Monday, December 31, 2012

Priced to go.

Spotted this New Year's Eve special a block and a half from Times Square.  Four six-packs of Budweiser for $20.  Cash and carry. 

Heckuva deal considering individual 16 ounce cans of Bud go for $2 a pop at the local bodegas. 

So for revelers on a budget, seemed like this sidewalk sale was quite the bargain.

Unfortunately, no takers.  This enterprising chap packed up his al fresco shop without a nibble after about 30 minutes of futile hawking.

He probably needed a beer.

This Bud's For You


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Okay, I get it.

The Big Booty Bread Co. (West 23rd Street between 7th & 8th, that's the owner's caricature on the front window) sells "badass cookies & cupcakes."

Booty.  Badass.  The play on words is duly noted.

But come on, can a Red Velvet Cupcake truly be peddled as "badass"?

Which got me to thinking...just where did the word "badass" originate anyway?  Someone had to combine "bad" and "ass", but who and when?

Etymologists aren't totally sure.  It seems this term for "tough guy" started to show up in 50's slang.

But what about the original "badass" gangstas before then?  What were the legendary badasses of history called?  Fearsome fellows like Atilla the Hun, Vlad the Impaler, Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, William (think "Braveheart") Wallace...badasses before the word was coined to describe them as such.  Somehow, pinning a label like rogue, knave, scoundrel or scamp on any one of them just doesn't seem to have the right gravitas to attach to such illustrious men of mayhem.  Hannibal a "ruffian"?  I don't think so. 

Nowadays, it seems "badass" just isn't what it used to be, not when poseurs like Vin Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson can pass for what is known in our acronym-crazed world as a BAMF.  So maybe calling cookies and cupcakes badass isn't such a stretch after all.  But really, $2.95 for a Triple Chocolate cookie? 

Killer Cookies

Friday, December 28, 2012


Apparently it's the new watchword of NYC's panhandler populace.

Duping the public with bogus sob tales ("It's my birthday and my mother just died!") to rake in a handout is so last year.  Now it's full disclosure!  Transparency!  To snare a few bucks on the streets these days requires ditching the deceitful old-school tactics and reinventing oneself as a purveyor of the truth and nothing but.  Word is out: Admit to your failings and reap the rewards.  After all, who doesn't feel a pang of empathy for a fellow human being owning up to his vices and divulging his demons? 

The candor is at once refreshing...and disarming.  Sure it's a ploy, but one with a cheeky undercurrent (wink-wink) that catches us off-guard, amuses and causes one to pause and consider a donation...which is, after all, the point.  Too often it's too easy to dismiss a beggar by ignoring his or her pleas.  Make us laugh though with a clever bit of wit and, well, by golly Miss Molly, that's worth the trouble of digging into the pocket for some change! 

In ancient Greece, the philosopher Diogenes--who himself lived in poverty and slept in a large stone jar--wandered the streets of Athens, lantern in hand in broad daylight, looking for an honest man.  2500 years later, the search can at long last be called off.  Honesty, it seems, is right in front of our eyes. 

Oh, and in case you're wondering...yes, I did contribute to the beer-food-weed fund.  Why lie?

Sign Of The Times


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" in New York City quite like...

The Naked Cowboy.

Yep pardner, there he was in all his buffed glory and tighty whities working the matinee crowds today despite the holiday and brisk winter winds.

Robert John Burck II has been doing this same shtick in Times Square for over thirteen years now, but he's come a long way from the bare skinned busker who posed for photos for two bucks a pop. These days he's Naked Cowboy Enterprises, with a trademarked name and image he licenses out to companies to peddle products like oysters, as well as offering franchise opportunities to Naked Cowboy and Cowgirl wannabes. Yes, this booted, skivvied, twanging troubador in a 10-gallon hat has become a brand and has the merchandise--from T-shirts, hats and underwear to aprons, mugs and magnets--for sale on his website to prove it.
Two days ago this catholic schoolboy from Cincinnati, Ohio, a political conservative who cites Nancy Reagan as an inspiration, celebrated his 42nd birthday and one wonders just how much longer he can continue to muster up the moxie to titillate tourists.

For now, gotta give this urban cowpoke his due: Rarely has someone done so much with so little.

 Hardest Working Man In Show Biz

Monday, December 24, 2012

She's still got it.

Fifty years after her death, Marilyn Monroe can still catch a man's eye and turn his head. 

This iconic image of MM was snapped in Manhattan early on a September morning in 1954 while she filmed a scene for the movie "The Seven Year Itch".  The subway grate she perched atop was located at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street.  Technicians positioned below aimed fans upward to billow MM's white halter dress and expose her undies--a double pair, by the way.  This was the mid-50's after all and besides, uber-jealous hubby Joe DiMaggio was lurking nearby on the set.

Fourteen takes of the scene were shot, but because of the large, disruptive crowd that had gathered, none were deemed usable by Director Billy Wilder.  He recreated it later on a movie sound stage with a much more modest knee-level exposure of MM's gams.  Of course, the salacious original photos were chosen to publicize the film.

The dress sold at auction recently for about five million dollars.  This guy's pants shouldn't be sold PERIOD. 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Heeeeeeeee's back!

Or is he?

This past week in Gotham City a 34-year old New Jersey man dressed as the video game icon Super Mario was busted for groping a 58-year old woman in Times Square.  He "allegedly" grabbed her inner thigh and is charged with forcible touching.

But is he THIS Super Mario seen trolling the sidewalks today?

Impossible to say, since a few Super Mario's (and his brother Luigi) ply their trade--along with assorted Mickeys, Minnies, Elmos and you-name-it pests dressed as warm and fuzzy kid-friendly characters--posing with suckers, er, tourists and strongarming them for a "tip" afterwards.  No telling who is beneath the mask.  And that's scary.  And creepy.

Oh, and the topper?  The Jersey guy was also nailed for pot possession.  What, no mushrooms?

Need A Plumber, Lady?


Friday, December 21, 2012

And so we begin...

With a young entrepreneur doing what so many have done before him--the Times Square hustle.  Gotta give him major props for conjuring up a slightly new twist, however.  "Free Hugs", come and get 'em!  And they do.  In droves.  Hug seekers aplenty.  Apparently hugs are in short supply (who knew?) these days and this future captain of industry is more than happy (that's not exactly a scowl plastered across his mug) to fill the demand.  Thing is, they aren't quite free.  A small donation is suggested post-snuggle.  Yes, this purveyor of squeezes, this emperor of embraces, this commander of the cuddle gladly accepts tips--shocking!  I suspect franchises will be available in the near future.  And do I need even mention the obvious perks?

Gotta Have A Gimmick!