All articles, tagged with “new york fuckin' city”

kill whitey…nice hair

Of all of the constant sources of amusement in New York, few are as regular and reliable as the “A” train in the wee hours of the morning. Probably because it’s the longest route in the city, and thus offers the most uninterrupted sitting/sleeping time between end-of-the-line roustings, it’s pretty much guaranteed that if there’s one wild-eyed madman to be found in the city at 4am, you’ll find him there.

Case in point:

Sunday night, around 2am, my friend Kari and I were stumbling back from seeing The Kings of Nuthin at the Tribeca Rock Club. After an eternal wait at the Chambers Street stop, we got onto a Brooklyn-bound train and collapsed in our seats.

Directly across from us was a Freaky Homeless Guy, straight from central casting. Black, middle-aged, scruffy (but not stinky), he was lurching back and forth underneath his seat and looking around at things that were pretty obviously not physically present in the train. Underneath his seat, a very pretty, mid-sized, mixed-breed brown dog lolled on the floor, obviously long-since used to his master’s outbursts, trying vainly to get a little rest. As the train pulled out of the station, the guy launched into what sounded like a well-travelled patter, addressing nobody in particular:

(mutter mutter)…a-salaam aleikum…(mutter)…I’m not a “black muslim,” I’m a brown muslim…(mutter mutter)…but that retarded white guy? He’s okay, he’s an okay brother…
…and so on in that vein for a while. As he went on, he got a bit more excited, and started waving his arms around to make his points, and that was when we noticed…hanging on by its claws in the front fold of his jacket, was an adorable, tiny orange tabby kitten, no more than 12 weeks old. The kitten’s eyes were closed, and it hung there, half asleep, as the guy ranted away, getting a little louder:
…(mutter mutter)…kill the white man…yeah, kill whitey! (mutter mutter)…should kill every goddamn white man in this city!
At at this point, several people sitting near to him started to move away to the other side of the car, but it didn’t actually sound threatening: he wasn’t looking at or interacting with any of the live white people in the train, and it felt like a piece of well-rehersed theater, or some pointed reference to a movie or song that he’s seen that none of us had…which was good, because, to emphasize the statement, he made a grand show of reaching into his jacket as if to pull a gun out. The gesture was so hammy that it was obviously fake, but it had the side-effect of dislodging the kitten, who fell out of sight into his jacket for a second.
…yeah! Kill all the white man! Except the retarded guy, he’s okay, he’s a brother…(mutter mutter)…
…and as he tailed off into some quieter monologue, the kitten clawed its way up far enough to stick its head out of his jacket again, and promptly went back to sleep, as Kari and I had to restrain ourselves from cracking up.

A few seconds later, the train pulled in at Jay Street, and as I was getting off, I waved to the guy and said “Salaam Alaikum” — it seemed like the only proper thing to do. He didn’t seem to take any notice of me, and we walked off the train not thinking much of it, but we hadn’t taken two steps onto the platform when a voice boomed out behind us:
HEY!
We turned and there he was, standing in the door of the subway, suddenly 100% lucid and making direct eye contact with me:
Dude! Is your hair that color all the way up and down?!

Me: Nah man, just up top.

That’s badass! Yeah! Purple hair! Right on!


…and he waved to us, kitten bouncing and hanging on for dear life, as the doors closed.

multicultural faux pas

A small definition of panic: realizing that a pair of fresh-off-boat Russian emigres are about to start moving a very heavy, not to mention delicate and expensive appliance into your apartment…and there is a huge poster of Lenin in your entryway.

I think I just set a land-speed record for redecorating.

In case anybody’s wondering: no, I’m not a Leninist, or any sort of communist. I found the poster left behind in an old apartment, and it’s a great example of Soviet agit-prop art: heroic workers, Lenin’s bust in a sunburst, “The Way of Peace is the Way of Socialism”, etc etc etc. Still, it’s good to occasionally remember that one man’s kitsch pop-art is another man’s psychopathic dictator who sent all his relatives to the Gulag.

And yes, this means that my condiment collection (or what’s left of it after some drastic pruning) has a functional home again.

SNOW DAY!

New York City is in the process of getting over two feet of snow dumped on it: 18 incues in Central Park so far, and it is still snowing.

Luckily for everyone’s sanity, a good chunk of the city was off on holidary today, so the chaos level has been blissfully low. The airports are closed, major roads are semi-passable, and it seems like most of the city is out playing in the snow.

Of course, I stayed at Miranda’s place on 207th Street last night, so I got to play Adventure Boy trying to get back to my apartment and cats in Brooklyn. The A train was running more or less normally, but when I got to Jay Street for the transfer to the F, it turned out that — oops, the F train isn’t running in Brooklyn. Further announcements made it plain that basically nothing running on an elevated track was running with any frequency or at all. Having nothing better to do, I hopped an F train heading back into the city, got out at Broadway-Lafayette, wandered over to Dean & DeLuca for a mocha and a sandwich, and then took the W train back out to Brooklyn.

Of course, nothing is that simple, and after slogging the four blocks back to my place, I found to my great amusement that I had been snowed out of my apartment. There was at least four feet of snow piled up in my yard, blocking the gate from opening, and promising to dump an avalanche into my front door if I were foolish enough to try to claw my way through it. So I trudged up to 5th Avenue, where a very happy local hardware store owner had stacked every shovel and bag of salt in his store in the front, and was making a small mint. $40 later, my new shovel and my 25-pound bag of icemelt were on our way back, and I got to spend the next hour digging a path to my front door, to the amusement of many passers-by.

A few small observations:

  • In a major snowstorm, you can get 2-foot snowdrifts in the subway tunnels.

  • Blizzards apparently do not stop bicycle pizza delivery in this city. I hope these guys are getting tipped well.

  • New York livery drivers are not well-trained for this kind of weather. From Miranda’s window, we watched an enormous 1987 Lincoln Town Car attempt to make it up one of the hills into the park near her place. For the record, folks, you should not try that in an old rear-wheel-drive vehicle.

  • There’s no happier creature in this city in a blizzard than a hardware store owner with a full stock of shovels and salt that lives upstairs from his store. And he’ll happily tell you so.

  • Wheeeee!

I haven’t seen snow like this since I was living in Michigan. I hope it keeps coming.

Victoria’s Secret Asks…

…is…
…Hung Over?
Observations that I can remember from two nights ago, courtesy of extending a bit of her fabulous lifestyle in my direction:

  • Heidi Klum is, go figure, fairly attractive in person. Also tall. Very, very tall.

  • The bathrooms at Peep are a bit panic-inducing when you’ve had several of their (excellent) Lemon Ginger Ade martinis.

  • Willem Dafoe is even craggier-looking in person.

  • I could make a happy hobby of being “and one.”

  • Open bars sponsored by premium vodka companies are a mixed blessing. Witness the following conversation:

    Me: Can I get another two Bellinis?
    Eurosnotty Bartender: All out.
    Me: Okay, two kamikazes please.
    EB: Vodka tonics?
    Me: um…gin and tonics?
    EB: Two vodka tonics?
    Me: Okay, two vodka tonics.

  • I love this city, even when it’s so cold my fingers hurt.