My Pricey Neighborhood: The Awesome, The Annoying, The Absurd

I had a particularly dense 24 hours of unexpected entertainment without wandering more than a few steps from my eyrie bower. You tell me if this justifies or explains the hefty price tag on said bower…

Wednesday afternoon, I nipped out to mail some coupons to my mother and couldn’t get to my usual mailbox of choice – first thing I noticed were the news vans with the telescopic satellite transmitters. Second were the corralled masses on the sidewalks. Clearly something pretty awesome was going on at the David Letterman/Late Show studio half a block over, and the nearest policeman confirmed it: Paul McCartney would be performing live on the marquee. He told someone else he didn’t know when the concert would start, but it really doesn’t take a genius to figure that out – the show starts filming at 5pm, and the few concerts I’ve stumbled across in the past have usually kicked off around 5:30pm. The Cute Beatle started at 5:25pm and kept at it for 40 minutes — twice as long as Phish gave us a few years back. I’ll say it again, awesome.

The following day, I caught something in the lunchtime news about our president being in the city today. I googled and found out he’d be giving a dinner speech at the NAACP convention. At the Hilton. On my block. I realize the man seems to have rock star status these days, but I hate when presidents are in the ‘hood – Clinton with his own personal UN meeting every September, and in the past, Bush giving speeches at the Hilton or attending fundraisers at the Sheraton. Can we say snipers on the roof, ear-wigged G-men in the street, and 6 hours of random street closures and not being allowed out of my building (or into it, if not already there) for 10 minutes or so at a time. Yeah, annoying. Very annoying. I had no business that day.

In between these two events, I picked up my mail and found a stuffed blank envelope in my cubby, with nothing but an apartment number for a return address. A penthouse apartment number. Of someone whose name I can’t mention because her media watchers found it in my blog and…well, let’s just say that I’ve deleted all past posts on a certain apartment-related subject. So for the sake of calling her something, let’s go with “Ms. Stonefeller”. I’ve been invited to a cocktail party fundraiser to campaign against some kind of building plans that will mess up the skyline (I translate this to mean “her view”). Apparently there’s some kind of neighborhood preservation society for a whopping 2 blocks, and it’s a registered non-profit/charity. How…noble. But I think I’d rather spend the $75 minimum donation providing supplemental support for my Working Poor Mom and her daughters for two months Or paying a rescued girl’s school fees and related costs in Nepal for a year. Or finagling 250 boxes of cereal for the teen shelter. And when all is said and done, it’s beyond absurd that someone like this would have the gall to ask for contributions from people with about 5 zeroes less on her net worth statement. But if she needs a cup of sugar (or better yet, a box of Raisin Bran, to alleviate the stress on my closet space), she’s welcome to knock on my door – I’m happy to do that kind of neighborly thing.

When all is said and done, I’d say that this month I got my rent’s worth of home entertainment – the awesome rock concert, the annoying presidential security measures, and the absurd invitation from my, uhm, neighbor – in just 24 fun-filled hours.

5 Responses

  1. funny! how nice of paul to stop by and see you! and i’d have to say a min. of $75 to enter ms. stonefeller’s function is probably the equivalent of “free” in her world. lol. but you’d need at least a $10,000 outfit to be presentable. maybe you could coupon one down. ha!

  2. Hey at least you are never bored, how could you be with so much going on. LA isn’t nearly as entertaining, perhaps because it is so spread out.

    I take it that you have no view to be preserved. I find it amusing that your high society neighbor expects the little guy to pitch in for a fight that only benefits her.

  3. A minimum of $75 contribution?! Does she also have a fund-raiser for her fur coat collection? So how do you find out details of those charities you mentioned (rescued girl’s school fees and related costs in Nepal for a year)? I’d love to find out how to help with these programs. Thanks for the humor.

    • I like small, specific charities and it often involves a fair bit of cross-searching. The Nepalese Youth Opportunities Fund ( does some fundraising on GlobalGiving, but I don’t like the cut GlobalGiving takes. So I look at projects I like and then see if it’s either (a) a small charity, or (b) a large charity that lets you earmark your donation for a specific project. And sometimes I just google something I want to support, like maybe donating used sneakers to Africa (in the end, decided that wasn’t practical), or buying bicycles for kids in Cambodia because they’re too far from the nearest school to walk so they just don’t go. I even support unregistered charities because it’s not cheap to do all the financial reporting/auditing required for official non-profit status.

      • I had a roommate in college who was from Nepal, but her family was fortunate enough to send her to India for school. She and her sister (who came to live with us later) were incredibly smart and driven! They have some of the biggest hearts I’ve known and want to promote change in the world. Anyway, having met her and her sister has made me realize the needs in the world besides the US and accumulate a desire to give what I can.

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