Circa 1626, the Dutch bought this land for what a stale bagel and lousy coffee costs today: $24. Trade began. Peter Minuit arrived with his household. And what would any wife do? Shop. So, long before Gristedes and Bergdorf’s — in came merchants. And New York, NY — capital of the world — was born.
Louise Mirrer, New-York Historical Society’s CEO: “The 17th-century Dutch knew a harbor’s hospitable to commerce. A port for goods. And, like today’s New Yorker, they had attitudes. Make money. Make trade. Basically, who cares about you — you looking to make a buck — c’mon. As in, ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.’
“Tycoon arrivals knew no world-class global city could exist without great cultural institutions such as in London and Paris. So, the Met, Brooklyn Museum, Natural History Museum, an evolution of the arts — theater, dance — began. With access to entertainment, things to do or see after work, people wanted to be here.
“Also, NYC had a free press. We did it first. John Peter Zenger’s New York Weekly Journal.” And long before the “fake news” era, Mr. Zenger went to trial for “printing seditious libels,” won and thus began our indigenous attitude of beating up whoever’s in charge.
“Ingredients conflated. Came together like nowhere else. Much to offer. A welcoming diverse society. Queens has more different communities on one block than anywhere else. Plus we have a harbor. Arts. Entertainment. Opportunity. A certain amount of tolerance where, possibly in Seattle, they wouldn’t appreciate you. And we’re walkable. Accessible. Whatever you want’s 2 miles away. Plus we’re one of the first American cities to have municipal transportation.”
OK. That’s then. Now’s now. It’s lawlessness, vandals, homeless, high taxes, garbage on streets, no shopping, no theaters, no walking alone at night, forget the subway, forget the mayor, forget the hustle, do not forget the non-taxpaying roaches. So can New York still stay the best damn place in the whole world?
Mirrer: “Absolutely. We have a 400-year history. Disasters, Civil War, near bankruptcy, invasions of cholera, typhoid, smallpox, AIDS. We’ve had 9/11. Nothing New York hasn’t suffered. Fernando Wood, the city’s mayor before the Civil War, even thought New York should secede.
“This town is simply not like any other in the world. It’ll take a while — but by 2024, everyone will have forgotten. No grass will ever grow on Broadway.”
Afraid of ‘Shadows’
Wednesday’s the “House of Dark Shadows” 50th anniversary. A big-screen spinoff of the campy daytime soap that scared up so much money it brightened a dark time in MGM’s history. Living (and could be dead) fright fans want to re-see that spooky walk in the woods. Star Kathryn Leigh Scott says, “This is our busy season,” and she’s organized a 9 p.m. YouTube cast reunion Halloween night.
Scary is if you can even remember the show.
Trick or treat
No grass grows on anyone else here, either. Amid this pandemic, pre-election panic and groceries limiting one roll to a customer toilet paper, comes a giant shopping bag from Martha Stewart and p.r.’s Susan Magrino with Wölffer Estate’s rosé wines, the New York City Wine & Food Festival tasties, plus masks, Cuisinart, Irish whiskey, ceramic mugs, chocolate, spices, bottle openers, corkscrews, keychain, stationery, jigsaw puzzle … and 30 more goodies. Anyone sending this to anyone in Kansas?
Meanwhile, lest nobody dare think even weeds can grow in this town, comes a report from a delinquent taxpayers’ official Web site. It lists 15 Nello Balan establishments — who knew he had this many — plus a few other New Yorkers like maybe a “taxi king,” who somehow seems somewhat delayed in giving something sometime in terms of some money to some government somewhere.
CV melodrama. Actor: “I’m working.” Singer: “Off-Broadway?” Actor: “No.” Singer: “Road company?” Actor: “No.” Singer: “Good money?” Actor: “No. In the second act, they give us soup.”
Only in New York, kids, only in New York.
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