanks met Meg Ryan!”  “I thought there’d be more Jews here…”  Would you sit on a chaise lounge in the middle of Main Street in your one-traffic-light town?  Maybe I should bring one of those canvas fold-up chairs they sell at Home Depot and set it up on the streets where you live.  And just stare at you and your families.  Stop!  We are not an attraction!  Do we amuse you?  Are we here for your amusement?  Take the ferry and go to the Statue of Liberty.  Or set up your chairs on the lawn of Gracie Mansion.  Not like anyone lives there anyway.  Just don’t bring your own soft drinks.

JOHN GALLIANO, MENSCH? UH, NOT SO MUCH…

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Dear John Galliano, former fashion designer and current anti-Semite,

I’m writing because I saw the photo of you on the front page of the New York Post and couldn’t help but notice your most recent

fashion choice .

 

Instead of dressing, as you’d say in your former business, more “on-trend,” you – drunk genius that you are – decided to

go “off-trend,” into the historical and religious world of the Hasidic Jew.  Oh – I know – the Jewish community, sensitive souls that we are

– are up n arms, thinking that, once again, you are displaying just un peu of anti-Semitism by picking an outfit resembling that of a

Hasidic Jew.   Of course it wasn’t, for the second time in about a year that you were making  an “I Don’t Heart Jews” statement.   I’m sure

that you just rolled out of bed, grabbed whatever was clean – your Hasidic hat, underneath, I’m certain, was one of your many yarmulkes,

those trousers you love stuffing into your long socks, and, of course, one of your several Hasidic black frock coats.

 

And I know, John, that unless you blow dry that fabulous frayed, split-ended skanky hair of yours, it just naturally

forms long ringlets. You know – like peyos, only not, because you would never mock the Jewish people.    You could try to blame

it on the booze.  It seemed to work last time, particularly with Whoopi Goldberg, who’d said she’d have been upset with

your “I love Hitler!  Your mothers and fucking forefathers would have been fucking gassed!” rant in Paris last

year if you hadn’t been drinking.  Thanks, Whoopi.  Your time would be better spent growing eye-brows.  But I digress…

 

Another of your defenders, costume designer Patricia Field, is a woman whose sense of  humor seems to be about as

discombobulated as her sense of fashion.

 

That’s right – I said it.  The Emperor has Skanky Clothes.

 

Here’s how it happened, I imagine.  In screenplay format…

 

FADE IN:

INT. – “SEX AND THE CITY” SET/DAY

Sarah Jessica Parker sits in her dressing room.  She picks up snow globe of New York City, shakes it and giggles.

She then picks up and “I LOVE NEW YORK” t-shirt and hugs it.  She places that down, picks up a New York Yankees hat

and puts it on, takes it off and puts it on with the brim in the back.   She looks into mirror that’s bordered in “I LOVE NEW YORK”

and “BIG APPLE” bumper stickers and talks to her own reflection.

SARAH JESSICA

Yeah.  Now that’s New York.

 

She adjusts hat, then puts 14K apple on chain around her neck.

 

SARAH (cont’d)

I may really come from Ohio but viewers these days have

trouble distinguishing  between what’s real and what’s on

television.  When “The West Wing” was on, they thought Martin

Sheen was the real president.

 

KNOCK ON DOOR:  A red-haired Cousin It enters.  It is costume designer, PATRICIA FIELDS.  She carries many outfits on hangers and

a lit cigarette hangs out of her mouth, parting her hair.

 

PATRICIA FIELD

Thank you, thank you, thank you Sarah Jessica Parker and your

Sex and The City” show for resurrecting my career.  Before you, I

had a little hole-in-the-wall shop on 8th Street off University

Place, catering mostly to “women” whose average shoe size

was a 13 ½. Triple E.

 

SARAH JESSICA

You’re so welcome.  What do you think is more “New York”?  Warm pretzel

with mustard or dirty water dog?  I have to give a speech and…

 

Field begins throwing clothes at Sarah Jessica.

 

PATRICIA FIELD

Let’s  see – a polka dot cardigan over a Mickey Mouse t-shirt,

pleated cupcake holder-as-hat, Catholic school pleated plaid

skirt, argyle knee socks and toe shoes…

 

SARAH JESSICA

Can the toe-shoes have a really high heel?

 

PATRICIA FIELD

I don’t see why not!  You are my muse!

