September 21, 2009

Celebrities in NY

Here's how NYers feel about celebrities: eh, whatever. I think it's a combination of we've seen it all so nothing phases us, we're too self-involved to care and, most importantly we have to play it cool because we're expected to. But secretly...we want to run up, ask for an autograph and a picture. Depending on who it is, of course. We "casually" tell our friends "i was walking to work today, sipping my coffee and had my usual Famke Janssen sighting." In fact, that's an actual conversation that a coworker and I have quite frequently, since she lives around the corner from the office. "Was she walking her dog?" Yep. "Did she have on her big sunglasses?" Of course.
They do a good job of blending in, picking up dog poop, smiling at the common folk. There's no entourage and no visible paparazzi. It's a refreshing change from what you see in LA, which is one reason why celebs who want to be left alone live in NYC.
It's always interesting what happens when you're with a visitor who doesn't know the "stay cool" rule. I've been pulled by my arm to see Yoko Ono getting out of a car in Soho. I've been hit on the arm to turn my head and see Meg Ryan filming on the Upper Easnt Side. I've been repeatedly tapped on my arm to see Philip Seymour Hoffman as I was enjoying bruch alfresco in The Village. Basically my arm has taken a lot of abuse for the sake of celebrity sightings. Stay cool, people, stay cool.
I was mortified when a friend ran over to Matthew Broderick on the street after we had just seen him in The Producers, pulled him over to our group and said "Mindy, take our picture!". I asked if that was okay. He said "Yes - and thank you for asking." I can't imagine that happening all the time, just because you do a job where everyone knows who you are it gives the world complete access to you? It's just odd logic.
Now don't get me wrong, NYers are plenty interested in celebrities and celebrity goings-on. We read Perez and Gawker, text about who we just saw and where, but there's no hyper-crazed fan action. And if it exists, we keep it to ourselves. Until we get back to work and gush to our coworker about seeing Jake Gyllenhaal at the deli 5 minutes ago and how we didn't know who it was until we had to squeeze past him and how he looked like he was going to play basketball and how insanely hot he was and how we're forgetting to breathe or use punctuation. Being the good friend that she is she played the giddy teenaged fan right there with me.
I've found that the stay cool rule applies until you find yourself standing near one of your favorite actors, from your favorite movie. A 20-year talent crush in the making. And there he is, at Dean & Deluca, picking out vegetables, 3 feet away. The actor: John Malkovich, the movie: Dangerous Liasons. I realized that my mouth was hanging open and I was blatantly staring for a good 15 seconds. So much for the cool NYer. I wanted to say "Do you know how talented you are?! Do you know you were in my favorite movie?" But I realized all he wanted to do was find a fresh tomato, leave the poor man alone.
So if you see a celebrity in NYC, remember to stay cool, that's why they live here. They want to blend and not be harassed. But, um, if you happen to see Jake Gyllenhaal at the deli around the corner call me immediately. I mean...not that I care. You know, whatever. (Call me!)


  1. I once saw Jack Warden outside of Carnegie Deli. Hard to stay cool after THAT sighting, I tell you what.

  2. great celeb sighting! and outside of a NY landmark--even better.