I almost see stars. It happens daily. They appear briefly out of the corner of my eye. When I look closely, they disappear and dissolve into someone who vaguely looks like a famous actor, a film superhero or a pop singer. This is life in New York City where brushes with the rich and famous are likely to break out at any time. Except when they don’t.
I spotted Art Garfunkel’s hair jogging down the leafy esplanade along the Hudson River. Another man was wearing Art Garfunkel’s hair, but I would testify in open court as to the authenticity of the hair itself.
I saw Mayhem from the insurance commercial pedaling on a bike as I was walking Boo, but it could also have been D.B. Sweeney because they look exactly the same to me. Or maybe neither of them. And I may have seen Kevin McCarthy from Saint Elmo’s Fire with two small kids crossing West Side Highway. Probably not. I need a stamp book they could initial so I can verify I saw them. Where can I get one of these?
It is a beautiful spring day and Leonardo DiCaprio is being filmed in a movie in Downtown Manhattan. He is on a yacht. I am about ten feet from the yacht with Avery. We are walking the dog when we stumble onto the movie set and learn about the movie making. Avery is hungry and wants to go get the hamburger I promised him.
“But this is Leonardo DiCaprio,” I say. “Who is that?” he asks. “The Titanic. Big boat. He slipped under water. Kate Winslet held his hand. It was cold. So cold. He just couldn’t hold on any longer.” Avery nods. “Never heard of it. I’d like a hamburger. Can we go now?” So, we go.
Another time, The Amazing Spider Man Part II was being filmed near my wife’s workplace. A stunt double was hoisted up on wires. He ran across the side of a building while tourists gaped in awe and clicked pictures. Robyn heard about it. Someone from her office got a picture. She never bothered to tell me until she got home. I would have rushed over to the scene. How often do you get to see Spider Man running along the side of a building? Not very. Not yet. Damn.
The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld has a restaurant in Manhattan. He calls himself the Soup Man. But his sign notes, “As seen on Seinfeld.” Legend has it, he is exactly as described in the episode based on a curious customer-is-always-wrong policy. I’ve been too intimidated to go in so far. One of these days, after I watch the episode to nail down the proper Soup Nazi etiquette, I’ll sheepishly enter and get the full experience.
When my niece visited from Salisbury, she was dying to visit Cake Boss. She knows all the characters from the show who are supposedly real-life pastry artists with interesting personality quirks. The original Cake Boss is in New Jersey. I am underwhelmed by almost anything in New Jersey like most New Yorkers. But she was dying to go. She settled for a trip to Cake Boss in Times Square. The cake was great, but I don’t think she got as much out of it as she would have liked.
Jim Carrey was signing a book in a Barnes and Noble around Union Square one day. I happened to be out with my wife and her parents. We had all split up and were going to meet back in 30 minutes elsewhere. I went into the bookstore thinking I would just take a peek at Jim Carrey. He was running late. There were about a thousand people in line with a thin children’s book he had authored. This is how they get you in New York City bookstores. If you want to see a famous person speak, you can’t even get in the room unless you buy his book first. Blackmail! I wasn’t about to buy a children’s book to see the tardy Jim Carrey when I had to be somewhere else in 15 minutes anyway.
Instead of buying a book and standing in line to see Jim Carrey, I stood in line for the bathroom. There are never enough public bathrooms or celebrities available in New York City when you need them. But you rarely experience a crisis when you don’t get to meet a celebrity.
I was in the bathroom when I saw a toddler talking gibberish to a man. We were all standing around waiting in an intimate bathroom line so it was hard to miss. I thought, “How cute is that?” The man started talking gibberish back to the toddler. I thought, “Well, this is getting a little weird. Why not use real words? What are you teaching the child when you go on like that.” Then I realized they were both speaking French, and I am an idiot who took two years in high school and one year in college of a foreign language I never use and can’t recognize when it is spoken right in front of me.
One of these days, Lady Gaga and I will meet up in a dog park. She’ll have a Labradoodle or a Cockapoo or some other bizarre animal like a baby giraffe sporting a leash made of diamonds. I’ll have my dog Boo Radley. She’ll pet Boo lovingly; everyone always does. I’ll pet the giraffe like this is nothing out of the ordinary for me. I’ll pretend I don’t recognize her, playing it cool like a real New Yorker.
She’ll sing a little song for me. No? Nothing? She’ll give me her newest album and her phone number. She can’t stand it when no one knows who she is. Everyone should. I’ll take the number, but I’m not going to go out with Lady Gaga. I’m married. And she’s insane. But more importantly, I’m married.
If I can’t meet Lady Gaga in a dog park and manage to resist her strong physical attraction for me, I guess I’ll have to settle for successfully navigating the line to pass the Soup Nazi’s inspection. I’ll let you know which happens first and how it goes.