The latest tourist shakedown is to dress up in popular animated character costumes and stroll around Times Square. The kiddies insist on having their picture taken with them and the parents surrender a few bucks. It must be lucrative because they’re all over the place. Lots of Sesame Street characters. Dora the Explorer. Hello Kitty.
They aparate out of nowhere and roam the streets. I was passing the 42nd Street subway station and stumbled upon a guy preparing for a hard, hot day inside a costume.
He was annoyed that I was taking pictures and stopped walking up the stairs. He wouldn’t move until I left, so I did.
Another hidden facet of the city that I know nothing about. Wheels within wheels.
I met a friend for drinks last evening. Interesting guy. The grandson of iconic American director/ screenwriter/ producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz. He always has good stories to tell. We met at a casual outdoor venue but as soon as we got there it started to pour rain. A biblical deluge!
We dashed into the closest indoor bar, which happened to be in the Bryant Park Hotel. It’s not my scene but it was convenient. Lots of after work suit-and-tie corporate types. Thumping club music. A bit of a meat market. And crazy expensive. A round of drinks for the two of us was $33.75 (before gratuity). We were drinking premium liquor and eating free hot bar appetizers, but still.
As we sat talking, a guy walked in and sat a few tables away. Upper management, from the looks of his tailored suit and manicured nails. Probably in his late 50s. Not fat but kind of soft around the edges. Average looks and aura. To shamelessly borrow from Bukowski:
there he is:
not too many hangovers
not too many fights with women
not too many flat tires
never a thought of suicide
not more than three toothaches
never missed a meal
never in jail
never in love
7 pairs of shoes
a son in college
a car one year old
a very green lawn
garbage cans with tight lids
he’ll be elected
Ten minutes later he’s joined by a stunningly beautiful Asian woman. Early 30s, if that. She sits next to him—not across the table. Peck on the cheek. Chat-chat-chat. He reaches down and produces a small, elegant shopping bag. She opens it, takes out a pretty box. It’s a watch. He liberates it from the stubborn packaging and slips it onto her delicate, porcelain wrist. Kiss.
This struck me as the oldest dance steps from the oldest book ever written. I wish them well and hope they find happiness. And if it doesn’t last, perhaps they can find some moments of peace and comfort in each others’ arms.