Saturday, March 19, 2011

New York State of Mind, Dept.

Recently back from der großer Apfel 
--using the Teutonic version thereof in memory of the Yorkville neighborhood of NYC where I went to high school and where once there stood a series of great, traditional German businesses, large and small, including restaurants and Konditoreien and Biergärten and the like, but now is home to Big Box Stores because why have interesting, organically developed, locally owned businesses when you can have another Sephora and a Best Buy--

and, setting my bitterness aside for the moment, I thought to offer a few notes and observations from our latest visit.
  • If you are an attractive Asian-American female between the ages of 18 and 25 who is not appreciated in her precincts, by all means run-do-not-walk in your clackety heels to New York City.  Apparently, the mayor passed an ordinance recently that requires casually dressed Caucasian men of the same age to be seen on the streets with an Asianesque hottie irrespective of their own Hot-or-Not rating.  It follows on the heels of the controversial tattoo-sleeve/soul-patch/porkpie-hat requirement for Williamsburg.
  • If you read this before April 17, speed your way to the New York Theater Workshop in the East Village and glom a ticket or two for Peter and the Starcatcher, a prequel to J.M. Barrie's classic, Peter Pan, adapted from the novel of the same name.  It's the closest to British panto I've seen on these shores.  A smash-bash of high and low art that veers from fart gags to the line "It's as hard to find as the melody in a Philip Glass opera."  Wildly inventive, it turns red headlights and two clotheslines into a crocodile, and ropes into everything from whipping waves to a narrow tunnel.  Fantastic cast in a jewelbox setting.  Do.  Not.  Miss.  It.
  • Our hotel seemed to house two types of guest: us and ugly Euro-hookers.  No, let me correct that: us, ugly Euro-hookers and Lolitas who ostentatiously occupied space in the lobby.  One stood out: Ugg-ish boots, a v. short skirt over coltish legs, a headful of yellow curls, pouty mouth and a large sock monkey doll.  What, the prop department couldn't find heart-shaped glasses and a lollipop?  I'm sure these young ladies could earn their college and grad school tuitions in a single season working the lobby, assuming, of course, that by the time they're old enough to matriculate, they're not dead or chained to the throne of the Sultan of Brunei.
  • Mediocre seafood is not redeemed by a bouncy server who puts his thespic training on display as "Gregarious Waiter #2".
  • Times Square, thanks to the aforementioned Bloomberg, is now--thank you, Guinness--The Biggest Traffic Clusterfuck in Creation.  I'm sorry, say again...? make Times Square a pedestrian mall?  Certainly!  I mean, who would ever use Broadway as a southbound artery?  *ha ha* the very notion!  Absurd!  Perkins, throw another wog on the fire, I'm getting chilly!
  • I saw a number of institutions of secondary education named using the formula "The (illustrious obscurity's surname) School."  They irritate me.  That they are no more and no less than high schools that nevertheless charge, thanks to a consensual cachet, the equivalent of a small Andean country's GDP per annum to instill the values of a predatory plutocracy guised as beneficent meritocracy into the pretty heads of the loinfruit of the financial condottieri and their siblings in the Professions.  That we as humble passersby should be awed by the stark simplicity of the institution's name, its opacity incised into the façade's granite.  Not for them the transparency of "Wendell L. Willkie Middle School"or "Our Lady of the Illuminated Hardships High School for Girls," when, in fact, it should be: "The Murgatroyd School for the Coddled Children of the Monied Class, Who Within Our Walls Will Get an Earful of the Sort of Egalitarian Nonsense Only the Wealthy Can Afford to Believe, Then Stumble from Here to the Ivies, or, if They're Horrible Fuckups, the 'Little Ivies,' and, After Some Dalliance with Conformist Noncomformist Thinking, Will Eventually Get a Law Degree, Find a Suitable Spouse from the Same Class and Breed Their Successors at the Firm."  At a minimum, it would provide ample work for automobile decal makers, and, really, isn't that all we can ask as a people? 
  • There is more diversity in any three-block stretch of Queens Boulevard than there is in most of our landlocked states. Queens is where the immigrants live, cheek-by-jowl, bulgogi joint next to cumbia palace next to bagel shop.  Queens is the last bit of Old New York, now that Progress, that tasteless bitch, has eaten up Manhattan and shitten out Singapore, then driven the dead out of Brooklyn.  I can't speak for the Bronx or Staten Island because, frankly, who the fuck goes to the Bronx or Staten Island?
  • An apology to the people responsible for developing content for the little TVs in NYC cabs, but, really, I don't need to watch NBC-branded television if I'm in a taxi in Manhattan, right?  If watching the architecture, storefronts and people of one of the most dynamic cities on the planet is too boring, I can always ask my driver how long it's been since he left Lahore.
  • Apropos of nothing, I judge people who have to have coffee before they can function or be even vaguely approachable at work.  I mean, I'm extremely judgmental by nature and nurture, but, really, substitute "crystal meth" or "black tar heroin" or "a rock of cocaine" for "coffee" in that sentence, and you kinda get my drift.  The fact that many enterprises--my own employers included--keep giant vats of this shit percolating all day for free consumption is ethically and operationally no different than their piling a five-ounce pyramid of blow on a conference room table at 9 a.m.  So, yes, Mister Venti Non-Fat Four-Shot Extra-Hot Macchiato, you are the moral equivalent of a bust-out junkie, except you're nodding out before you score, and I pronounce anathema on you, sir, anathema!
At any rate, that's NYC for now.  Coming back to Choc City after a weekend in Manhattan is like ambling back to Mayberry.  Well, Mayberry with Black people.  And without its courtly charm.  But with horrible commuter traffic.  Have I mentioned my proposal for a thousand-dollar-per-vehicle annual commuter tax on the Maryland and Virginia parasites who drive--and always, always badly--their cars into town and leave nothing of any value in return?  Derail.  At any rate, Choc City is apparently nothing like Mayberry, but is still a small Southern town.  Those who wish to send me a file baked into a cake can write me for my mailing address.


Anonymous said...

Good God..You make me want to pick up and leave Teas right now and head to Queens (where I've never been). Trouble is, besides the kid in the East Village I've got one on the Olympia peninsula in Washington and one in Australia, with child. So she is where we're heading next, in May.
I did send my son and his gf your recommend about the play- it sounds like their kind of evening.
Shit I miss SU, but I still don't know how to work it anymore..

the sobsister said...

I know; I miss it too. I try to keep up, but too often skim rather than dive in.

Have a great time in Oz. I've never been, but have always been intrigued.

And, yeah, I hope your son and his girlfriend have a chance to see the show, and I hope they enjoy it.

Cheers, and thanks for stopping by and writing.

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