Manhattan Living

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Reason to Love this Economy

Downtrodden Real Estate Brokers

Now you
can suck our nuts. Not long ago they were riding high, charging 18-percent
fees, failing to return our phone calls and making us feel like a loser if we
wanted a studio for less than $2500 a month. Now? They’re slashing fees,
calling with leads and assuring us that we’re better off dealing with them
than with apartment owners directly.

We disagree.
This is—silver lining—a renter’s market (by New York standards).
Because everyone with $15,000 in the bank has decided to buy, for the first
time in years landlords with rental properties are not deluged with offers.
Many are offering no-fee, two-year leases. Get them while you can. The bad times
will end some day, the brokers will be back and the deals will be gone.

Romantic Trend


couple seeks… “I found us a little something,” he said, on one of his nightly
phone calls.

we asked, though we knew the answer.

“A toy.
She’s 22, with long black hair. Cute. Bisexual. She’s totally into
hanging out with us when we get out of here.”


gonna punch a void in her that all the Paxil in the world can’t fill.”

“I can’t

call tomorrow after morning group. She wants to talk to you.”

We have
to wonder: Why is it so difficult to meet a normal chick who wants to fuck us
and our boyfriend? All we want is a cute, intelligently psychotic female who
can execute the elaborate threesome pantomime with ruthless enthusiasm: She
instinctively knows the act is an equal mix of Scores, Duran Duran video, Hustler
lezzie spread and catfight.

Most importantly,
the ideal Ms. X would know how to be cordial. There would be no teary phone
calls, no weird tension. If she talked behind our backs, she would say only
nice things. This twitching composite of lust, skewed heterosexuality and boredom
is tucked away somewhere right now, and we want to find her. Unfortunately,
all of the potential takers we have unearthed so far have been fresh out of
detox, or needy, or strung out, or hairy.

The obvious,
of course, is this: Women really don’t like threesomes. They love women
only as friends. They’re jealous. Too many cooks spoil the pot, they might
add. But these women probably haven’t had anything on the stove for a long

Those who
do go along with it do so to pacify/appease/completely enslave their man, and
the pleasure they derive from a threesome is a byproduct of the exquisite, blood-hot
shame of seeing the beloved fuck someone else. Does he always look that stupid
when he comes? What the inhibited ladies don’t know is that a threesome
is a good way to be competitive, and they’re often harder to arrange than
a large dinner party. We love a challenge.

we enjoy being one half of a thoroughly immoral modern couple. We roam the beach,
the Xeroxed swinger mags with their pendulous hopefuls, the yoga centers, the
recovery groups, we glance from car to car: Her? What about her? Our last Ms.
X was a wizened lesbian who claimed not to have had consensual sex in five years,
and we left her with a lube-soaked massage table, severe cramps and Achtung
Baby skipping on the turntable.

Not good.

The 22-year-old
was a no-go. She got a day pass from rehab and eagerly met us by the lake, and
our boyfriend watched silently as we wound her thick ponytail around our fist.
She kissed like a girl—breathily, with no muscle, no meat. All void. Not
quite what we were after, but we’ll certainly keep looking.


All Those Bank Robbers and Their Notes

Hand over
yor money, I have a gub. It started quietly last November. It was so quiet,
in fact, that it took a few weeks before we realized what was happening. Hardly
a day was going by without some little report in the dailies that another bank
had been robbed by a man armed only with a note. Some guy walks into a bank,
slides a “give me all your money” note to the teller, and runs away with “an
undetermined amount of cash.” This past spring, the NYPD finally caught wind
of what was up—not bad, given that these bank jobs were happening every
single day
. It was becoming a trend, a fad, and suddenly there were hundreds
of bank robberies by men with notes, most all of them getting away with at least
a little something for their troubles.

There were
a few standouts along the way—the guy in the construction-worker get- up,
the woman in the blond wig; those persistent souls who, having been refused
by one teller, would simply step over to the next teller and get their money
from her instead; the guy who handcuffed the fake bomb to the bank manager’s
wrist. All of them with a little style, none of them harming a soul. Not really,

blamed the banks. The banks blamed the NYPD, but didn’t really seem to
care very much. Despite the best efforts of both parties to control the flow
of small amounts of cash out the front doors in a variety of parcels, the gentle,
quiet bank robbers continued going about their business, day in day out. And
we salute them and their nonviolent ways.

