Nina In New York: Occupy Super Mario Land?
A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
Apparently, I’m behind on my “important, silly events around town” calendar. I just found out that last weekend, in celebration of its new game, Super Mario 3D Land, Nintendo turned its Times Square into a Super Mario 3D Land. Well, to be fair, everything in real life is 3D. So they’re not messing with our dimensional reality or anything. We’re as 3D as we’ll ever be. But whatever! It was a Mushroom Kingdom!
I think this is particularly hilariously timed given all the Occupations going on across the city in opposition to corporate greed, bloated capitalists, and city government selling out to commercial interests. And, you know, stuff.
So let’s turn one of the major epicenters of New York into a giant, branded video game! Hooray! Dibs on being Yoshi!
The irony is delicious. Or is it simply nonchalance? Or perhaps it’s just outright defiance and willful ignoring.
Actually, it makes total sense. Times Square is already essentially an outdoor mall, plastered up, down and sideways with signs and billboards for every chain restaurant, novelty store, and candy depot that can fit within a few blocks. Why not add a layer of brightly-colored fun on top of it in the name of good, old-fashioned video-games-come-to-life fun?
I am not opining either way here. I am just observing that, even in the weirdest and most awkward of times (and I think we can all admit this may count as one), this city remains poetically—perhaps infuriatingly to some—unaffected. I don’t mean our lives aren’t impacted by what goes on here. I mean, rather, that you can’t change this place. You can’t make it agree with you or tilt your way, you can’t wipe out one thing in favor of another. One day, protesters are all over every borough, battling with police and trying to shut down the NYSE. And just a few days earlier, people were jumping up and down on trampolines dressed as fictional Italian plumbers, trying to grab as many cartoon gold coins as they can before hitting the flagpole finish and grabbing a slice of Nintendo
pizza vegetables. I don’t think we’ll have to wait long for the cycle to repeat itself (ahem, Time Warner Center light show “under the stars”).
I don’t know. I had and continue to have no intention of attending either party, so I speak as a bystander only. But from where I’m sitting, something about that dependable inconsistency feels comforting to me. Or maybe it’s just funny and too bizarre to fully process.
Life in New York is just one spicy meatball sometimes.
(Wait, is that from Mario Brothers? I wasn’t allowed to have Nintendo when I was little.)
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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