Once upon a time in New York City I dated a trust-fund hipster with trendy AF facial hair. His name was Bluebeard and he was so charming I ignored any creepy vibe I got from him. He was sitting at the bar at Gramercy Tavern one Saturday brunch and kept sending my table of girlfriends Bloody Marys. Hammered off my ass at 2PM, I fell info bed with him. Mostly because I wanted to see his brownstone (which he owns) on Gramercy Park West. After the roughest sex of my life, I lay on his 1,000 thread count sheets. We talked about how hard dating is in this city. “Every single one my ex-girlfriends has ghosted me,” he confided, “They just….disappear.” Not exactly hard to believe in this day and age, I thought.
He said he’d take me anywhere in New York City. Anywhere except one park. New York’s only remaining private park, so exclusive you need a key to get in and only about 300 keys exist. Bluebeard has a key but he refuses to take me.
“I can only take you in if you’re my girlfriend,” he said, “They’re very serious about who is allowed in as a guest.”
He dangled the key in front of my face, it twinkled a shiny gold, clinking between an YSL keychain and a key to the vintage Mustang Bluebeard says he “uses mostly to drive to the Hamptons”.
“See this gold key? That’s the key to Gramercy Park. You must never touch it.”
I laughed. He looked so serious for a minute I couldn’t help but wonder: without the beard, would he look like the man who does my taxes? I laughed, “And what if I do?” I giggled, “Will I get a spanking?”
“I’m fucking serious. Don’t EVER fucking touch this key.”
I hadn’t wanted to touch the stupid key. I mean, fine, I was curious about what Gramercy Park was like inside. But who really cares? Why do I want to go to a park so exclusive and snooty and filled only with rich people anyway? It’s a park doesn’t allow dogs! Honestly, who wants to go to a park that hates dogs!?
Every time I went to Bluebeard’s place, I walked by the park. The sign reading KEY HOLDERS AND THEIR GUESTS ONLY taunted me, like the 250 pound bouncer who once told me I wasn’t hot enough to enter a club in the Meatpacking District. I’d walk as close to the fence as I could, periodically thrusting my hand between the bars. Haha! I’m technically in the park and you can’t do anything about it!
Bluebeard refused to come to my place. “I don’t do walk-ups,” he’d scoff, “Besides, I have central air. And a 36 inch flat screen. Don’t pretend you don’t love escaping your rent controlled apartment for my castle.” It was true. I loved entering his world of obscene wealth, choreographed by interior decorators. The 36 inch flat screen was the least of it. A giant fish tank was built in to the wall that separated the master bedroom and Bluebeard’s office. On Sundays I would pretend to watch football with Bluebeard but mostly watch his collection of rare tropical fish dart around the intricate castle in the center of the tank. Bluebeard had a thing for castles.
I started showing up an hour early before I was supposed to meet Bluebeard just to sit outside the fence Gramercy Park, staring in.I became intensely jealous of the squirrels who could run in and out as they pleased. I memorized every inch of the shaded walk ways, the colorful modern art sculpture, the elderly couple who sat on the same quiet bench every afternoon. Why won’t he let me in there? What has he got to hide? Why hasn’t he asked me to be his girlfriend? He thinks I’m not good enough for his rich neighbors? Are there flowers in there that wither when people who make less than seven figures walk by? WHAT IS IT?
So…is this a true story or has my love life been so boring lately I’ve started to make up NYC fairy tales?
Haha, I think you can guess which one… I was walking around Gramercy Park one Sunday and the fairytale of Bluebeard rolled around in my head. I hate that I’m not allowed in Gramercy Park! I just want to go in! I’m not the only one, right? It doesn’t seem like that great a park, like I said, dogs aren’t allowed! But because I’m not allowed in, I desperately want to enter. I realized, NYC is Bluebeard’s castle, this is the one room (that’s a seemingly public space) I’m not allowed to enter. That I need a fairytale-esque KEY for access. UGH. I walked the circumference of the park, contemplating a modern, New York Cliché interpretation of Bluebeard. I could perform it right on the fence of Gramercy Park! How long would it take me to get kicked out, do you think? Should I do try when I finish this tale? You’ll have to tell me when I share the rest of this Bluebeard tomorrow.