The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, December 06, 2002  

In the New York I Used to Know, Five Bucks Could Break a Window

Peggy Noonan -- “The loons! The loons!” -- today once again demonstrates her supernatural talents, this time reading the mind of the man on the street, or, more accurately, a man in the candy store:

Mayor Mike Bloomberg had just come on to do a live news conference. They had the TV on in the candy store to get updates on the weather. Mr. Bloomberg announced this was “the first big test” of his administration. The guy next to me caught my eye; we smiled and thought: Thanks for the context--we thought this was about the storm. We forgot it’s about you! It wasn’t obnoxious, just comic, a pure moment of the inevitable solipsism of a modern mayor in the media age.

Impressive as this sounds, I’m afraid Noonan got it wrong. You see, I happen to know the Brooklyn man with whom Noonan exchanged her knowing glances, and at that particular moment, the man in the candy store tells me, he was thinking:

Oh, God, there’s that nut Peggy Noonan. The one with the dolphins. She even looks crazy. Why is she staring at me? Maybe if I just smile and turn away she won’t try to start a conversation. She’s freaking me out. Man, I gotta’ get out of here!

Oh, and a quick walk through Brooklyn Heights with a tape measure (“seven feet tall and 40 inches wide”), perhaps a map (look for the church with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in front -- my bet is on Our Lady of Lebanon, on Remsen St.), and five bucks for an enterprising neighborhood kid ought to take care of that window of hers pretty quickly. At least it would in the New York I used to know.

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