Last week, The Observer discovered that before Middlesex writer Jeffrey Eugenides got socked in the face on NJ Transit, he enjoyed a $520 meal — complete with wine, cocktails, and deep conversation — from celebrated Central Park seafood spot Marea. His partner for the night was Farrar, Straus & Giroux head honcho Jonathan Galassi. They ate a lot of fancy fish and probably enjoyed themselves!
It’s too bad, then, that the author of this Fall’s anticipated novel The Marriage Plot got pelted by a guy screaming a song about his testicles.
We obtained a receipt indicated what contributed to the massive dinner bill, but our info on the drama on board the train was limited to the source that reached out to Page Six (Mr. Eugenides declined to comment).
Limited, that is, until today. An eyewitness reached out to The Observer to set the record straight on the goons abusing Mr. Eugenides and his car-mates. The whole obscenity-laden scene is a bit more, um, fleshed out now.
Our man on the scene is a 29-year-old who works in real estate. He was headed to his central New Jersey home from the city after finishing a class at NYU and a “night out with a lady.”
The tipster, who asked that we not disclose his name, was seated a few seats away from the writer. Like the hostess at Marea, he had no idea who the man was. Man, it’s tough being a writer these days! You’d think that if Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett starred in the movie adapted from your book, you’d get a few head turns, right?
Here’s the start of the tale:
Myself and my date were seated a few seats away from the gentleman –- who never identified himself throughout the ordeal, nor did anyone know who he was, although we found it odd that he was wearing a scarf in 90 degree weather –- the sign of a mentally disturbed person –- or a putlizer [sic] prize winner…
Style takes sacrifice, tipster! OK, sorry, go on:
The group was a bunch of 4 teenagers – no older than 21, two men, two women, the two men were highly inebriated, the women were screaming before they sat down “oh boy this is going to be a crazy ride” clearly they all had a combined IQ no higher than 10, and probably have no idea what a Pulitzer Prize is, nor how to pronounce it. The Twitter user is just merely using the situation to incite his apparent disdain for Mr Eugenides. Their MO during the entire trip was cursing (not just about their genitals) and they were told numerous times to be quiet by the passengers on the train, particularly because there were children all over the place.. Apparently Mr Eugenides had enough and smacked the cell phone out of their hand.. The drunk got up in his face, and was confronting him when suddenly he punched him in the face, then his whole group ran away to another car. When the train stopped at Newark Penn Station, the doors were not opened until NJ Transit police got there and they apprehended the suspect. The NJ Transit Police asked numerous bystanders in the car to identify the assailant and everyone pointed out the correct person.
So it appears justice has been served. The witness also insisted that the Twitter user who fessed up to the crime — “@cyberhack7” — was a fake, as the attackers were four in number and had no animus toward the author regarding his work.
And despite apathy toward the guy’s novels — “I had never heard of Mr Eugenides… nor do I really care” — the witness reiterated Paris Review editor Lorin Stein’s claim that the man had proved himself a hero.
“I just feel bad for the nice guy who was just trying to keep peace and got fed up on a NJ Transit Train,” the witness said.
As for Mr. Eugenides, we do hope he’s recovering. Unlike others involved here, we do care about his fiction. As soon as our editor finishes his galley of Marriage Plot (hurry, dude!) we’ll tear right into it.