Category Archives: so new york

Only In New York


At midnight last night I sat in a wine bar in the lower east side. The dimly lit restaurant was appropriately full for the hour, but was still teeming with life. One of the eggshell colored walls had an old, cracked sign that said “Fromaggio” hanging by some twine on a rusty nail. Even though we ordered the cheapest glass of red that they had on the menu, a very beautiful and very foreign waitress came by and poured the nectar into a vintage glass carafe, which of course made it taste like ambrosia. The bartender, next to his candlelit bar that was artfully cluttered with an international collection of old Perrier bottles and handblown glassware, was so handsome that I was glad for the dim lighting, as if his true beauty might be too overwhelming in the daylight.

“This place is cool,” I said. As the tea lights flickered, I thought how lucky I am to live in New York. Here there are very few misses. Every restaurant is the best food you ever tasted and has an ambiance and character that is incomparable to anywhere else you’ve ever been.

As we walked home, two guys in bowler hats asked us if we wanted to partake in some LSD usage with them. Ha, we said. Like we need to be high on such a beautiful night. We kept walking and the city lights sent us on our ways, taking the bowler hat’d men to the Hudson and us to the East River, never to cross paths again on this tiny island. “Only in New York,” we said.

No. Not “Only in New York.” I have been in SEVERAL cities where strangers in ironic clothing have solicited me to get high with them and I’ve been in many wine bars, including one in Orange County, California (specifically, Disneyland) with that same “vintage” ‘Fromaggio’ sign.

I’m coming to realize that every place of business in New York City creates an ambiance that causes me to say “this place is cool.” when in reality, it’s all just a big distraction to the fact that New York has the same people, the same drama, and the same problems as anywhere else.

My friend David said it best; New York has better lighting. Crazy people are sweet and fun because they’re sleeping under the beautiful Brooklyn bridge instead of a sad freeway in Compton. Wine tastes better because you’re looking at the Empire State Building while sipping it. People get away with ridiculous clothing because having an outfit that looks like every member of The Salvation Army threw up on you is considered having style.

I also can’t decide if places of business in New York are actually very unique and cool on their own, or they just decorate them crazy ways to try and one-up each other, like Vegas. For example, I recently went to a bar/concert venue/homemade sweets shop in Brooklyn. The stage was lit with blue twinkle lights and there were headless barbies hanging from the ceiling. Bookshelves lined the walls and everyone there looked like a young librarian from an old Stanley Kubrick movie. Everywhere your head turned there was something fun to look at; a chandelier made of colorful condom wrappers, horse-shaped salt and pepper shakers, an assortment of vegan cookies. “This place is cool,” was the general reaction.

I was about to hoover a dairy free snickerdoodle when a short guy wearing a grey blazer and purple ascot started hitting on me. At first I was intrigued, but then I saw that he was so drunk he couldn’t even keep his eyes open. He told me he was divorced, from Miami, and in a band. Then he asked me to do LSD with him. I declined.

It was then that I realized that the bookshelf lining the walls was full of books that my mom donated to our library back in 1987. A few people tried to “read” the books but quickly found that the shelves were filled with mostly outdated calorie counters (“All your favorite name brands!”) and copies of Catcher in the Rye that had been run over to look older than they actually were. I’d done more interesting reading in the bottom floor of an Urban Outfitters. The horse salt and pepper shakers were caked with mildew and the condom chandelier was kind of melting. Plus, I’d seen that brand of Vegan cookies for sale in Elephant Fun Deli on C Street where I buy my toilet paper.

This was just a bar that had could only afford a location in the middle of Brooklyn on the very shady Malcom X Blvd. To compensate for the danger that their patrons were in by coming to the place, they filled the venue with junk that looked cool from afar but was broken and uninteresting up close. That included the clientele.

What would be considered the site for the beginning of a horror film anywhere else is trendy and sought after in New York City. It’s the lighting. Like beer goggles, there are New York Goggles.

It seems that New Yorkers need ambiance as some sort of validation. For what, I don’t know.
When I went to my neighborhood Laundromat and saw that all the tables were made of Legos and painted to have chess sets on them, I felt like it was their way of saying “See? We’re better than everyone else. We have are so cultured that we can make soiled garments trendy.”

And yet, the guy at the machine next to me was really struggling with the pizza sauce stain on his favorite boxers. Just because it was New York pizza didn’t make the crisis any different than the typical problem of stainage that exists across the nation.

Perhaps the need for incredible ambiance is just another reason for New Yorkers to feel they’re better than those who live outside the five boroughs. Listen, I know I can’t call myself a New Yorker, but I don’t think I’m better than anyone, and I’m not about to judge someone based on the fact that they don’t live here. Despite this town being ‘the center of the universe’ and ‘unlike any other place in the world,’ drunk guys still hit on me, people still try to sell me recreational drugs, and I still don’t know what fromaggio means.

Paying ridiculous rent to live in a cool place doesn’t promote you to a higher level of the human race. We just are who we are and New York just is what it is; and that’s an incredibly awesome city where virtually everything makes you say “This ___ is cool.” There is simply no denying that it is way more entertaining and fun when someone hits on you in New York than when it happens in Orange County. That pizza that the guy at the machine next to me had eaten could have come from a 24-hour hole in the wall, but it was probably so delicious that it caused him to remove his pants with joy and drop marinara sauce all over himself.

New Yorkers are the same as every other human in the world, but this city is where they all come to melt together in one giant Fromaggio.

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Filed under brooklyn, LSD, pretentiousness, so new york, twinkle lights

I Joined the Circus

When I got here, the first ad I saw on Craigslist asked me to “Step right up and apply for the HOTTEST positions in NEW YORK CITY NIGHT LIFE.” It was for a carnival-themed bar and nightclub. The ad was for a walk-in interview for all positions; go-go dancers, bouncers, security guards, bartenders and “booth attendants,” and it was right next door to where I was (stealing Internet at Staples), so I went.

