If you take away a single thing from this blog, I hope it is that I live an aspirational and enviable life of leisure involving cats, mass transit, and a lot of romantic delusion. If you are ambitious and want to take away a second thing from this blog, I hope it is that I love celebrities and almost everything they do. And you guys, some celebrities are mad. And like, hosting expensive dinners and readings to prove it.
An article in New York Magazine this past week details how NYU, my alma mater and a vampire-octopus hybrid monster that bled my father dry for four years, is expanding rapidly into the hallowed streets of the Village. I'm not sure if you've heard of this hidden real estate gem brimming with artists and intellectuals and bohemians, luxuriating in their own brilliance and body odor and heroin shakes because, well, if you read this, you're probably young AND THAT VILLAGE HAS NOT EXISTED IN DECADES BECAUSE RICH PEOPLE TOOK IT OVER. But apparently a bunch of the creative rich people didn't get the memo and thought that if you're eating a 28 dollar burger next to cobblestone, it's all still quite Villagey. And they'll be damned if they let rich CHILDREN that want to get an EDUCATION sully that experience.
For the record, I think the method and scope of the expansion is ridiculous and that John Sexton is an incubus that no one has ever seen in the same room as Hellboy (coincidence, I think not!) But for a bunch of rich adults to be like "Ugh, the youth!" is more eyeroll-worthy than when dudes from Stern thought it was impressive that they were in the Pike fraternity. You guys, you're not that fucking cool. New York can be shared with aspirational teenagers too. You know why? Because unless you're a native New Yorker and therefore untouchable in terms of coolness in my book (seriously, the natives have proper swagger like you wouldn't believe), you have to transplant here at some point. Doing so at 18 puts you miles ahead the influx of post-grads and career movers in terms of getting acquainted with the city in a meaningful way and preventing future dick behavior that New Yorkers hate.
A lot of celebrities are in on this shit but these are the stand-outs:
Fran Lebowitz, a super smart lady that I rather like had this to say about it, which was a huge bummer, "I personally don't feel universities add to the life of the city. Places where universities add to life had no life to begin with, seriously!" Ugh, HIGHER EDUCATION IS SO DULL AND UNIMPORTANT. Yeah yeah, Fran, we know you worked with Andy Warhol and are a genius with a sweet vintage car. But homegirl, you grew up in Morristown, NJ. Yeah, Fran. I have Wikipedia. You're not a native. You don't get to shit on the teenagers that want to come here and do something kind of exciting as young people like live in a big fucking city and go to school with child actors and spend Campus Cash like it's the last day on Earth. (PS- I love you, please don't be mad at me.)
John Leguizamo (who is possibly just reprising his role from The Pest) is offering a chance to play basketball with him (bids start at $800!) and Philip Seymour Hoffman is offering a private acting class ($1,000) for the auction to fund action against the NYU expansion. I saw a lot of both of these dudes during my NYU days, they seemed annoyed often so maybe it's just in their nature. BUT THESE MOTHERFUCKERS WENT TO GODDAM NYU. It arguably got them the kind of education and experience they would need to succeed in an incredibly competitive business. John's a native (so prob cool, I GUESS) so the move wasn't that big a deal but PSH is from the unholy land of Rochester, a frozen upstate hellscape that many young people still seek escape from in the form of quality university experiences at places like NYU.
I'm sure that all these cats have the line, "Oh, NYU was so different then. These rich kids aren't like we were. The Village was special then, I gave Basquiat a handy and ate a hot dog made of rat meat," or whatever people say used to happen in New York. Those stories don't make you sound cool. Those stories just make you sound kind of old and bitter.
Yes, John Sexton is an overpaid hug monster from the deep. Yes, the expansion is too much. But the emphasis of these complaints on it messing with your neighborhood chill vibes and the fact that you have to endure the indignity of WALKING AROUND YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE STREET is ultra-lame and in total denial of the reality that the Village hasn't been anything but a rich artists' playground for decades. Not to be all, "People are starving, man," but like, people in New York are actually starving.
Share the fucking cobblestone and pack up some rat meat sandwiches for the less fortunate, no one in New York needs another goddam acting lesson.