Everyone laughed at ol’ man Bloomberg when dot-NYC domains became available and his lawyers bought up 400 of them, including BloombergBlows.nyc, MichaelBloombergIsaWeiner.nyc, BloombergIsanAss.nyc, MikeBloombergIsaDweeb.nyc, MikeIsTooShort.nyc, and bloombergfamilyfoundation.nyc.
It turns out New York’s tourism arm, NYC & Company, could have taken a lesson from the former mayor. Someone somewhere in the Taylor-Swift-as-Global-Welcome-Ambassador rollout dropped the ball, neglecting to register GlobalAmbassador.nyc. Whoops! Three enterprising pranksters grabbed the domain name and put up their own website, complete with videos poking fun at Swift’s.
Their ringleader is writer-director Paul Bomba. Bomba was born and raised in Gravesend, Brooklyn. He says, “All my friends here, they looked at that Taylor Swift thing and they were incredulous. They just couldn’t believe that she would be the person they picked, of all the millions of people in New York.”
He noticed something else about the videos — their URL. “I saw all that advertising about the .nyc domains, and honestly, when I went to look at Taylor’s site I was shocked it wasn’t a .nyc domain,” Bomba says. So he asked a Web-designer friend to pull together a layout that was as close to the original as possible, but with tongue-in-cheek links like Shops: Your money, please. “I wanted it to be a whole thing because I thought her site was kind of silly, too,” Bomba says.
For the videos, he recruited two comedian friends, Tommy Ray and Brianne Berkson, wrote up the scripts, shot and edited the footage, and had them online within a matter of days. Like Swift’s, the clips aim to educate outsiders about New York City and its culture. Bomba’s offer practical suggestions — like when you should and shouldn’t take a cab — whereas Swift’s focus on banalities, including an attempt to explain the definition of a “stoop.” Bomba says he wanted to share some tips from folks from “real New York — who don’t live in this fantasy $20 million penthouse world.”
He doesn’t mean any harm to Swift or the New York tourism board — he says he would even be interested in a collaboration if they were interested. Call it Unseen Brooklyn.
“There are a whole bunch of people who think Brooklyn is all bearded, tattooed hipsters in Williamsburg, you know? There are 2 and a half million people in Brooklyn. It’s huge, and there are all these gems off the beaten path tourists don’t really get to see,” like Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst, the boardwalk at Coney Island, Tom’s diner in Prospect Heights. (Did we mention Taylor Swift’s favorite New York tourist spot is the 9/11 Memorial?)
“The tourism board likes to showcase the flashy, kind of really cool, really hip stuff. But that’s not my New York, and that’s not a lot of New Yorkers’ New York, either.”