The other day in my neighborhood, I spotted veteran local news anchor Ernie Anastas stopping to chat with some Upper East Side residents who greeted him with a friendly hello. When you live in New York, it’s easy to stumble upon bold-faced names. The ease with which Ernie’s fans spoke to him got me to thinking about something else --- the colorful non-celebrity characters that fill the Big Apple.
I remember walking along West 35th Street in NYC’s Garment District one morning, so euphoric about reconciling with a boyfriend that I was singing -- audibly -- a Whitney Houston song.
“God bless you,” a man said as I passed him.
Just as I was about to thank him for that (and for appreciating my singing), he added--
“…Don’t quit your day job.”
I got a good chuckle out of that, as I did when I was strolling through Times Square years ago with a Fox News colleague. We were talking about the ingenuity of local panhandlers. Right on cue, a guy in front of us reached out his hand and asked--
“Can you spare some change for the United Negro Pizza Fund?”
I actually spared a dollar because that line was priceless.
Call it moxie, chutzpah or whatever you will, but New Yorkers aren’t bashful about saying what’s on their mind. And they can deliver a perfectly timed quip that, even when it’s directed at you, hits right where it matters most -- your funny bone.