Jazzed About Serving New York City Jury Duty? You Crazy?

“Why so cheerful?” questioned the perplexed man holding my camera, “You getting your divorce settled today or something?”

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This was the only explanation he could muster for the smile on my face. What other reason could I possibly have to request my picture be captured in front of the New York County Courthouse at 9AM?

Positively tickled, I responded, “Yeah, or something! Thank you!”
I retrieved my camera, pushed my sunglasses up on my head, and laughed the whole way up the steps of 60 Centre Street.

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The morning had started with swears rather than smiles.

“Fuck. I can’t believe I have fucking Jury Duty today,” I groaned to my cat and I forced myself out of bed. I grumbled all the way to the bathroom, “It’s going to be the worst.” Thoughts of WHY and UGH and INSUFFERABLE lathered up inside me as I shampooed my hair. I brewed my morning tea, adding a spoonful of honey, but nothing tasted sweet this morning. I sipped the bitterness and shuffled to my closet. Radiating crankiness, I stood and faced the daily dilemma: What to wear?

What do I wear to Jury Duty?

Liz Lemon suited up as Princess Leia, Carrie Bradshaw wore questionable cover-alls, how is a New York Cliché to dress? It was a daunting decision, one that could easily affect the likelihood I’d have to serve. I considered obvious choices: the lunatic-look, the hippy-hyper-liberal, the radical-punk-rocker. Then in the back of my closet, I saw a dress I hadn’t worn in months, and everything changed.

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“I feel terrible but I don’t think I can serve jury duty today. You see, I work for myself as a freelance writer and no one can cover for me.” – Carrie Bradshaw via
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“I really don’t think it’s fair for me to be on a jury since I’m a hologram.” -Liz Lemon via

I call it my Rainbow Bright Dress. I brought it one summer’s day when I walked into a thrift store post-happy hour. It’s the only item of clothing I have ever purchased while intoxicated. It is more colorful than a Lisa Frank notebook, more twee than a Zooey Deschanel-Taylor Swift love-child. While not particularly flattering, the dress is CHEERY in fabric form. It’s impossible to be cranky while wearing it. [See photo at top!]

I put on the dress and decided that to make the most of the day, I’d have to throw away cliché. See, every one hates Jury Duty. Everyone bitches and moans about it. Everyone tries to get out of serving. What if I showed up happy, gleeful, excited about the possibility of serving, eager to at least share my experience, say, on my blog? No one would know what to make of it! They would never guess this was a front to get out of Jury Duty. Everyone would really think I was a total wacko.

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This point was immediately proven by the man I asked to take my picture outside the courthouse. No sane person can be happy about Jury Duty, it does not compute. I pranced up the steps and joined the line of people waiting to get through security. Instead of fuming about the wait, I admired the art decorating the ceilings and walls of the courthouse.

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Pretty!

A security guard yelled at me for talking pictures and confiscated my camera. Instead of peeved, I smiled at him, “So sorry sir, I didn’t know! No problem, I’ll pick up my camera when I leave! You have a nice day!” He looked at me like I was insane! Haha, success! I was fully committed to my sunshine-and-rainbows demeanor. Bring on your worst, Jury Duty, for I will have a positive day, dammit, and you will think I’m crazy for it!

Oh, New York City Jury Duty brought it. The film they show you at the beginning is truly demoralizing. It made me want to gauge my eyes out. The only way I kept a smile on my face was to laugh out how poorly it was done. It was as if the director’s intent was to make everyone detest the experience. Why, Walter Cohen, why? Yes, Walter Cohen, I wrote down your name as it rolled in the credits! I wanted to remember the man responsible for directing such a reprehensible excuse for an informational video! How the hell did they chose you? Have you worked since? Are you ashamed of yourself for submitting millions of New Yorkers to your monstrosity?

After the film, we just sat around. There was free wifi, I had my laptop and head phones. I’ve spent countless mornings similarly, on my computer at home. At 12:30PM a woman got on the microphone and announced we were all released. I couldn’t believe it! It was too good to be true! But true it was!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES I waltzed out of Jury Duty barely 3.5 hours after I waltzed in. I can’t help but consider it a testament to the power of positive thinking. I put a smile on my face and was granted a New York miracle. The best part? Now I don’t have to worry about Jury Duty for six years!

Actually, that’s not the best part. The best part is that right after I was released, I received a call from one of my best friends from childhood. She told me she was at the airport, on a layover in the city for just 6 hours. Suddenly I had the afternoon free to spend with her! We spent it exploring the Highline. Who ever would guess the date of their Jury Summons would end up so well?

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This view from the Highline is even more colorful than the dress that started it all!

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

6 thoughts on “Jazzed About Serving New York City Jury Duty? You Crazy?

  1. That’s a cute dress! And I love Liz Lemon; I have several Tivoed episodes of 30 rock reserved for my stressful days when I need a good laugh. It’s good that you had a positive attitude about jury duty. When I got called in for jury duty, all I felt was dread; fortunately, I didn’t get picked.

  2. Aww I’m famous! Even though you don’t mention my name. Wait, you do! “one of my best friends from childhood”. Hell yeah! That dress was worn for me my dear so we could walk around (matching) in our bright ass colors, with the city’s murals as our backdrop, and the sun calling our names.

    PS. I love how I can always find a Sex and the City picture in my NYC girl’s written tales

  3. I just got my summons today. I really, really don’t want to go. I thought that when I moved to the Mid West and sent proof that I was done with this, but I broke up with my ex and came back to NYC a couple of months ago, and now THIS!

    I’ll try being extra beaming happy like you did when I go in, and hopefully get sent home. If not, I can tell them that I object to their institutionalized racism, since they, like everyone else, only addresses me and acts like my two identical-except-black triplet brothers aren’t even there!

    Do you want all three of us to sign? No, of course not. Just me cause I’m the light-skinned one. You act like I’m the only one here.

  4. This is a stupid comment by a very stupid and unpatriotic woman.
    How’d you like living in a country, you moron, where there were no juries…no right of trial by jury? Morons like you ought to be living there.
    I pity the guy who is, if there is one, the significant other in your life…being with a female airhead like you.

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