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Entries in New York City (8)


A Talk with Staten Island Chuck

I didn't create this image - thanks to whoever did!This Groundhog Day, Staten Island Chuck once again proved hard to handle for a New York mayor. I caught up with the radical rodent for his frankest interview to date.

Did de Blasio drop you, or did you jump?

Ha! Let’s just say I wriggled.

Was that a political statement?

What do you think? I bit Bloomberg to show my support for the 99%. If you include rodents, the percentage is actually much higher. So, De Blasio got elected as a progressive, but he doesn’t get a free pass. If you want me to interpret my own symbolism, the point was: don’t drop the ball. I’m the ball in that metaphor.

Have you always been a political animal?

Not really. I just do what comes naturally. Look, February 2nd arrives, and I’ve been hibernating. These guys show up with TV cameras, and I’m like, "Hey, it’s not a good time! Do you realize I’ve been living off my own urine for months? I need to eat!" So I just go with my gut, I improvise. The political justification comes later. If you read a lot of Marx and Foucault, you sort of see, "Yeah, that’s why I did that."

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VIDEO: Werewolves of Brooklyn (Ah-ooooooh!)

Uh oh. Halloween is coming. Better watch out for werewolves, especially if you live in New York's most populous, and some say hippest, borough!



NYC Frankenstorm Preparedness Kit

"City officials say they will use the same response plan followed during Hurricane Irene last year," said NY1. So I put together the same supplies:


Tax Day: The Thrill Is Gone

Now that I’m a mature adult (married-filing-jointly) and do my returns online, I miss some of the old rituals of Tax Day -- that annual celebration of the art of procrastination. Until recently, I used to wait until April 15, then embark on a daylong reconnaissance mission -- finding forms, rounding up W-2s and 1099s, and unearthing receipts in exotic locations in my apartment. By 10:30 p.m., I would have calculated my salary, wages, and tips, itemized my deductions, checked "no" to a gift to wildlife, and I'd be ready to go -- to the main post office at 33rd Street and Eight Avenue in Manhattan, which is open all night.

One year when I arrived, the TV news was there on the steps, interviewing some of the procrastinators. People had set up Chinese massage chairs and were offering stress relief for a few bucks. A group showed up with banners and bullhorns to protest the war. The Lyndon LaRouche folks were there, promoting Lyndon LaRouche. (This was before the Tea Party existed.) Some old ladies were selling homemade cookies at a card table. There was a display with free samples of Knorr's instant cup-a-soup, and California Pizza Kitchen was giving away free pizza. You see, if I had done my taxes early, I would've missed out on this stuff.

There was even a show! A group of drag queens came prancing down the steps wearing huge wigs, sequined gowns, and feather boas. One of them was carrying a boom box blasting "You Gotta Work" by Ru Paul. I looked around at the carnival and thought, “These are my people -- misfits, thrill-seekers, low-level hucksters, master dilly-dalliers. God bless us, every one. This is probably the closest I'll ever get to Woodstock.” Then one of the drag queens nudged me and said, "Honey, you better get that postmarked."

He or she was right. It was 11:55, but I wasn’t ready. I wanted to go to the edge. I wandered over to the pizza table and tried a cold slice of the BBQ chicken pizza, which really hit the spot. I talked to someone about the Yankees' starting rotation. I made my way inside and approached one of the postal workers standing by a giant bin with her rubber stamp. It was 11:59. She gave me a look of "Come on, hurry up!" I presented my envelopes. She took them, but I still held on. I looked up at the clock, the second hand making its way uphill. This is it, I thought: the total edge of human lateness. The Eagles song "Take It to the Limit" played in my head. "Let go," she said. "It's time." 

I'm pretty sure my returns were postmarked after midnight, but they still got in. I like to imagine I'm one of a few people alive who can say that. Outside, looking down on Madison Square Garden, I felt all the tension release from my body. I'd been to the mountaintop. I'd stolen fire from the gods, tempted their wrath, and returned to tell other mortals my tale.

Now I use TurboTax.


Dispatch from the Android Occupation

In the last year, androids have taken over our city.

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