A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

By Nina Pajak

Here is my favorite headline from yesterday (you know, aside from the 50 billion about the Giants parade):

“Man Dressed as Superman Climbs George Washington Statue in Union Square”

Apparently, some young guy put on his favorite lucky Superman pajamas and climbed to the top of a statue in Union Square (obvious) to scream awhile in the name of “the freedom of the world,” a cause he felt was too often overlooked in all the hubbub about the freedom of our country.

He managed to stay up there for about 45 minutes before the cops came for him with their finest padded wagon, at which point he attempted “to escape” by climbing onto poor old George’s head. Sadly, his alien brethren never came to beam him up, and he was forced to come down and be handcuffed.

Now, to be sure, this is a good story. But mostly I just love the fact that this is a headline at all.  I wish more of our city’s harmless eccentrics made the papers nowadays. They’ve been edged out by legitimately dangerous psychopaths and ranting politicians (stick those @**holes on top of a bronze statue in the park and see how cogent they really sound). But the goons and the endearingly anti-social nutbags are what make this city both a fun place to live and the sort of place that keeps one on one’s toes. I’d like to see more of these people getting out in front more often. I like them. They’re wacky.

What about my friendly neighborhood one-man all-purpose protester? He’s covered in buttons and has all sorts of flags and hats and signs and I can’t quite figure out whether he’s against the president, supporting our troops, being generally patriotic, or protesting the Vietnam War. And sometimes he yells at my dog, so I’m pretty sure he’s firmly anti-dog.

There’s the guy who stands on Sixth Avenue during the evening crush dressed in a suit and screaming about salvation or a menswear sale or fire and brimstone or something. He’s always got a huge smile on his face and he manages to hold his footing on the sidewalk with amazing steadiness.

There’s Mark Wahlberg, who gave an interview claiming he could have action-heroed the crap out of those 9/11 punks…oh, wait.

How about the seemingly-normal woman on my block who corralled me into a conversation for 20 minutes and then forcibly put a dog biscuit in my pocket, “for later?” I feel she’s got terrific potential to break out in the future. Plus all the people who sing aloud on the subway or walk up to people on crowded cars to yell Bible verses at the top of their lungs. There are stars to be made, and they’re all around us.

I’m not encouraging violent or hostile behavior. But it wouldn’t hurt to splash a little more color around this place.

Let’s hop to it, guys. Superman can’t do everything around here.


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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