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The Smartass Guide To New York, Part 3

I should mention at this point one of my main reasons to go to New York. I wanted to see a celebrity. New York is a place where celebrities live. So I wanted to see one. This is a service I provide. They put a lot of work and effort into becoming someone I would care about seeing. It seems ungracious for me to not then try to see them.

And I mean a real celebrity. Not someone nobody gives a shit about like Noam Chomsky or Bill Clinton. I mean someone awesome, like Oprah or O.J. Simpson or Paris Hilton.

No luck yet.

We started our day by going to the park and getting sandwiches at ‘wichcraft. This is a sandwich chain in New York that has followed the standard Manhattan business plan of taking something plain and ordinary, putting arugula in it, and charging ten bucks. They have good sandwiches, they are expensive, and eating there helps to set you apart from the flip-flop-wearing tourists from Nebraska who can’t get over all the tall buildings and black people.

Then we went to Rockefeller Center. That is where NBC shows are made. Going on the tour there is a good way to see a celebrity, but a celebrity sighting you paid for doesn’t count. It’s like bragging to your buddies the next morning about fucking a blow-up doll.

While there, we got chocolates at La Maison du Chocolate. This place flies over its chocolates fresh from Paris. They are amazingly good and very expensive. But hey, the prices for the flight and hotel room already stretched your asshole out real good, so treat yourself.

From there, it was a short jump north to the Museum Of Modern Art. Newly back in business after a lengthy remodel (during which it was temporarily in Mordor ... sorry, I meant Queens), it is very cool. That is, it’s cool if you’re an overeducated tosser like me who gets off on looking at paintings all afternoon.

MoMA is large and full of awesome things. It deserves a good chunk of time. It also costs $20 a head, but, after what you spent on sandwiches and chocolates earlier in the day, you’ll barely notice. A lot of their art is cool. It also has a lot of the stupid modern stuff, like Jackson Pollock and those paintings that are just a white square. You can look at those and pinpoint the exact moment at which art pretty much gave up.

I love a huge variety of art, but I’ve been trying for 20 years, and I can’t see Jackson Pollock for beans. But, remember. If you don’t like random splatters on canvas, you’re stupid. Better to pretend, save yourself the shame, and make other people feel dumb instead. That is how you win.

My favorite part of MoMA was the Design section. This is where they have the original designs for everything in our lives we take for granted. The office chair you’re sitting in while you read this? They have the first one of those ever made. Nobody but me thinks this is neat.

We rounded out the day with dinner at the Gramercy Tavern. This is currently one of the hottest restaurants in the country. Fantastic, unusual, arty food. Very inventive. Reservations required well in advance. Fancy clothes not required. Bone-jarringly expensive. Try not to listen to the couple from Australia next to you cooing about how reasonably priced everything is.

On the way back to the hotel from the Gramercy Tavern, we walked by Totally Baked, a small restaurant. Very shiny and new and trendy. And it served baked potatoes. Only. You pick from a wide menu of toppings, and they give you a baked potato designed to suit your specific baked potato needs.

This is so very, very Manhattan. On the surface, it’s a terrible idea. Then you think about it, and you realize that it’s a really, really, really terrible idea. Nobody wants dinner to be a baked potato. Or, if you do, you have a very low self-esteem. You can do better, really.

But somebody has a dream. He sees the new food sensation that will sweep the nation: baked potatoes for dinner. And he will create it, swept to fame and fortune on a tornado of glorified side dishes.

Whom the Gods would make mad, they first give a touch of divine inspiration.

Back to part 2

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