, Derry, New Hampshire


August 9, 2012

Column: The best people-watching is in New York City


Jake didn’t have to say anything; his expression clearly said it all when we observed three of Time Square’s most famous residents. The Naked Cowboy has been around for years, strumming his guitar in nothing but his Stetson, boots and BVDs. But now he’s got competition.

A Naked Indian in flowing headdress, moccasins and tightie whities bangs a drum and howls like a long-suffering bovine. When a crowd gathers to gawk, he strikes a Mr. Universe pose and accepts donations. I guess it’s a nice gig if you can get it.

This family newspaper will not allow a complete description of the third colorful character Jake and I encountered in Times Square. Suffice it to say that this mid-sixties-ish cowgirl should have known better than to stand on a corner in little more than her birthday suit, or at least have the requisite shame to hold a much larger guitar.

A trip to New York isn’t complete without a visit to Central Park, its vastness unappreciated until Jake and I walked it. It’s truly an oasis in the middle of honking horns, bus engines and neck-cramping skyscrapers. And it didn’t take long for us to experience another quintessential New York moment.

On a bench, right outside the entrance to Central Park South, amid the horse-drawn carriages and hot-pretzel vendors, sat a New York City crazy, hurling incomprehensible invective at the world. Toto, we’re not in Londonderry anymore.

During our walk back to Grand Central Station to begin our journey home, Jake and I witnessed a one-man flash mob, a performance that elicited hoots and whistles from cab drivers and construction workers. Just another random moment to tuck away and savor later as we think about our visit to that not-so-distant planet called New York City.


John Edmondson is a teacher in Hampstead.

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