Image courtesy of Peter Davis
By Chris Vespoli

So, here we are — standing at the brink of yet another turn of the calendar. My, how time flies! It seems like it was only yesterday that we were ringing in the two-thousand-and-fourteenth year of our Lord (Beyoncé), and alas, now we are saying goodbye. Hark and you may hear heartfelt lamentations rising up from all corners of the City, “Oh, 2014, we hardly knew ye!”

…Actually, on second thought, we knew you, 2014. We knew you all too well. You were a long, caustic year of controversy, unrest, and general stupidity, filled to the brim with cringe-worthy news stories that made our skin crawl. So, New York City, here is your Year in Awkward.


Dylan Farrow calls out Woody Allen in The New York Times

Bill Cosby may be the Hollywood sex scandal du jour as 2014 draws to a close, but back in February, New Yorkers were regaled with the latest, sordid chapter of the Woody Allen child sex abuse saga. The allegations, if true, are horrific — not awkward. But what is? Having to endure the major shade haters throw our way every time we admit we’re fans of Woody Allen in public. Let’s face it; the guy’s a cinematic genius, not to mention a New York legend — so we’re willing to separate his personal creepiness from his technical brilliance. Just think of him as the Jewish Michael Jackson.


Mayor De Blasio drops groundhog, groundhog dies shortly thereafter

Long before the police unions accused the him of having cops’ blood on his hands, our lanky Big Bird of a Mayor was the harbinger of death for Staten Island Chuck – err, Charlotte? — this past Groundhog Day. Granted, groundhogs and New York City mayors have a checkered past (Chuck famously bit Mayor Bloomberg in 2009), but De Blasio was the only public official who dared escalate the rivalry with a cold-blooded murder. Think of the children, Bill…”Did the groundhog see its shadow, mommy?” “Yes, dear…and it was the last thing that poor bastard ever saw.”


SantaCon vs. the Millions March

This might surprise you, but there isn’t much communication between white-entitled, bridge-and-tunnel kids and black, culturally-minded activists. This led to an absolute shit show when SantaCon (a shit show in its own right) was held on the same day as a city-wide protest of police brutality, leading to the two groups clashing on the streets of Manhattan. (We should really start a shared Google Calendar for scheduling purposes, you guys.) No amount of explaining can do justice the cringe-worthiness of a liquored-up college frat bro in a Santa hat mocking people protesting racial injustice, so just watch this eyewitness video:


The naked subway man

As if gropers, “man spreaders,” scam artist panhandlers, and people who eat full meals on the subway weren’t enough of a blight on the NYC transit system, 2014 introduced us to a new scourge: naked drunks. We first got wind of the problem when the Post published a photo of a man passed out in the buff while riding the A train…on the front page (stay classy, New York Post). The man was later identified as Ed Haines, a 40-year-old homeless man and self-proclaimed nudist. To make matters worse, it was revealed that Ed likes to also sit bare-assed on benches in Madison Square Park, allying perfectly with our fears that everything in this City is covered in fecal matter.


Crumbs shuts down, we out ourselves for loving irresponsibly large cupcakes

Though a number of its stores have reopened under new management, Crumbs gave us a scare over the summer when the bake shop announced it was closing the doors for good at its 48 locations, causing widespread panic among the City’s confectionary connoisseurs (read: fat people), myself among them. It was pretty awkward confessing to people that not only did I enjoy eating the monstrous blobs of cake, crème, and frosting that masquerade as cupcakes with regularity, but I was severely depressed by the notion of them going away. Thankfully, they’re here to stay, and so is my adult-onset diabetes.


Group announces plans for swimming pool in middle of East River, forgets East River is where the mob dumps its bodies 

Those of us who have lived here long enough to know about the unclean shenanigans that go on in the East River shuddered at the thought of actually swimming in its putrid waters. Sure, the people behind the proposed floating pool claim its purification system will protect bathers (all of whom will probably be clueless transplants) from contaminants, but people are sure to panic once the first bloated corpse gets stuck in the filter.


Yankees celebrate Jeter’s last game like they won the World Series, team doesn’t even make the playoffs

Already eliminated from postseason play, Derek Jeter’s final game at the Stadium was a meaningless venture for the Yanks, but that didn’t stop the team, its fans and sports writers from celebrating like idiots. Meanwhile, nobody was brave enough to cut through the fanfare and state the uncomfortable truth that the organization is in dire straits. The overall consensus on Jeet’s thrilling walk-off, game-winning hit was “you couldn’t have scripted it any better,” which leads us to assume that everyone has forgotten that the Yankees used to win championships.


#myNYPD hashtag backfires

In April, the NYPD encouraged Twitter users to tag photos of themselves with members of the force using the hashtag #myNYPD for a chance to be featured on Facebook. Given the public’s not-so-rosy perception of the police, even before the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, you’d think someone on the NYPD’s social media team would’ve seen how this could backfire. No one did, and people expectedly flooded the hashtag with photos of purported police brutality and misconduct. Whoops!


Taylor Swift releases “Welcome to New York,” is named City’s global ambassador

There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having to witness a white bread country girl who thinks buying a $20 million penthouse in TriBeCa makes her a “real New Yorker”  be rejected by the same public whose praises she was only trying to sing. But that’s exactly what happened after Swift released her New York anthem — that is, an anthem for the romanticized version of New York that Sex and the City propagated and for which bright-eyed Midwestern girls yearn. The backlash among New York natives against Taylor was, well, swift…and warranted.


Peter Pan Live!

This bastardization of a children’s classic emanated from a sound stage in Bethpage, Long Island, unfortunately making it a homegrown production. Over 9 million people watched this train wreck careen, explode, and smolder live on NBC, and nothing can be said about it that hasn’t already been said in countless castigating Tweets. Christopher Walken’s Captain Hook? Lethargic. Allison Williams’ teeth? Alarmingly white. Alanna Saunders’ Tiger Lilly? Not in the least bit Native American. We should’ve learned our lesson after NBC’s insufferable update of The Sound of Music in 2013, but we didn’t. And that’s always been our problem in this City.

We’re just gluttons for awkward.

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