I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. My hair was doing that thing where it inexplicably looks like I’ve been riding in a convertible all day. At the place (a high-end bowling alley) there were a lot of girls with tattoos and guys with ringleader mustaches. I saw a few midgets too.

I was really intimidated. The only open audition I’d ever been to was for my sketch comedy group in college, and I’m pretty sure I was still drunk from the night before for that one (To try out I performed that scene from Zoolander where Owen Wilson pulls his underwear out of his pants). At this open call however, these people were not attention-starved drama nerds wanting to be on a comedy team. They were people with checkered pasts and lighters with their names engraved on them. The only thing controversial on me was a pack of matches stolen from the Mirage hotel. You know, for emergencies.

By some twist of fate I was hired as a bartender on the spot along with a girl who didn’t speak English but was super hot and Asian. Now I work at a Carnival-themed bar that’s a lot like Dave & Buster’s.

First thing I learned about joining the Manhattan circus was that this bar is very corporate and very sterile. There are three managers, two women who used to be servers and a really cool ex-bartender who mumbles.

We had a seminar run by one of the female managers where we got to sample the food that will be offered at Carnival so we’re able to suggest to guests what they should order. We went through each menu item and after every single one we had to go over “suggestive selling.” For example, if a guest gets Taquitos you should suggest they get a margarita.

Our manager would say after each dish she described, “what do you think would go with chicken corn dogs, hmm?”

We were always silent when she asked these questions, because really, what DOES go with corn dogs? Soda? A Heart Attack? Corn dogs don’t exactly have partners in flavor. But whether it was corn dogs or mozzarella sticks she would ask us this, and none of us ever had the right answer, because her answer was always “white wine.” After she described the chicken fingers and asked this question I yelled “white wine” out of turn and got a laugh from the guys in the corner. She looked at me like she was going to fire me right there in front of everyone. I now know better.

Tonight we will get to sample the drinks which I’m not looking forward to because they are melted candy mixed with alcohol, a lethal combination for me and many others. One is blue curacao, rum and gin with Swedish Fish on the rim. I haven’t had Swedish fish since I binged on them right before my last comedy show and then promptly chundered red goo in the girl’s bathroom of CGS. Red goo that would not flush down. I never told anyone that because I didn’t want it to get traced back to me, but I doubt any Boston University janitors are reading my blog.

One drink is called the “dunk tank.” It’s served in a gigantic 3-gallon plastic container. It’s 30 ounces of liquor and a whopping $70. It’s also bright pink, so I can guarantee I’ll sell it to Daria when she comes.

Yesterday we sampled the most expensive of our beers, the Coney Island Albino. It was a white lager, which are pretty rare. It tasted like pee to me when I sipped it. It was like someone took a Hoegaarden and said, “I think I’ll add some pee aftertaste to this already perfect beer, just so people know it’s from Coney Island.”

I looked over and saw one of the other bartenders chugging her glass like it was freshman year. She then chugged the rest of mine. When I stared at her with judging eyes she told me she was eighteen and in her first year at NYU. I then realized why I was hired after having only 1/3 of an interview. They don’t really care.

Meanwhile, the club is coming together in preparation for the soft opening this weekend. There are carnival game booths lining the walls and a giant dunk tank in the middle of the room. Guests can buy a “tanked kit” which gets them a shirt, shorts and a towel. They then get to sit in the dunk tank and their friends can try to get them tanked.

There are also carnies all over the place. Tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, contortionists, and some girl who makes out with her snake. This club also books a lot of celebrities. Brtiney Spears is doing the opening (supposedly) and one night they’ve double booked two acts; Paris Hilton and a chimpanzee show.

As I’m working I keep seeing really rich 12-year-olds coming in with their parents. They’re looking for the perfect place to have their outrageous bar or bat Mitzvah. This annoys me, because as a Jew I can attest, we don’t tip well. It also reminds me that I’m living off of my Bat Mitzvah money right now, and using it to buy booty shorts and fishnet stalkings so I can work at a Coney Island-themed bar. I just don’t know what my rabbi would make of that.

I wish that I could get a real job instead of whoring myself out to so many different ventures. I’m freelancing for everything I can get my hands on, that includes green contracting companies and African American women’s interest magazines. I guess it feels kind of good to let go of the pride that comes with having a degree and just put myself out there for the world, but not that good. I mean, maybe this will go someplace. Perhaps if I work hard enough, I’ll be the bearded lady one day.

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Filed under bootyshorts, carnival, chimpanzeeshow, drunkchies, new york, paris hiton, pushupbra, slowkids, so new york, zoolander

Vamping it up

I don’t have any internet at the apartment so I’ve been spending time at a café with free wifi up the street. The people that come in have been very interesting. Not as interesting as the regulars at the “little person friendly” bar across the way, but some really loud and rude NYU biddies came in yesterday and made one of the waitresses cry. This was the conversation.

Biddie: Where are you from?
Waitress: Eastern Europe.
Biddie: Yeah I know but where?
Waitress: Moldova?
Biddie: Oh. That makes sense.
Less rude Biddie 2: Where is that?
Biddie: It’s where vampires are from.
Less Rude Biddie 2: But where?
Biddie: Eastern Europe, dumbass.

The waitress then cried for a little while because she’s foreign and it’s okay to cry when you’re foreign, and I took this as an opportunity to pay for my drink without having to leave a tip. Now that I’ve typed that out I realize how awful I am. But I mean, what’s a vampire gonna do with a dollar anyway?

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Filed under biddies, east village, rude people, so new york, vampires