Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Strangely New York: In the End, It's Where I Want to Be in the End

By Mitch Broder

I was condemned, delivered, redeemed, and invited to hula-hoop with three girls.

In New York, you can cram a lot of living into 20 minutes.

I share this with you today because this blog is still young, and I’m still intermittently clarifying why it exists. This is why. New York is my perfect town because it requires no planning. You enter it and stuff happens to you. Whether you want it to or not.

In this case, I had no sooner entered the Grand Central subway station than I saw a man wearing a T-shirt that said “End of the World.” He gave me a pamphlet that explained that Judgment Day is on May 21st and the End of the World is on October 21st, which on the bright side meant no more winters.

Eager to exhaust my MetroCard balance, I took the train to Union Square, where I saw more people handing out the pamphlets. One smiled for a picture. The pamphlet said “the time for salvation is drawing to a rapid close.” Luckily, when I emerged from the station, salvation awaited me.

Two nice young men representating the Mitzvah Tank asked me if I was Jewish and if I wanted to put on tefillin. Tefillin are little black boxes containing biblical verses, which many Jews strap to their head and arm daily, because every day is Judgment Day.

I declined because I don’t wear tefillin on Union Square at 15th Street, but the nice young men blessed me anyway. I wondered if things were as bleak as the pamphlet people thought. I decided they weren’t when I saw the blue van laden with hundreds of green plastic coconuts.

The van contained Vita Coco 100% Pure Coconut Water and girls in yellow T-shirts and flip-flops, carrying hula hoops. I wasn’t sure how I felt about coconut water but I felt pretty good about the girls. They came out, assembled near the park, and asked me if I wanted to hula-hoop.

I declined because I don’t hula-hoop on Union Square at 16th Street, but the girls graciously hula-hooped for me anyway. They suggested that I wait for free coconut water but I was running late, and besides, I had decided that coconut belongs inside of chocolate.

Yet I was still refreshed. I hadn’t accepted what anyone had offered, but I had been noticed. I had counted. Somehow I had mattered.

That’s another reason why I’m blogging, and another reason why I’ll keep doing it.

At least until October 21st.

Vintage New York respects all religious beliefs and beverage preferences. Most, anyway.


  1. You would find the 3 hula-hoop women! And might I ask would you wear a teffin somewhere other than Union Square at 15th street?? Would you be OK with it if it were 14th street?

  2. I'm a little annoyed -- I thought the world ends in 2012. I'll have to wrap things up sooner than expected!

  3. Love it!

    Of course my favorite line is...
    "Tefillin are little black boxes containing biblical verses, which many Jews strap to their head and arm daily, because every day is Judgment Day."

    It doesn't get better than that.

    Until Author Broder's next article, I am sure.

  4. nice post dear blogger