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The Smartass Guide To New York, Part 7

Another day of jetting around the city. As we have done every day, we take the subway. The subway is the magic teleporter under the earth. Once Guiliani got rid of all the crime and homeless people and communists, the subway became a way to get everywhere quickly and cheaply. For the cost of two cab rides, you can buy a pass that gives you unlimited subway use for a week.

Also, the platforms are incredibly hot, and waiting there will cover you with a nice, lubricating layer of sweat. Then, when a homeless guy starts rubbing against you, he’ll just slide right off.

Speaking of which, based on a week’s unscientific observation, New York has no more homeless people. Manhattan has been cleansed of them. Maybe they’ve all been Hoovered up and dumped in the Bronx. Or they’re fighting to the death in some underground sewer arena for the amusement of Russian tourists. Or they’re floating around in barges somewhere. Or they’ve been ground up into hot dogs and are being sold at Gray’s Papaya.

Not that I’m about to complain or get all liberal or wussy on you. It’s really nice. And them homeless dude hot dogs is tasty.

The main attraction of the day was getting together with a friend and going to see the Whitney Museum. This museum is dedicated to contemporary modern American art, with lots of temporary shows.

Now, it is important to remember that, in the middle of the twentieth century, artists sort of freaked out and gave up and just painted splatters and colored rectangles for a few years. But they pretty quickly worked through all of the most asinine things they could do, and then they went back to doing what they should do: Making funky stuff and trying to be interesting. A lot of this stuff ends up in the Whitney.

For example, one floor had a video installation of grainy black and white footage of someone flipping through a phone book and pouring tar on it, while someone offscreen screamed constantly. Sure, that might not sound like much. But at that point in the vacation, I’d look at anything if you put a nice bench for me to sit on in front of it.

So it’s worth going to if you’ve hit all the big museums. (Don’t forget the Natural History Museum. It’s awesome and full of dinosaurs, and even a small dinosaur could have kicked Picasso’s ass.) Or if you really like the modern stuff. As for me, I was glad to hit it so I could say that I did. (Though, if you haven’t been already, tourist it up at the Guggenheim and the Frick Collection first.)

Then we had dinner at Babbo’s. Again. If going to a specific restaurant is one of your main reasons for visiting a city, you might as well go twice. It was fantastic, once again.

Then we went to another musical, the third show we’d seen that week. Because I am, apparently, a big, fat homosexual. We saw Passing Strange, a terrific show that will be closed by the time you read this.

It is worth mentioning, at this point, that every tourist in New York City has to go to one Broadway show. Just one. Any more than that is unseemly and expensive, and it only encourages the people who make live theater to make more of it. Live theater is to entertainment as stone tools are to carpentry and leeching is to medicine.

But, now that you know that you are going to see exactly one Broadway show with the octogenarians and the other tourists, you have to pick it. There are two ways to go about it.

First, you can try to see one that it actually good. You can go see what the New York Times or the Village Voice recommends. You will see something that isn’t moronic, if that’s what you are into. But you are taking some risks.

For example, the show we saw, Passing Strange, was full of rock and roll music and black people. That is why it was closing. The withered ancients who actually go to plays these days are scared of black people and avoid rock music because it angries up the blood. If you are from America’s heartland, I expect it would affect you the same way.

So, since quality is hard to find and scary, I suggest you go to a big tourist cash cow, one of the shitty musicals that have been running for a thousand years. Like Spamalot or the Lion King, if you want to blow a hundred bucks to see a moderately good movie puffed out to three hours. Or you can go see Mamma Mia, the Abba musical, if you are functionally retarded and you don’t care who knows it.

Just one warning. If you go see one of these shows, say Phantom of the Opera, when you leave, real theater lovers will be waiting at the exits to spit on you. And you deserve it. As if this planet doesn’t have enough mediocrity without your traveling across the country to encourage it. Fucking tourists.

Oh. And I finally saw a celebrity! While watching the noisy, rockin’ black people in Passing Strange, I saw one of America’s foremost noisy, rockin’ black people, Spike Lee. So now I can go home.

Back to part 6

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