Yesterday, I found a small paperback book in a Madison Avenue dressing room. It had a sequined pink cover with “Private!” written on the front and a heart dotting the “i.” I opened a page at random to an entry from last October.
I had an adventure today while exploring the City that’s my new home and new job. I thought crazy fans were the same everywhere but no. Like someone said, “You gotta be insane to live in New York.”
It was warm this morning, so I threw on shorts and a tank top and told my driver, Raffi, to toss my bike in the trunk of the Town Car. “Let’s explore!” I told him, “Let’s go somewhere in New York I’ve never been!”
He said “OK” and we took off. After a few minutes, I recognized SoHo, and told him, “I know this area, I’ve been to Isabel Marant like, a zillion times…and look, here’s Houston Street.” I felt secretly proud that I could say it the right way all the time now.
Raffi told me I sounded just like a native, which is something coming from someone who remembers when it was hard to find a soft serve yogurt shop here! He pulled up to a curb and said, “but I bet you’ve never been here.”
It was a green kiosk with steps going downstairs and a sign with lots of letters. “I’ve been to a zillion underground clubs, Raffi,” I told him. (He’s my new driver so I have to cut him some slack. Besides, nobody goes clubbing during the day, that’s why there was no bouncer.) Raffi said it was a different kind of underground club that many real New Yorkers experience.
“Is it hard to get into?” I asked because I take my duties seriously. I want to make sure visitors can easily get the same experience as we seasoned New Yorkers…but not too easily, you know, because then it dilutes the brand. At least that’s how my agent explained it.
“Well, you need a special card to get in,” Raffi said. He handed me a yellow card with a magnetic strip. I looked at it and compared it with my black American Express card. “Won’t this work?” I asked him.
“No,” Raffi said, “this is a completely different trip from a black card.”
While we were talking, a scruffy looking guy went downstairs, and some really old people — they must have been at least 40! — so I gave Raffi back his card and said, “Maybe later.” I was too polite to tell him he shouldn’t suggest a place called BDFM, like I’d be interested in an underground fetish club for people who still listen to radios. I mean, radios? Seriously? Plus it smelled a little like a zoo.
“OK,” said Raffi, and we drove away and over the Williamsburg Bridge that only we “insiders” call it the WillyB; New York has so many cute nicknames for everything!
“Raffi,” I said, “I’ve been to Billyburg!” (See, nicknames!)
“Not this part,” he said. “I guarantee you have never been to this part.”
He parked on a street corner and opened my door, and as I walked to the back of the car. He handed me his jacket. “You might want to wear this,” he said. He’s so sweet, worried about me catching cold, but really, it was like 90 degrees out! I told him I was fine.
He shrugged and said I should take just one quick spin. “I’ll be right here,” he reminded me. He looked at my tank top again and told me not to go in any stores and not to stop. Honestly, he must think I’m a child.
I didn’t get far before I saw fans waving and shouting at me, as usual, but I never saw people dressed like that and I’ve been to exotic places (even Long Island). But I’m all about diversity, just like this city, so I smiled and waved but that just got them angry. I don’t get it. They all had beards, which are hip, and they all wore black, which is hip, and they all wore hats, which are hip. (Or was that last year? I forget.) Anyway, they were all yelling and waving and running and I slowed down to hear what they were saying.
Up ahead, I saw Raffi at the car, waiting by the open trunk and frantically motioning me to hurry. I turned to blow a kiss to the group, and they went absolutely crazy. (My public!). I sped up and left them all behind. Raffi grabbed my bike, tossed it in, and shoved me in the car. He took off so fast! I think it’s called a “New York minute.”
”That was close,” he said.
I just laughed. Only here could I find a new twist on crazy fans, and they gave me a great new word that I bet only real New Yorkers know. My cell had no signal, so I couldn’t Google it, but I figured Raffi would know.
“Raffi,” I said, “I think I found another New York word for visitors to learn.”
“Really?” he said. “Just now?”
“Sure, I told him, “I got the idea from those crazy fans back there because they kept yelling it over and over.”
“Really?” he said. He sounded a little worried.
“Yes, but I can’t Google it because I don’t have cell reception, but I bet you’d know. What’s a shiksa?”
Raffi looked at me in the rear view. “Don’t get me started about that,” he said. I wonder what he meant by that?