I’m not the only living cliché in New York, you know. I believe every one who calls Manhattan home has a little NY cliché in them, one way or another. So I am starting a series here on New York Cliché featuring just that: Other New York Clichés (NYCs). I’ll ask them a few questions and you’ll get someone else’s thoughts on life in the big city, for a change!
My first Other New York cliché is my dear friend Peter. When Peter and I met, I was a batty cockney maid and he was bizarre mad scientist. We were performing interactive theater together. He once tried to feed me to an animatronic demon (I’ll never forget that day). A brilliant performer, a great friend, a not-so-bad manager- Ladies and Gentlemen, without further ado, Peter DeGiglio!
Name/preferred pseudonym: Peter DeGiglio – “Peter”
Borough and neighborhood: Astoria, Queens
How are you a New York cliché? I’m always in a hurry, on-the-go, and in a rush. I loathe waiting any longer than 8 minutes for a subway, I curse under my breath at people who take the stairs too slowly and I want fines imposed on anyone who doesn’t follow proper escalator etiquette (it’s stand on the right, walk on the left, people!).
They say no one who lives in New York is actually from New York. Where are you from? I’m from a small town upstate in the Hudson Valley that no one has ever heard of. Since I’ve left, its become a vast wasteland of forgotten landmarks and failed, abandoned mini-malls. I keep forgetting to suggest to my dad that he run for mayor and clean the place up.
Bloomberg is banishing you from NYC. You have 24 hours before you have to pack up and leave forever. How do you spend them? Assuming money is no object and I get to start in the morning: Breakfast will consist of bagels at Kat’z Deli. Then I head to Brooklyn. Once I’ve taken my stroll through the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, I’ll make my way to Union Square where hopefully it will be a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday so I can patronize the farmer’s market one last time (probably just get some hand fruit) before grabbing lunch at Pete’s Tavern and then heading up to the MoMA for one last look at my favorite Picasso painting, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.”
Perhaps then a brief walk through Central Park, hitting Belvedere Castle. If I have time, I’ll dance on the giant keyboard at F.A.O. Schwartz and run around like a child in the Toys R Us in Times Square before heading up to the observatory deck at the Empire State Building (taking advantage, of course, of the fact that I know people who work in the building who can get me half price admission). Then, I’ll probably see if anything’s kicking on the Lower East Side for a while before heading to Swing 46, where I’ll swing dance my ass off and drink too many martinis. Then I head to the Bronx to bid farewell to Yankee Stadium.
Once I’ve finished sobbing while clinging on to the side of the storied arena, perhaps I’ll grab an overpriced beer or two at the overcrowded Billy’s Sports Bar and hope to heck that pizzeria around the block is open late. Can’t leave New York without grabbing a slice! I’ll drink my way back into Manhattan, stopping of course at The Crescent Lounge in Astoria, Queens. Come daylight, you can find me at the Westway Diner in Hell’s Kitchen. I’ll be chowing down on an omelet while assembling a crack team of lawyers to get me back into the Big Apple. Oh, and I’d like to think I wouldn’t be alone this whole time. Hopefully my lady and all of my friends will join me for this 24 romp through my favorite city.
What restaurant/bar you keep going back to, even though you’ve been meaning to try a dozen others? There’s a fantastic Italian restaurant here in Astoria called “Ornella Trattoria“. You have to try the duck meatballs!
Hot dogs or pizza? New Yorkers eat hot dogs in other places besides Yankee Stadium? Pizza. Hands down.
So you live in NYC, but what’s one super-touristy thing you secretly love? Those candied nuts the street vendors sell and the Christmas light show at Grand Central Station
Ever had a run-in with a celebrity (A-D List)? I used to like to tell the story of how in the late 90’s I was a barista at a Starbucks in Times Square and I once made caramel macchiatos for Ozzie Osbourne, his entire family and a couple other people he was with. I didn’t recognize him as he was wearing sunglasses and I was super busy making drinks. I must have been in a bad mood that day and macchiato’s were the most complicated drink on the menu. I remember picking up the tip jar, looking right at Ozzie and shaking it, trying to get him to understand how making six of the damn things in the middle of morning rush in Times Square was a pain in my ass and he should give me extra money. After he left a random customer said to me, “Do you know who that was you just get got angry with? That was Ozzie Osbourne and his entire family!” I didn’t care. What he did just made me go off the rails on a crazy train!
You totally saw something weird on the subway or street today (you may not have registered it was weird because you are jaded), what did you see? There was a grown man in a tu-tu hanging out in the lobby of a Chase Bank in the West Village the other night…I guess that kind of thing is normal in that area?
What is your favorite fictionalized New York? How does it compare with reality? Probably the one in Ghostbusters, since that’s my favorite movie that takes place in New York….um, it’s different than real New York because real New York doesn’t have ancient trans-dimensional Gods that appear in the form of giant marshmallow men.
Plug something! Be it something you are involved in, your significant other/roommate/cat is involved in, or just something you think is extra-special going on in NYC. The Skinny with Peter DeGiglio is my monthly live current events talk show. A mash up of The Daily Show and The Late Show, your host yours truly is an average schnook who ingeniously attempts to wrap his head around current events, news and politics. The show features musical and comedy acts and exclusive interviews with local journalists, reporters, bloggers, community organizers and political commentators. Every second Wednesday of the month at The Red Room @ 85 East 4th Street. www.horsetrade.info/
The Skinny with Peter DeGiglio has its next show on May 9th. Peter strikes a great balance between information and comedy. The man has charisma. Get your late-night fix with live theater, and maybe one day you’ll say, “Hey, I saw that guy when he was performing in the village!”
Thanks, Peter, for being my inaugural Other New York cliché! Now I have to trek out to Astoria to try those duck meatballs, you sold me. Look for me in the audience on May 9th!
What do you think of this series? Love it so much you want featured? Fabulous! Email NewYorkCliche@yahoo.com.