Backstage at Madison Square Garden’s Stand Up for Heroes benefit, a double-amputee veteran waited with his mother, as he prepared to go onstage to fulfill his—and probably many other people’s—lifelong dream of playing backup for Bruce Springsteen. Nearby stood a 76-year-old man with one eye clouded over with a diabetic cataract. That man approached the veteran and said, “What happened to you?”
“I lost them in the war,” the young man replied, referring to his lower legs.
The old man fixed his good eye on the veteran and patted him twice—thump, thump!—on the thigh. “Oh yeah, you lost them?” he grinned. “Well, where did you put them?”
A moment of silence passed. And then another. And then the man’s mother began to laugh.
Death of the Middle Class
On a recent January evening, the stretch of East Ninth Street visible from the rain-smeared window of the salon Lovemore & Do was bleary and indistinct. In the haze of fog and car exhaust, it was easy to imagine the East Village as the grimy heart of bohemia it once was.
With hair swept up in a red bandana, stylist Sue Palchak-Essenpreis looks like the standard-bearer of that fading neighborhood ethos, but that morning she had selected her vintage outfit from a closet in New Jersey. Last summer, Ms. Palchak-Essenpreis and her husband Greg, a social worker, were evicted from their apartment at 50 East Third Street. After 16 years in the East Village, they finally gave up.
“I try not to think about it too much,” she said, pulling at the tufts on the pale blue pillow in her lap as she spoke. “There’s a medical center at the end of the block, so at least we have some sirens that make us feel at home.”
The Essenpreises’ story, at first glance, might appear to be just another retelling of the tale that every New Yorker knows by heart: that dark parable of gentrification and displacement more familiar to us than Little Red Riding Hood’s ill-fated walk through the woods.
You know that phrase, “I could listen to him read a phone book”? The implication is that said person is so talented, that they could give a nuanced performance to the most boring material, and you’d still be enthralled.
Unfortunately, there is another saying in showbiz: “If you have to explain it, it’s not funny.”
That being said, here is the very talented Jerry Seinfeld talking in a New York Times video about why words like Pop Tart, chimps, dirt, playing and sticks are all very funny.
While those whose homes and lives were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy might not feel much like hearing jokes, two of comedy’s most famous names plan on raising money for Long Island’s victims with their gift of laughter. And they actually plan on going to L.I.!
Big Apple Idolatry
– In her continuing efforts to upstage that total biatch Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes decided to strip down in a tanning salon lobby in New York and run around screaming “I’m a retired multi-millionaire!!” Said an eyewitness, “There was definitely something wrong with her.” What do you think it was?
Big Apple Idolatry
— Oh yeah, Chris Brown and Rihanna are definitely back together. He even dumped his girlfriend the night before going to a Jay-Z concert with his ex. At this point, we just hope for the best for these two, or at least that there’s a good laser tattoo removal place nearby.
— That letter in The New York Times was no coincidence: Jerry Seinfeld is touring in New York again. (For a better letter to the paper, read his 1999 defense of the Upper West Side.)
Did You Ever Notice?
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld took the time from his busy schedule on this rainy Tuesday afternoon to register a formal complaint with a letter to the editor about Neil Genzlinger’s rant in today’s New York Times. Mr. Genzlinger wrote about the overuse of the word “really” when “delivered with a high-pitched sneer to indicate a contempt so complete that it requires no clarification.”
A note to Neil Genzlinger (“The ‘R’ Word: Really, Really Overused,” Arts pages, Oct. 2):Your Critic’s Notebook column about the overuse of the term “Really?” was so deeply vacuous that I couldn’t help but feel that you have stepped into my area of expertise.
Really, Neil? Really? You’re upset about too many people saying, “Really?”? I mean, really.
On April 24, 1941, Richard Holbrooke was born in Manhattan. And though he spent his last hours yesterday in Washington, D.C. and much of his diplomat’s life crossing borders fighting oppressive rulers tooth-and-nail, he always remained a New Yorker.
And as a testament to that birthright, Holbrooke was a foreign affairs genius who, when he Read More
David Lynch likes to swim in “an ocean of consciousness,” which he was describing to a sold-out crowd at Radio City Music Hall on the evening of Saturday, April 4.
“It is an ocean of infinite intelligence. Creativity. Happiness known as bliss. Infinite universal love. Energy. Dynamic peace,” mused the 63-year-old filmmaker, dressed in a Read More
Trident Media Group C.E.O. and literary agent Daniel Strone oversaw two of the season’s most high-stakes book auctions last week, fielding eye-popping offers from publishers across the city without giving them so much as a proposal for either project. Sarah Silverman’s book, which Mr. Strone sold to HarperCollins on Thursday, went for Read More