If you are a New Yorker, then it is quite likely that you are often confused by how people who are not perceive New Yorkers. New York is a very large state (about 55,000 square miles, kinda sorta halfish the size of the UK or Italy) and many of the interesting parts are not in New York City and are actually quite a long drive from it. Despite this, if you tell someone that you are from New York they immediately assume you are from Manhattan, which is only one small part of New York City. After that they usually ask you things like ‘do jews celebrate Thanksgiving’ and repeat things they heard on the Sopranos to you, like that could somehow be endearing. Worst case scenario: Sienfeld is mentioned. As that is a whole other topic we’ll leave it aside for now. What is really confusing about how New York is perceived by the rest of the world (or at least the rest of America), is why so many restaurants are decorated with New York Subway motifs, maps, photos, etc. Who in their right mind would want to try and enjoy a meal while surrounded by depictions of the filthiest, smelliest, most disgusting and by far the least reliable transit system in the world? You’ve seen it many times, in the Subway chain of sandwich shops, in countless pizzerias and possibly most of all in bagel shops.
By far the worst offender in this later category is the Noah’s/Einstein chain with 600 bagelries in 36 states. It was at one of their Noah’s located in San Jose California that I found myself staring at their dodgy subway platform decor and began to wonder about these things. I then made another discovery. The framed posters of New York City that hang on their walls were riddled with blatant inaccuracies. Wrong Dates, wrong places, wrong cities… How could this be? Thousands of these posters must have been sold all over the world! Most to dubious bagel shops and pizzerias no doubt.
It all starts with a cuckoo clock. It’s a fitting tribute to the director of F for Fake, master liar Orson Welles, who famously remarked in the film The 3rd Man, “in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” It’s a small lie apparently handed down from Mark Twain, and it has no real bearing on his central argument. Anyway, the Third Man was released in the US in early 1950, debuting in New York on the eve of my father’s 14th birthday on February 2. So, we have a very popular, somewhat muddy image, depicting Times Square on a cold and wet day in early 1950, forever marked as being 1942-either days or months after the US had entered the war-but clearly showing a sign for a film made seven years later that depicts the events of post-World War Two Vienna. And it hangs in eateries, homes, dorms and undoubtedly countless net cafes around the world. Is there no justice? No Peace? No truth? What does this all mean? Why the fuck do I even care? How could something so wrong continue unchallenged? Call your Senator, call Amway for Christ sakes, something must be done!
I found out I was not alone in my discovery, a couple of other blogger types noticed it too… but the funny part was, all dated the photo to the year of the Third Man’s initial release in 1949, even though it had not been shown in the US yet. Eat it nerd! I have outdone thee! Proudly representing from the über geeky South Bay, this is Marc A signing off (and I could give a crap about Noah’s crap-ass decor, WTF with this whipped cream cheese?).