Way to Keep Brown People Out of Your Park

No Más Futbol

really football anyway. Used to be, on Friday nights on a dusty field under
the Triboro Bridge, real teams played football with referees and everything.
On Sunday mornings, there was baseball, a few of the players aping David Wells’
conditioning program. And at just about any other hour, there was soccer. Sometimes
there’d be formal games that took up the whole field, but usually they’d
play sideways, four or five games, each confined to a precious 30 yards of the
field, maybe six or eight players a side endlessly catching the ball on their

sure, in Astoria, and Americans pale and otherwise. But the players were mostly
South Americans, a lot of short, broad Colombians, Ecuadorians and Peruvians
by the look of them—and no wives and kids mucking up the sidelines.

That was
then. As Manhattan rents sent flocks fleeing to safe and accessible Astoria,
as property values leapt and old houses were razed for brick boxes shoehorned
into lots, it was time to sanitize the only park in the area.

A brand
new, six-lane track was installed, the sort festooned with exercise stations
with guidance on the perfect sit-up and a bunch of “No Ball Playing” signs.
If that wasn’t enough to demoralize a working-class community’s green
space, along came two lines of trees, some six in a row, bisecting the field,
one toward one end, the other closer to the middle.

Try playing
futbol now, Jose.

A few stragglers
migrated to the grassy hills elsewhere in the park, but it’s tough to generate
any momentum, one leg shorter than the other. It’s worth it, though, because
without all those short, squat brown people sneaking peeks at the pale pony-tailed
set, the whole neighborhood is safer for the recession emigres.

Absolutely Useless NYPD Initiative

Cops on Segways

And speaking
of making criminals laugh out loud. Our initial suspicion upon hearing that
cops were being put on Segways in midtown was that it had to be the result of
some kind of product placement deal the struggling Segway company cut with the
NYPD. What other explanation could there possibly be? We can understand these
things being used by mailmen or meter readers—but regular cops?

Think about
it—you take already overweight and slow-moving beat cops, put them on cumbersome
devices that promise to keep them from getting any exercise at all, then send
them out onto the most heavily trafficked sidewalks in the city? Not only are
they going to become one more enormous pain-in-the-ass obstacle for the rest
of us to get around—what happens if they actually encounter, say, a crime?

atop a Segway—the dink device of 2003, and maybe even 2004 and beyond—NYPD’s
finest aren’t likely to be chasing any of our better crooks on a machine
that tops out at 12.5 mph. If it does come down to a chase, they’re going
to have to stop, chain up the Segway to something, then undertake their pursuit.
Why not just leave them on bikes, or horses, or in cars—or best of all,
on foot, which might help a few of them actually drop a couple pounds?

Security Lapse


Wide open.
For a recent trip to a friend’s wedding in Massachusetts, we paid for our
Amtrak ticket online, providing a credit card number and the barest of personal
information. On travel day, we simply got on line at Penn Station, showed our
ticket and walked down to the track with our two large duffel bags, one of which
contained a jumble of electronics.

The office
building above Penn Station, 2 Penn Plaza, is like Fort Knox, with guards checking
identification and calling parties down to confirm visitors. We admit that this
is a good idea, but if there are concerns about terrorism, shouldn’t someone
look at the open doors provided by Amtrak all day long?

not just Manhattan—it’s everywhere. With so much money—and criticism—thrown
at the airlines to buckle down, what of America’s largest private rail?
Their trains run through every major city in America, and we can’t remember
the last time a ticket-taker looked twice at our ticket.

convinced that the Ground Zero checkpoints and lobby patrols and cops pulling
Operation Atlas duty amount to nothing more than Manhattan’s Maginot Line.

Best Reason to
Blind Yourself With Lye

Belly Shirts

baby—hide a little skin. Lord knows we have no problem with people who
decide to wear revealing clothes. The only problem we have is with the fact
that most people—an enormous percentage of them, really—who decide
to let it all hang out simply shouldn’t. Not when there’s that
much that’s going to be hanging out. And this past summer’s predominant
fashion trend—belly shirts—made that all too evident.

In most
of the cases that we were subjected to—and there were thousands this past
summer—clothes that were designed for young, slim, fit women were donned
by women who were too old, too flabby, too pregnant and had too rampant a skin
condition to justify such attire. We don’t want to sound sexist or ageist
or whatever some will undoubtedly call it here, but Jesus Christ! We’re
out trying to take a peaceful stroll when suddenly we’re confronted with
this enormous, gray, bare gut bobbling straight toward us, squeezed and
distended, the bellybutton lost in a wink of flesh. And if they’re walking
in front of us, we find half a fat, wrinkled ass staring back, threatening to
flop out completely with every step. Well, there goes lunch.

to what the ads might imply, belly shirts do not make the unattractive more
attractive. They make them instead seem pathetic, desperate and delusional.
What’s more, these clothes apparently also leave the people who wear them
oblivious to the looks of horror and dismay—not to mention pity—shot
at them by everyone they pass.

Thank god
winter’s coming soon. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the big
fashion trend next summer involves clothes that fit.

Subway Ad

Dr. Zizmor’s “Strength and Courage”

As if he
didn’t have troubles enough. Competition this year for “Best Subway Ad”
has been unusually fierce. There was the Bronx Zoo’s ad for their new tiger
exhibit, which showed a child hand-feeding an ice cream cone to a full-grown
tiger. The MTA was up there, too, as usual, feeding into the city’s heightened
level of paranoia with their “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign—as
well as their list of subway do’s and don’t’s to avoid causing
another terrorist scare that would fuck up service.

Also in
the running: the Bud Light ad with the Puerto Rican giving us the finger and
the hateful “We Love Smoke-Free New York” campaign, with its photo of a smiling
group of smug waiters and waitresses—all of them just asking to be slapped.

question, though, this year’s champ was Dr. Z. Never one to let the cheapest,
tackiest ploy go unused (even if it’s almost two years late) Dr. Zizmor—New
York’s most recognizable dermatologist—went above and beyond this

The list
of skin diseases was still there, as were the rainbow and Dr. Z’s smirking
mug. But now the ad reads, “Doctor and Mrs. Zizmor Congratulate New Yorkers
on Their Strength and Courage.” And sure enough—there’s the otherwise
unnamed “Mrs. Zizmor,” in big sunglasses and a floppy hat, Photoshopped in behind
the doctor (suggesting to us that it was really just Zizmor himself in disguise).

at first the “strength and courage” bit seemed a clear reference to the 2001
attacks, the fact that it only first appeared so late in the game soon had us
convinced that at heart, it was really a reference to those hapless New
Yorkers who’d dare drag their pimply asses into Zizmor’s office.

Kick in the Nuts by the MTA

“Sometimes You Have to Go Backwards to Go Forward”

Go forward
yourself. It isn’t enough that the MTA has hiked fares while stripping
us of our beloved, though under-appreciated, token booths and clerks. Now every
time we step onto a steamy platform from a freezing train we’re confronted
by patronizing paper signs bearing the slogan, “sometimes you have to go backwards
to go forward.”

So that’s
why we’re paying $2 for the same ride that a few months ago cost 25 percent
less! Does the logic follow that sometimes we need to give more money to get
more money? Is there a rebate in our future? Doubtful.

At the Atlantic
Ave. hub, we were completely abandoned by a local 2 that refused to take passengers
forward, so we tagged along with a group of pissed off passengers who seemed
to know where they were headed. Soon enough, our fellow stragglers had found
their way, leaving us with no more options. Construction workers ignored us,
and those MTA workers one finds directing lost souls at 42nd St. were absent.

the “backwards to go forwards” signs—the only explanation offered up for
screwy service. We wandered downstairs and nervously walked across an empty
LIRR station platform, through a maze of temporary, blue-wooden hallways, to
another paper sign that finally identified our train line and direction (penned
sloppily with marker). Eventually, we arrived somewhere near our destination.

News for
the MTA: While you’re taking more of our money, we’re doing an awful
lot of going backward. We don’t exactly go forward, we just got to where
we were going in the first place, you cocksuckers.

Williamsburg After-Hours

The laundromat on N. 3rd St., between Bedford & Driggs Ave., Williamsburg

We hear
they wash clothes, too. We knew it was a bad idea, doing that last line of meth
in the bathroom of whatever bar it was. We’d started at work, six o’clock
or so, needing the chemical kick to push through happy-hour pleasantries with
coworkers. Then we ran wild for a bit, flirting on a coupla buzzy catch-up hours
with acquaintances.

At three,
we chased in that bathroom. At four, everything was closed, everyone was gone
and we were alone without a comfortable couch and television for the comedown,
no warm body welcoming us into the bed. We were right fucked.

bars and clubs and parties are easy to come by—if you’re an attractive
woman or if you’re hanging out with attractive women. Or, simply, if you
have friends. Typically, we didn’t qualify, so we wandered Bedford, hoping
to stumble upon others in the same situation. Eventually, we came upon the 24-hour
laundromat on N. 3rd St.

Where there’s
a Miss Pac-Man/Galaga combo arcade game. The latter just so happens to be the
only arcade game we’ve ever been good at. It was our game growing
up on the Jersey shore, stalking from arcade to arcade, scouring coin-return
slots for quarters and pumping the proceeds into this superior sequel to the
Space Invaders rip-off Galaxian.

Six games
and two hours later, we could feel the tickle of tired finding its way topside.
We wiped our brow and went walking again. An hour in the park staring at the
skyline, smoking a joint and sipping lemonade, we were just about ready to fall.
Off to the L, back to the island, a few blocks home and sleep until noon.

Corporate Trend

Revoking of Casual Fridays

Pol Pot
wore khakis. Yes, yes, in the corporate world. Casual Fridays are still around,
especially in the summer. But we get the sense that after a high-water mark
in the mid-90s, they’re dying out. Frankly, we’d gladly wear a tux
every day to further their demise.

In the offices
we’ve seen, Casual Friday involves a bunch of overpaid, commuting white
dudes strolling around in short-sleeved knit shirts with a demeanor that suggests
a ruler up their asses—as opposed to the usual yardstick. What does “casual”
mean to frightened automatons like this? To us, it means a t-shirt, ragged shorts
and sneakers. The only corporate staff we see dressed like that is in the mailroom:
the messengers who earn the right to always dress casually by not earning enough
money for the work they do.

So, no more
Casual Fridays. They’re too glaring a reminder of how dislocated those
striving to be the ruling class are from any vestige of common sense. The day
we see a CFO strolling in with a sleeveless Def Leppard t-shirt and kneeless
jeans will be the day we reconsider.

Female Fashion Trend to Adopt

Le Buttcrack

club. In the past year, girly couture has moved beyond thongs, beyond low-slung
hip-huggers, beyond the lower back tattoo—and achieved a newer and even
more glorious apotheosis with the brave display of asscrack. At this rate, the
three-inch rise should give way to bare pudenda fashion some time by decade’s

like Daniella Clarke may not have originated the full-on buttcrack look (plumber’s’ve
been honing it for decades, no?), but Clarke’s popular Frankie B line of
jeans does succeed as the first major commodification of the half-bare bum.

The urge
to reveal, in extremis, is something we can grasp. What remains a question for
the ages is why female crack is so exciting and good while the male stuff is…not?
Perhaps there’s a squad of semioticians out there right now, searching
for the answer. In the meantime, we do not mind this trend, so long as the right
women are hopping on the bandwagon.

Reason to Shout “Cunt!” at a Disembodied Voice

Claire, Sprint Wireless’ AI Assistant

Can you
hear me now, bitch? For someone who isn’t real, Claire sure has a way of
chafing our tits. Yes, dear Claire: everyone’s favorite illiterate immigrant
from the digital world. Claire: Sprint’s artificial intelligence that’s
genuinely stupid.

Thanks to
some starry-eyed IEEE member out there, an increasing number of major corporations
are switching over to digital operator software that—or so the pitch goes—employs
speech-recognition technology and thus makes our lives easier. We’ll
admit that wading through push-button menus is annoying, but we fail to understand
how talking to a comprehension-impaired machine is supposed to make anyone happier.

far from Luddite, but talking to a non-entity leaves us feeling schizophrenic.
To help us overcome this discomfort, Sprint attempted to pull a Simone
and gave form to the digital dust of Claire. Extrapolating from the red pullover,
fashionable short hair and almond-shaped face offered on the Sprint website,
she’s exactly who we hate: a khaki-clad, SUV-driving, Jersey mom who thinks
she’s saving the digital world with her voice- answering system.

Fuck you,
Claire. No, you can’t help us. Fuck you, Claire, we were speaking
clearly. Fuck you, Claire, and fuck your technological advances and fuck your
entire species. We’d rather retreat to the land of landlines than face
a future of you and your kind. Were you only real, we’d find you and sodomize
you with our piece-of-shit Sprint cellphone.

A little
heads-up to other companies considering the switch to a vox-recognition operator:
When it comes to customer service AIs, we’re in the middle ground of efficacy.
Until the boys at MIT make strides significant enough for them to work,
stick to the honest bumbling of human operators. Claire may be fake and all,
but the universal resentment of her sure is real.

Male Fashion Trend to Avoid


At least
trim a bit. He was a poncey little piece of Noho trash. Greasy, black, shoulder-length
hair, all slack and louche with one hand jammed deep in the pocket of his low-rise
jeans, the other describing a helix of bullshit to go with the nonsense he spoke.

She was
pretty. A young Asian girl, undecided, apparently, as to whether she wanted
him or wanted to blow him off. Each time he lay the rap on too heavily, she
backed off the sidewalk and into Elizabeth St. He would then reach out, grab
her elbows and pull her back to him. When she finally told him he couldn’t
come home with her, he got angry.

“Come on,”
he yelled.

“No,” she
yelled back.

your problem?” he said, jamming both hands in his pockets in a full-on pout.

And that’s
when we noticed it: his massive, hairy bush. Pubes down to the top of his junk.
Dark short hairs, blowing out over his trou, beckoning like anemone palps. Flicking.
Fluttering. Filtering dirt particulate from out of the passing breeze.

She, too,
noted this cornucopia of curlies, and a curdle came over her face. Placing both
hands on his hips, she yanked upwards, issuing a command more guys of a certain
generation should heed:

“And by
the way, you should really pull up your pants.”

Cause to Wonder What the Hell City This Is

The Smoking Ban

Ciao, NYC.
Not too long ago, really, New York had a reputation. We were not only the biggest
city in the nation, we were also the toughest and the scariest. We were the
world capital of vice. The tourists came, yes, but they did so to be able to
go back home and tell people that they’d visited New York and survived.

Look at
us now.

Put a couple
of schoolmarms in the mayor’s office and what do you think is going to
happen? Times Square is sold off to major corporations who have their own reputations
to maintain. Dozens of ridiculous “quality of life” laws are created—though
never the ones that matter. Snapple pays the city more than $100 million and
becomes the official sponsor of the New York City public school system. (Think
about that one again: Our school system has an official beverage, AND IT’S
.) Everything’s prettier and cleaner and nicer, and doozy of
doozies, we can now no longer smoke in bars.

Rarely has
such an ill-conceived piece of “public safety” legislation been shoved down
the throats of the public it’s supposed to protect. In the guise of “safeguarding
the health of bar employees,” it has led to a massive drop in business, crowds
of surly drunks blocking the sidewalks, more noise complaints and at least two
deaths—but you can follow all that in the Post.

The smoking
ban was, simply, the last big step in transforming New York from the King of
All Cities into just another small-minded provincial burg—albeit with a
glandular problem. The city that never sleeps now needs to take regular naps.

and Only Supporter of the Smoking Ban

Our Dog

Wows for
bow-wow. We’d like to add our wiggly little pitbull to that wee constituency
of prigs and asthmatics won over by the mayor’s ban on indoor smoking.
She’s a social dog, a lover of love and a giver of infinite licks. And
since the policy went into effect last spring, it’s been nothing short
of an attention windfall for her.

La vita
couldn’t be any more dulce for our doggie now that most nights of the week
see a different gaggle of steakhead girlfriends smoking between us and our front
doorway. Half-cocked and feeling the love, they invariably clamor around her
to coo and to stroke. Sometimes they even plop down on the sidewalk and make
out with her, not realizing that her snout spends a fair bit of time up other
dog’s cracks. But hey, let’s face it—be it inside a bar where
they belong or out among pedestrians, a schnockered idiot will do what a schnockered
idiot will do. No faint reek of doggie ass is going to deter the scores of knee-walking
Friday-night drunks who choke the sidewalks and cloud the air with their tar-tinged,
secretarial-pool desperation. Which is exactly as our pooch wants it. As far
as we can tell, she’s okay with smoker’s breath, too.


Presumed to be courtesy Bansky (UK)

Socially Aware Tourist Attraction

Critical Mass

A bicycle
built for 200. Too much social-justice stuff is grueling and thankless. Not
so at a Critical Mass outing, where you can tool around the city on your bike
with a couple hundred people. Some call it “activism lite,” because it’s
more about the fun than the message.

