On my last day in New York, I’d like to summon previously hidden powers of telekinesis to destroy everyone that’s ever done me wrong, given me incorrect change, or looked at me a little funny. Instead, I’ll just do a column about them right now. Yes, I’m a vengeful queen, so my idea of a “best of New York” service piece is one telling you firsthand about the very best places to feel ripped off, annoyed, and so outraged you start looking into real estate in the Pacific Northwest. These joints are by far Gotham’s most reliable establishments—if you’re looking to be drilled without anaesthesia and shat on without a glass table.
And so: The best place at which to get both sciatica and a nervous breakdown is T.O Dey shoes (9 E. 38 Street; 212-683-6300), which custom-made footwear for me for money I could have much more sensibly used to redo my whole mouth. Alas, after 16 long weeks in the making, the pair turned out not to fit any more than my kindergarten clogs do. Maybe my feet had grown during that insane amount of time? Probably not, because even when the T.O. team tried to alter them three more times to fit my current size, they still couldn’t come close to the shape of my fabled footsies. They were grudgingly willing to keep trying, but the weather was changing and I needed
something to wear in lieu of weighted plastic bags, so I took them in desperation and started schlepping around in the cold in agonizing pain. Nowadays Heather Mills has nothing on me.
The most rockin’ place to limp for more depressing news may well be E. Vogel (19 Howard Street; 212-925-2460), whose site said custom-made shoes cost $700. But whimsically enough they charged me $1200! Even worse, they told me the shoes would be ready 17 whole weeks after I ordered them—16 just isn’t enough for these people—but when I called for pickup after waiting all that time, they said it would take eight more whole weeks! (“We were closed for three weeks,” said the guy by way of a defense.) I screamed my guts out and got them done in only two more weeks—but they didn’t fit! (Update: As the weather started changing once again, they adjusted them and made one of them almost fit, which is sort of good enough for me. Besides, they were nice about being willing to keep reworking the freaking things. Maybe they should go in a real best of column? Nah, let’s not get totally daft.)
Moving on: The finest place to throw away yet more time on this problem is the office of Dr. Ivan Herstik, who seems to be a podiatrist without a foot to stand on. Herstik came up with shoes for me “with no obligation,” but they didn’t fit in the least so I left them there, all frustrated and shit. No problem—he sent me a freakin’ bill anyway. “A mistake,” his secretary later claimed. Honey, Three Mile Island was a mistake. This was a travesty.
The best other doctor to make you crazy is Dr. Daniel Crane, whose office prescribed me Zoloft, even though I’d told them at length about my highly excitable seizure disorder. It turns out that kind of drug and epilepsy don’t get along any more than the cast of a Dynasty reunion would. As a result, I was spasming to the point where I was literally bouncing off the walls and in need of some real doctors.
The most effectively hateful practice is that of car service coupons filled with more empty promises than a hooker on the other side of a glory hole. Not long ago, I got a coupon for a Carmel car to LaGuardia which said the ride would be $31. I called Carmel to confirm and they said it would be $33! I slammed down the phone and huffily contacted
Allstate car service instead. They comfortingly said their trip to LaGuardia would be a mere $30. The next morning I confidently strode into my Allstate car, only to have the driver declare, “Thirty two dollars!” I give up. I’m getting a skateboard.
The most reliably fucked up doorman is the one at the Mercer Hotel (147 Mercer Street; 212-966-6060) whom I recently asked where the Mercer Kitchen is. “Down the block,” he replied, sounding more knowledgeable than he looked. I putzed around in the chilly rain—in tight shoes—but came crawling back after a stranger told me the Kitchen is in the freaking Mercer Hotel! In fact, it was about two feet away from said doorman! “Don’t blame me,” he whinnied, as I became far more sympathetic to Russell Crowe’s career-cramping rage at the very same place.
Speaking of ineptitude, the most outstanding trend in irritating technology is automation. Recently, I called 411 and asked for Out magazine’s number, figuring it would only take a gay second. “Sorry, what was the listing?” intoned the automated system. “Out magazine,” I repeated, dutifully. “That’s Word magazine?” came the pert reply. “No, Out magazine,” I repeated, losing it. “Health magazine, right?” droned the ballsy ‘bot. “No, Out magazine,” I squealed, panting bullets. “That’s Men’s Health magazine?” chirped the headless person. No, not even close–though at least the word magazine seemed to be registering. I finally got switched to a real human and relaxed into a false state of euphoria. “You want Out magazine, right?” she asked, with a lovely sense of professionalism. Yesiree, lady! Woo-hoo! Hope was on the horizon! She gave me the wrong number.
The best present to give someone you hate is a Kim’s Video gift card. If you try to use the card at the St. Marks branch of Kim’s, the poor attendant has to go downstairs to some other mysterious machine where they can actually make it work for you. By time they come back with the movie and the paperwork, your entire taste has changed, but you’re stuck with the movie you originally asked for. Don’t let your card get a little weatherbeaten either. When that happens, even the manager can’t figure out how much is left on the account—only some guy can, “and he’s out sick,” I was told last time. “He’s been out sick for a while.”
The best way to annoy me personally is to come at me with a
self-promoting mantra—a raison d’etre you repeatedly invoke to signal the fact that you not only exist, you’re endlessly fabulous thanks to some two-degrees of separation experience with something better. In the last year, I’ve heard the following sayings repeated ad nauseum: “I went to Iceland for free”; “I wrote an article for Town and Country“; “I met Hanson at the opening-night party for Taboo”; “I was an Alvin Ailey dancer but I broke my hip”; and the immortal, “I did Internet porn movies in Canada.” Shut the fuck up! Go home and watch yourself on YouTube!
But the surest way to be annoyed at clubs is to hang out with a user who says everyone is using you; a mess who says he’s sober and has never heard of Manhunt, but actually has three separate profiles and collects bumps like trading cards; and a nutjob who wildly makes out with you, then calls the next day to say, “Sorry, I was drunk.” In fact, let’s ban anyone who’s only fun when they’re loaded, making you diabolically pray they’ll fall off the wagon and look alive again no matter how destructive that is for their fucking well being!
And finally, the best argument against gay supremacy is the fact that our very own LGBT Center can be so extraordinarily amateurish. I had a horrible experience with a book event there—the organizer asked me to read and then wasn’t reachable for months to iron out the details. He showed up at the reading, then left right before it started. But I still believe in fairies and nothing’s gonna change that, darlings.
Whew! I feel so much better now, even though if all these places gang up on me and get their retribution, it will indeed be my last day in New York.