(Pages 8 – 11)
… so that is why we should never pity the homeless, but rather, understand them on our own terms. With that said, exploring the unknown portions of this city will reap you gigantic rewards and delightful opportunities. It is up to you to explore these possibilities. This reviewer did just that, stepping into dozens of situations that she did not necessarily solicit, but was surprised and delighted to have unearthed. What follows are a few of said discoveries—a handful of tasty morsels plucked from the bouillabaisse of my three-day urban outing. In no particular order:
—Tony, an amicable imp garbed in a sailor’s hat, sheet-metal spats and a strangely workable kerchief, impresses easily (Times Square Red Lobster, southeast exit). Style is not Tony’s métier (e.g., the desperation of a jig that’s performed for a crisp $5 bill) but his mischievous exuberance more than makes up for any practiced spontaneity. This waif is a filthy joy to behold … 8 Cardboard Boxes.
—The insane are plentiful in the Big Apple, but one unhinged woman in particular is worth making that roundabout search to exhume. North of Houston Street and east of Third, “Mary Mother of the Sun” exists in an alley rife with assorted garbage and overstuffed with a heavy, meaty fortitude. When you encounter Mary, be sure to (slowly and quietly) inquire about her recent “death.” She entertains with her flair for the dramatics, and for this she wholeheartedly deserves … 6 Cardboard Boxes.
—Amuse me with your antics, “Mr. Brandywine”! Tapping his way into one’s heart, this aging gem sparkles and glitters with a tingling energy that never seems to waiver. 10 Boxes for you, sir, and a rain slicker for your “sick child.” Located, quite conveniently, next to the Gramercy Tavern Dumpster. Pitch-perfect and accessible.
—What can be said about “Jimmy Loco Jam”? His act is wonderful: Wrapping an earth-toned towel around his head so that he may ward off all incoming “devil thoughts.” Yet in his unfortunate failure to utter an appropriate “thank you” after receiving two perfectly legal pieces of tender, this non-hero’s rating must plummet to a modest and humble 3 Boxes … of detergent. Attention Jimmy: more focus on colors, less on attitude. Weekdays: 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Weekends: noon ’til …
—Entrance to the Baby Gap in SoHo: “Chatty Natty,” sexy, fun, pregnant. Naked. Astonishing. Let’s throw in an extra box for grins! 11!
Are there many other street characters to find and enjoy? You bet! Off the top of her head, this critic can name at least one more that never failed to amuse and astonish:
— “High Test Man,” an accessory-laden gentleman existing beyond the perimeters of both fashion and common sense, is a fascinating study in oxymorons and self-destruction. Interesting, yes, but also extremely dangerous. One may take the risk but please be forewarned: A propensity for sniffing gasoline and an addiction to lighting matches makes High Test Man a cruel combination in sensational theatrics and bizarre potential … Four Boxes. [Intersection of Jefferson + Henry … Free Parking behind Methadone Clinic.]
For now it is your turn! To search and enjoy! To pack with you a camera! To carry with you a pocket full of tender! Greetings from New York, New York, city of character, city of opportunity, where a certain Mr. Brandywine awaits, dancing and spinning in delicious anticipation of your immanent arrival …
Dance, Mr. Brandywine, dance!!!