 

SARAH JESSICA

Actually, I think your muse was my great-grandmother when she

got off the boat on Ellis Island.  Nana Pearl was wearing on her

person three seasons worth of clothing because her cardboard suitcase

broke.  So she wore necklaces over schmattas over a sable coat under her

housecoat, over 14 blouses and several sweater-vests.

 

PATRICIA FIELD

Yes – she does sound like my muse…

 

SARAH JESSICA PARKER

…and all those rubber-bands around her wrist.

Like those yellow “LiveStrong” bands, only more

Eastern European “ghetto…”

 

PATRICIA FIELD

Eastern European “ghetto.”  Yes, I like that.

Speaking of those Jews…

 

SARAH JESSICA PARKER

Um…I am one of those Jews…

 

PATRICIA FIELD

Poor Galliano.  Just because he said, “I love

Hitler!”  and  “people like you would be dead

today. Your mothers, your forefathers, would be

gassed and… dead…”

 

SARAH JESSICA PARKER

Ouch!  Not very nice…

 

PATRICIA FIELD

Don’t you people get it?  It was theatre!

It was farce!

 

SARAH JESSICA PARKER

So that means we can make Armenian

slaughter jokes – you know, call it a “tour

 de force!”  or “improv at its best!” and you

won’t be offended?

 

Patricia Field picks up cushion full of pins and sticks them into Sarah Jessica’s chin, one at a time.

 

FADE OUT
And then there’s Ms. Anna Wintour,

your other good friend who, when she isn’t growing her bangs long enough to cover

her Botox-injected forehead or forcing Andre Leon Talley to sit next to her so she’ll look

even more gaunt, is busy trying to get you back into the fashion design business.  Avec Oscar de la Renta.

Oy.  As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Good luck with all that.”

 

Other designers, thus far, are not that interested.  Calvin Klein said,  “Don’t (cough) think (loser) so!” and Ralph Lauren,

nee Lipshitz, said, “I’m on the phone.  I’m on the phone in Westport, Ct.  My Labrador Retriever is by my side, as is my backgammon

set.  And badminton racquet.  What’s that?  The “n” in “badminton’ is silent?  My bad!”   Isaac Mizrachi purportedly squealed “Oy gevalt!”

and Diane von Furstenberg thinks you’re a little meshugah, though she won’t say it .

 

So who knows?  I’m sure someone owes Anna Wintour a favor or, at least would like to stay in the pages of “Vogue.”   But, on

the off-chance there is no work for you at a top fashion house, here are but a few alternatives:

 

*   John Galliano Kosher Pickles on Essex Street – uh, no – that’s not going to work out after all….

 

*   The Senate’s being a bitch about confirming Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense…  the uniform is kinda funky but I’m sure you can amp it

up with something offensive.

 

*    As they’ve done so much to make the Jewish people proud, perhaps the Emmanuel family – Rahm the Mayor and Ari the

Talent Agent and Ezikiel, the “bioethicist”– might like an adopted brother. You could be like the Marx Brothers.  Only not funny.

Oh wait – they’re Jewish.  Never mind…

OR

 

 

 

*   Fiddler on the Roof is coming back to Broadway.  Tevye’s already been cast but I’m sure they can always us another Cossack.

 

 

*  You could dress up as other groups and make even more friends.  First, shout some racist slurs in Mecca and Medina, then

a stroll about the marketplace in a burqa and chador. Vladimir Putin seems to have an excellent sense of humor, so how about a

sable hat, Russian peasant shirt and KGB pin on those days you’re feeling  — I don’t know – a little ‘blah’ and need to be chased

through the streets of St. Petersburg by the Red Army?  There are kimonos and obis and Kabuki make-up, leiderhosen and dirndl

skirts.  Throw in some togas and tunics and you’ve got the World War II Axis nations covered.  And no one will be offended – promise!

*    Fewer and fewer men are choosing  “moile “as a profession.  As you’re almost Hasidic anyway, this could be perfect.  But if it’s been

a while (i.e, never) since you’ve practiced any Jewish rituals.  This one involves removing the foreskin of the penis.  So you might want

to practice a few times. On yourself

 

*  Mel Gibson doesn’t seem to have as many friends as he used to.  He tends to like men like himself — out-going, confident men who

also happen to hate Jews only when they’re drunk.   Johnny, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship…