Given its recent problems, you'd think the editors of New York Times
would do everything in their power to make readers out of the 56 people
who actually stay in Gotham over summer weekends.
You'd think they would want those sad, city-bound asses seated on ripped
red pleather bar stools, hunched over the Weekend section of the Times
in some dark, piss-and-Bud-smelling dump where the AC sounds like a jet
turbine, the barkeep is crankier than Qusay Hussein without his heroin
supply and the pickled eggs are the choicest item on the "menu."
But instead, the Times encourages people to run out and frolic all weekend
long. The editors of the Weekend's "Spare Times" section put
on their little "community newspaper" visors and suggest real
stuff for those 56 people to go do. There are listings for "events,"
"attractions," "gardens," "recreation,"
and -- my favorite -- "walking tours."
They're innocuous crap, like this one: "NOSHWALKS. The food and
culture of Sunset Park, Brooklyn sampled tomorrow at 11 a.m., meeting
in Brooklyn in the parking lot of the Hong Kong Dynasty Supermarket, Eighth
Avenue at 60th Street. Fee, $18."
Maybe New York isn't Sin City, but there's plenty of sin going on here.
Try these seven deadly walking tours instead.
The tour visits excessive beliefs in one's own abilities. Combines
interference with the individual's recognition of the grace of God with
tastings at local ethnic restaurants. Meets tomorrow at 11 a.m. outside
Howell Raines's old office at the New York Times on 43rd St. Stops at
taverns frequented by O'Henry, Jayson Blair and Lance Burton: Master Magician.
Fee: $12; $9 for Condè Nast interns who've slept with some HBO
producer, gays and Donald H. Rumsfeld.
"GLUTTONY: A RAMBLE."
Combines stops at -- among others -- Alain Ducasse and Gray's Papaya
with a stroll through the inordinate desire to consume more than one needs.
Led by Alec Baldwin. Meets at 2 p.m. tomorrow (for Mountain Dew and Hot
Pockets: Alec's treat) around that big table in the Security Council Chamber
at the United Nations. Depending on whether or not Alec fucks up a photographer,
may also stop by Cinnabon at the Manhattan Mall on 6th and 33rd because,
like, my friend Heather?
who works at The Piercing Pagoda?
like, 10% off Pecanbons and Mochalatta Chills.
"IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN (WITH ENVY)."
Greenwich Village and West Village. Explores landmarks and historic
sites connected to the desire for others' traits, status or abilities.
With a special stop at Emerson's quote about art and jealousy and a mistress
and stuff. Will look in windows of shops you'll never be able to afford,
both in Soho and on Fifth Ave. where we will also cross the streets near
hotels whose managers would laugh in your face and then spit on you if
you ever tried to come through their revolving door. Meets 1 p.m. Saturday
at some dickhead's $550/mo. 3-bedroom rent-controlled loft in the West
Village. Prick. No fee. Sponsored by Universal Studios' "2 Fast 2
Furious" -- Cross the line one more time!
Tramp through the neighborhoods of disordered desire for sexual pleasure
in search of the answer to the question: "Can a man take fire to
his bosom and his garments not be burned?" Walkers will be able to
audition for a guest dancing spot at Billy's Topless when we meet at 10
a.m. on 6th Ave. between 23rd and 24th. Should the desire grab you (and
it should) walkers are invited to spank Alec Baldwin if we happen to run
into the Gluttony group. Sponsored by the Alabama Petroleum Equipment
Contractors Association. Fee: $10. Includes adult subject matter (sins
of the flesh and such.) Information: 1(800) HUGE-BOOBS.
"TRAIPSE OF WRATH."
With emphasis on those to whom you might not turn the other cheek.
Visits people who stop in the middle of the sidewalk to look at their
watch and others who describe the feats of professional athletes as "courageous."
Just to get your dander up before we begin, meet on the 79th St. subway
platform at 6 on Friday evening. The Bible says, "every one who is
angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment," but at the time
God had yet to create "Access Hollywood's" Pat O'Brien. Fee:
$10. Information and meeting times: www.fuckyou.net.
"AN AVARICE AIRING."
A constitutional through the obsessive desire for ever-more material
goods and the attendant power. With readings of works by Gordon Gekko,
Martha Stewart and Liberian president, Charles Taylor. Will visit the
rooming house on lower Broadway at W. Houston (now a Williams-Sonoma Kids)
where, in the years after World War I, filmmaker Erich von Stroheim found
a battered copy of the novel he would later adapt into his 1925 masterpiece,
"Greed" (starring Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts and, oddly, Tupac
"SLOTH: A SHORT SAUNTER."
This walk has been cancelled.
Tim Townsend is a writer living in Connecticut.