Register Sunday | June 16 | 2019

All the Lovely People, Where Do They All Come From?

"Generations ago she welcomed people to a New World, a new beginning."

So I was wrong. I didn’t melt. It wasn’t that hot. The thermostat was turned up, yes, but it wasn’t bad. Dry and warm, and it made me remember what I love about New York in the summer. Short skirts and tank tops. Beautiful women.

SoHo, where I work, is also the home of many modeling agencies and hip, cool, magazines. Still, the ratio of beautiful people to none is absurd. The top 1% of the hot 1% are in SoHo. My friend Stephen wonders if they even know why they are here. Like they wake up in the morning, shower and luffa themselves, pour like plastic into their tight fitting skivvies, walk out the door and enter some kind of warp. They end up in SoHo. All the beautiful women. Most of them you don’t want to have a conversation with, or at least in my experience you don’t. I’ll take exotic any day. Exotic has been challenged, those women have a quirk, maybe two, they have personality. They are intriguing. Beauty, plain beauty, normal beauty, the beauty you’ve been told you want from every ad and every magazine and ever movie you’ve ever seen, is boring. Perfect breasts, blonde hair, and you don’t want it.

Thinking like that is an effect of SoHo. You make distinctions amongst the pretty ones. You classify them, put them into categories, rate them. You even objectify them. Perhaps I’m objectifying them in words right now, but I’d rather think of this as a tribute. They were already objects when they passed by sightline. What else were they? I don’t know them, I can’t tell you about their personality, where they came from, if they give a portion of their paycheck to charity, volunteer time to the needy, or make sure to call their Grandmother at least once a week. They were the thing I was looking at, captured by the F-stop in my head and forgotten at cigarettes end.

I’ve never minded it when girlfriends of mine have been stared at. I have friends who’ll puff their chest at a guy who stares at their significant other. But a glance steals nothing. A quick hello is a quick hello. Past that and we’ll see, but the stare is more compliment than encroachment.

I can understand why people are intimidated by this city. It’s fucking huge. But in reality its 100,000 tiny neighborhoods all blocked next to each other. If you ever visit, if you are a tourist, one of the things you should come and see is SoHo. For the layout as much as the beautiful people. Don’t bother with the Statue of Liberty. It’s green. It’s tall. Perhaps I’m a different form of Patriot (although I’m not quite sure I 100% understand the concept), but the Statue is not something I think anyone has to see. Generations ago she welcomed people to a New World, a new beginning. I understand the concept. So head down to Battery Park, which is a must, and stare at her from the water front. Then walk over to Ground Zero. Look at New York from that perspective. Other things to see: Central Park, without it this city is dead, it has no heart. Central Park makes New York as much as anything else. Fort Tryon, Prospect Park, the Met, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Ocean Beach, the Village, Brooklyn Heights, outdoor cafes, Il Vagabando, Yama, Gothem, KGB bar, Times Square (if you have to, but that’s another place I like to avoid as much as possible), Broadway, Chinatown, Little Italy, New York Fucking City.

But if you come, whatever you do, don’t walk down the sidewalk, suddenly stop, and look up. I understand, the buildings are really big. But when you do this you do two things: 1) You announce that you are a tourist (which New Yorkers already knew, ya kinda stood out), and 2) You piss off the good people of this city. But see SoHo. If you have the proper papers, and you promise not to stay long enough to drop the luminosity index, the guards on Houston Street just might let you in. I promise, it’s different than anything you’ll see. John Updike was right. People who don't live in New York are, to some extent, fooling themselves.