On the last
Friday of every month, all manner of bike riders gathers for a trip through
the city streets. Whizzing down Broadway, grinning like a banshee, other cyclists
and the occasional Rollerblader alongside and behind and in front of you, often
as far as the eye can see—it’s quite a rush.

Many recreational
riders express reluctance about taking part—afraid they’re not fit
enough, or that their bikes aren’t sophisticated enough, or that the pace
will be too demanding. No need to fret. Everyone can participate, on any bike.
You’ll see antique Schwinns and three-speed Raleighs and seven-foot choppers
and fixed-gears and hybrids and mountain bikes and fold-ups. Cyclists of all
ages and abilities come along, and with that many bikes, the pace is normally
no speedier than a brisk amble.

The first
time a little kid on the sidewalk catches your eye and sets to hopping up and
down frenetically, squealing with glee at the spectacle of hundreds of mismatched
people on mismatched bikes, your heart will melt, even if it’s January
and you’re otherwise numb. Sure, Critical Mass has pissed off a motorist
in its day, usually, but not exclusively a Beemer or Escalade, but it’s
mostly rounds of cheers pressing you forward—coupled with the flashing
of digital cameras. To us, that’s the coolest thing about Critical Mass—every
month a crew of tourists will interpret this sea of cyclists bum-rushing the
avenues as just another piece of New York City.

Activity that Shouldn’t Be Condoned but You can’t Help Applauding

Masturbating on Tourists in Rockefeller Center

Gee, Midge,
what’s this stain on the back of your shirt? Everything in life is a trade-off.
If all the bums and delinquents had to be run out of Times Square and the rest
of Midtown so we could attract tourists, then they should be allowed to fire
off a jizzshot on the back of some diabetic from Iowa in swooshy fat pants every
now and then. Questions of morality (and health code) aside, we give these guys
a certain amount of credit for having the balls to whip it out in public. They’re
certainly a braver lot than the frotteurists who rub against women in crowded
subway cars.

All we ask
of delinquents is that they be up front about it.

Simulation of New York City

New York City

Paging Mr.
Philip K. Dick. Edging out the Las Vegas reproduction of New York City as the
best simulation of New York City is New York City, though the previous got serious
points for its eerily prophetic omission of the Twin Towers when it was constructed
a few years ago.

The “real”
New York City—i.e., the place we’re living right now—is a mere
shell of what it once was. Yes, there are still signs of life—real people
struggling to live real lives—but the emasculation and sterilization of
this once-cultural capital has spread from Times Square throughout midtown,
down deep into Greenwich Village, over to the east side, across to Hell’s
Kitchen, leaving few neighborhoods untouched.

The end
of the world’s never seemed closer, and yet neither has the MTV-birthed
belly-shirt/faux-tough persona seemed more essential yet vacuous. There’s
a constant exchange of endless “urgent” messages—via billboards, via flash
ads, via signs atop every single bit of available public space—without
fear of shame or repercussion. Where are we headed? We recently envisaged a
future with hard-baked chartreuse subway cars with “New York Means Business”
painted on the side, and conductors in variegated shades of jump-suit. The male
newscasters will soon wear shirtless overalls. Little triangles will be cut
out of women’s pants—they’ll be called “Hot & Moists” (but
the modicum of dignity we all require will preclude their being worn at the
workplace—except perhaps on “Freaky Fridays”). Million-dollar plasma ads
and the latest world news and stock prices and weather in Japan will flash non-stop
in miniature, holographic Times Square replicas all over town. There’ll
be maybe four blackouts a year—at first.

And when
all is said and done, the rats will wear business suits and the nightly ratcasts
will talk of “people—some as big as fifty times our size—seen
climbing up buildings at night.” Hollywood, decades after moving out of their
own lots to film reality on the streets of New York, will once again return
to the stage sets—the cinema veratistes among them—to recreate the
“real” New York of their memories.

Appalling Litigation

The Body Bag Lawsuit

Fordion Packaging Ltd. of Hackensack, NJ

The rigormortis
racket. At a time when private citizens flocked to donate supplies, food and
pints of their own blood in a sad attempt to assuage the aftermath of a national
disaster, Fordion Packaging was the company tapped to produce and deliver body-bags
to the World Trade Center. New York City requested 100,000 of them. (At the
time, we had no idea of the extent of the attacks, how long they would last
or that there wouldn’t even be enough bodies left intact to warrant a fraction
of this order. No one did.) New York City attempted to return the bags on the
grounds that they were not constructed to specifications.

