WTF Weds: 5 Mostly True Short Stories About New York

Posted on
Jun 13, 2012

Rand and I spent a few days in New York City last month.

The city was bright and busy and full of crazy. There were a million stories being written all around us: tourists seeing their first Broadway play; couples falling in love; and whatever was going on with that drunk guy in Times Square.

Here are five of my favorite stories from one of the best cities in the world. Enjoy.


Confession: this photo is not of Fifth Avenue.

One time I saw Jay-Z on Fifth Avenue. He was wearing a pristine light suit, he had no visible pores, and despite the heat of the day, his brow showed no signs of sweat. I opened my mouth to say something to him (though I have no recollection of what it was. “You are beautiful,” while apt, seems too mundane, too obvious). But before any words could pass my lips, he looked at me, smiled, and disappeared into a cloud of lavender smoke, leaving the corner on which we stood smelling of expensive cologne and masculinity.

I am mostly unfamiliar with his music.


In 2004, at the age of 23, I encountered a woman on the subway who, by all accounts, appeared to be of sound mind. She immediately disproved this assumption by asking me if I was the actress who had stared opposite Tom Cruise in Rain Man. While this is no small compliment, because Valeria Golino is truly a lovely woman, she is also 15 years my senior, and speaks with a rather pronounced Italian accent.

When I explained to the woman that I was not, in fact, Ms. Golino, she stared at me and said, “I’m pretty sure you are.” She did so with such conviction that, to this day, I wonder if she was right.


There was a time when a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery would give you an orgasm every time you bit into one. A real, honest-to-god, convulsing-until-your-toes-curl orgasm. Their patrons were mostly women, perhaps owing to the logistical problems a man might encounter after eating one of their confections. After being featured on Sex and The City (if you are unfamiliar with that program, let me extend my congratulations), the bakery became even more popular, with lines extending out the door and down the street.

The quality of the cakes, however, went downhill. Perhaps the supply simply couldn’t keep up with the demand. Or perhaps – and I’m sure you’ll agree that this is the more likely case – the cupcakes simply rebelled. After all, why should they provide droves of women with orgasms, while never receiving one in return (and ultimately being destroyed in the process)? For the cupcake, it was like being in a relationship with a selfish, incompetent lover. Who also happened to be a zombie.

Nowadays, the cupcakes are still pretty good, but not I-have-to-change-my-underwear good.


I once saw a well-dressed young man squat down near a crowded subway entrance in Soho, and take a poop. It was two in the afternoon. The metro officer patrolling the area was displeased.

It not like the sign says "No human pooping."


I recently saw James Earl Jones perform in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man on Broadway. Mr. Jones – and, in fact the entire cast – was wonderful. And while I wish him the best in his career and in his health, I couldn’t help but hope he’d have one of those temporary glitches of the mind that befall us all at one time or another, and he’d forget his lines. And instead of having the other actors cover for him, he’d simply wave them off, walk to the front of the stage, and start reciting huge portions from Star Wars.

And it would be the best fucking play, ever.


Leave a Comment

  • I love your subway story. The funniest things happen there. I once had a lady sit down next to me and start talking in a foreign language. When I interrupted to let her know that I didn’t understand a single word she was saying, she looked truly perplexed and said, “you’re not Polish?” She then said a few more words to me in Polish, just to make sure. I still chuckle thinking about it.

  • Michaela for HaveDeals

    Perhaps the woman on the subway knows something that you don’t. This is definitely something you should explore!

  • Dan

    I once met and/or chatted with three famous people within a half hour in NYC. Two of them I encountered purely by chance, and the other was Billy Joel, whose autograph I had waited in line for six hours to obtain. I love that city.

  • Oddly enough my family and I just saw a person pooping in an open alleyway around 3 in the afternoon in Seattle. We had taken a very poorly chosen route to get to Safeco Field from downtown. It sure was memorable for our out-of-town guests, though.

  • Ruth

    I saw James Earl Jones in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in the West End, and he actually DID forget his lines – but it was in the middle of a big, rambling monologue. So he just kept rambling, totally improvised, until he worked his way back to the actual lines. The actor opposite him was just like “mm hmmm….” periodically. I only know it happened because I was with a huge theater geek who was like “that was like 2 minutes of speech that’s not in the script”

  • Hmmm… I may have two experiences which combined rival your one experience with the well-dressed man defecating on the ground.

    In a Cambridge, MA liquor store, mid-week, and mid-day, I saw a woman in line at the register with her pants AND underwear down around her knees. Everyone, including the cashier, just acted like it wasn’t happening.

    Also, in South Station (Boston) I saw a huge pile (like HUGE) of human dung on the floor next to a toilet in the ladies’ room.

    Ah, a million stories….

  • Great stories that could only happen in NYC. One of the most dynamic and entertaining cities in the world.

  • So, it’s our own body against all of civilization…

  • I’ve never tasted Magnolia’s cupcakes but a friend of mine shares the same opinion of their current quality.

    I once saw a homeless person put down newspaper and drop a deuce near Columbus Circle. Nasty but a bit considerate.

    I saw an empty seat next to a lady on the E train and sat down. I then realized that she was wearing a belt around her neck with a tank top (it was still fairly chilly) and didn’t feel comfortable catnapping so I got up. Another lady gladly took the seat.

    My friend and I watched a man perform a routine of removing his glasses, licking his finger tips, and rubbing the spit around his eyes for about 20 minutes.

    I grew up in Brooklyn and each summer every so often Mike Tyson and his entourage would visit the area. This was in the mid to late 90’s when he was still “Mike Tyson”. He was an average height guy with a huge upper body and arms that stuck out instead of hanging at his sides. I thought it was pretty cool that he was completely unfazed by a bunch of random kids running up to touch and poke his arms.

  • Nikko Viquiera

    It’s my first time visiting your blog. And I have to say, I’m in love 🙂

  • theopensuitcase

    Two parking lot attendants insisted my 19-year old daughter take a picture with them for their boss. They thought she was Kelly Ripa.

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • Wonderful show with the most handsome man in the world. #osf
  • The meals that my beloved is able to make in tiny AirBnB kitchenettes never ceases to amaze me.
  • It begins! So excited, @osfashland!
  • Take note: if you ask your husband if you can move to NYC roughly four dozen times, he will start to cave a little.
  • Incredible reading by the love of my life to a packed room at NeueHouse Madison Square. So proud of you, @randderuiter, and the amazing emcee work by @michaeliconking.
  • Re-posting this photo that @wilreynolds took of us and his youngest near the beach outside of Lisbon. We're back home now, and I can't decide what I miss more: this little guy and his brother, or Portugal. Actually, scratch that. I know.
  • This place looks like a damn fairy tale.
  • Lunch with a view of the water, and some of the best seafood of my life.
  • The entire drive from Sintra to Lisbon looks like this. It's just miles of blue sky and rocky beaches.
  • No filter. This is just what Sintra looks like.

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.