This year,
Fordion actually had the balls to file a federal lawsuit against our city for
the cost of those unused bags, plus interest ($203,388, now $310,420). Fordion—which
also, fortunately for them, supplies bags to the U.S. military—argues that
other clients’ orders were waylaid while they scrambled to meet our apparently
extravagant demands.

the precedent this might set. Can we sue the Red Cross for misrepresentation
and get our plasma back? Plus interest?

all biting the bullet these days, but last time we checked, the death industry
in this country wasn’t exactly floundering. It’s more than enough
that our newly hiked taxes will drive thousands of New Yorkers to New Jersey’s
cheesy malls and needle-laced beaches.

Hey, Fordion—if
you’re really lucky, maybe some of us will drop dead while we’re over
there smoking in the bar. Have a little class, you pricks.

Best Way to Score
Special K

Befriend a Veterinarian

Dealer of
Veterinary Medicine. For several years, the feds played a cat-and-mouse game
with this animal tranquilizer. No one could quite figure out how its manufacturer
could justify shipping such huge quantities. We never complained, so long as
the supply lasted.

Then Special
K was reclassified as a Schedule III drug, and the coveted Ft. Dodge label became
as scarce as polo shirts at the Black Party. Sure, we could live without it.
But it was so easy: Just open the bottle, pour into a Pyrex dish, set the oven
at 300 and in 30 minutes, presto! Enough of the residue to scoop into a gram
bottle and up, up and away.

use as a club drug probably reached its apotheosis when Club USA named its Sunday
gay night Bump and featured a three-story slide it called the K Hole. We’re
especially proud of our friend Ken, who introduced Timothy Leary to K; he then
reportedly used it to slip into an easier death. Most of us will have to settle
for the average disembodied K-hole experience.

(On a side
note, our favorite howler will always be Frank Owens’ compendium article
in the Voice, in which he authoritatively stated that sex was impossible
while high on K. Um, sorry Frank, but a lot of us could’ve told you otherwise.

We have
a friend who likes Special K so much, all his friends call him Kitty. Like the
rest of us, Kitty’s hardly satisfied with counterfeit Tijuana brands or
the Japanese stuff that couldn’t put a turtle to sleep. Maybe it’s
just a coincidence that Kitty has become such good friends with Artie, who is
setting up a new practice on the West Side as a cat doctor. Or, could it be
the pharmacy-grade K that Artie would willingly share at the Roxy? Either way,
we’re not asking questions, as long as we get a taste now and then.

Homegrown Public Service Announcement

Wacky New Fad That Isn’t

Flash Mobs

Flux you,
too, pal. The news stories first began appearing in early July. There was a
crazy new fad sweeping New York, they said, even though few of us who actually
lived here were aware of it.

They called
them flash mobs, and they involved large groups of people contacted via email
gathering together at a predetermined public spot—a park, a store, a hotel
lobby—doing something silly for a few minutes, then dispersing quickly.

“In the
latest occurrence,” one early news report had it, “about 200 people converged
on a Central Park ridge across from the Museum of Natural History… Once
in place, the mob tweeted like birds and crowed like roosters, chanted ‘Na-ture,’
and then dispersed… If you’re wondering what’s the point, there
is not one.”

we thought, these are wacky hijinx if there ever were!

Before you
knew it, every major news outlet was doing a “flash mob” story. And suddenly
flash mobs themselves were popping up not only in New York, but London and Vienna
and Italy and Germany, too. Why, this Wacky New Trend was bigger than goldfish
swallowing or flagpole sitting! And what’s more, it was something no one
had ever done before! Not ever in the entire history of man on Earth!

Yes, yes,
yes. Well, nobody’d done it for a while at least. Plus they’d given
it a new name, which is something.

In the late
60s and 70s they would’ve called such a thing a “happening.” Later, snooty
types called it “performance art.” When we were involved with this sort of pranking
in the 80s, we never bothered to give it a name, thinking that giving it a name
would give it too much meaning. Before that there was Fluxus, before that there
was Dada, before that there was…

Every modern
(and postmodern) generation, it seems, has played with some sort of variation
of the same thing—but most of them never got national news coverage. They
just were.

Then again,
to be fair, most every generation that’s pulled something like this thoug