Last Spring, I was out and about in Manhattan with my best friend Rachel, when, as usual, we decided that we were hungry. It was a Saturday evening, and we had a few hours to kill until Star Trek began at the AMC Loews Theatre. There was a cute little place on Columbus called Empire Szechuan that seemed fairly appealing, and with all my recent sushi intake, I had forgotten a childhood favorite… the Pu Pu Platter.
As we sat on the patio, Rachel indicated that a familiar looking woman was walking our way from the direction of Lincoln Center. I turned around briefly to spot a sharp featured blond woman wearing a disgustingly flamboyant pant suit that seemed to resemble burning leapord print.
“Who is she?” asked Rachel.
“Not sure… maybe you can get a closer look.”
When the woman finally came closer Rachel sported a brief aha look when the mystery woman pointed at Rachel and sharply spit out “DON’T” to my now disappointed friend.
“Wow” I said.
“That fucking real house hoe just scolded me!” exclaimed Rachel.
As it turned out, our mystery woman was Alex McCord van Kempen from The Real Housewives of New York City. Not only was her ensemble devastatingly ugly, but she was also with out her favorite accessory- mangina husband Simon.
Now, I understand completely when “celebrities” or whoever want to walk around in peace and enjoy a night out like everyone else, but seriously, when you’re a demi-celebrity like Alex, don’t expect anonymity when you’re out and about on a beautiful spring weekend in a place as heavily populated like Manhattan. If you’re that concerned… stay in Brooklyn.
“That was rude” I said.
“I wasn’t THAT obvious, I just couldn’t figure out who the hell she was” replied Rachel “I mean, we’re in Lincoln Center… she could have been an opera singer or whoever.”
“Maybe that’s where she was coming from.”
“Maybe… but that pisses me off” said Rachel.
“Because, you know on the show how they got ready for the Opening Night Gala at the Met, and they brag about how great it is to own a hotel in Manhattan so they don’t have to go to Brooklyn to get ready…”
“I mean they spend so much time talking about the fucking clothes they want to wear and how important it is to be seen, and to be viewed as cultured, but neither of them in all their grand little show of ‘the importance of being well-educated’ ever fucking mention the music!”
“NO! They can’t actually love it the way people like you and me do” replied Rachel “it pisses me off… almost more than it does that they want to write a parenting book when they can’t even get their kids into private school in Manhattan.”
“What’s the book going to be called?”
“Who knows” replied Rachel “Probably something like ‘How to teach your children useless phrases in Latin, French and Portuguese all while avoiding to teach your child in English what day of the week it is.”
“No… not harsh. You know, if that were Jill Zarin, she would have probably smiled or something.”
“God I love her” I replied “I love her and Bethenny Frankel…”
“Me too! At least they’re sort of experts at what they do- fabric, healthy cooking…” said Rachel “I doubt Alex even knows what the hell she’s listening to when she goes to the opera.”
“Umm… probably not, they just go so they can take a photograph, show the world they have some taste, and then disappear from the rest of the season whereas you and me were scrounging for seats like idiots outside at Fordham University to try to get to watch… again OUTSIDE.”
Rachel had a point. Renee Fleming had opened the 125th anniversary season at the Metropolitan, not with an opera, but with fully staged, fully orchestrated scenes from three different operas and was costumed by three different designers and was even given her own spread in Vogue for the event. It was indeed an unprecedented historical event, but one has to wonder whether or not Kanye, the Olson twins or even Alex McCord van Kempen were truly moved at all by Renee Fleming’s voice and prowess while singing some of the most heartfelt music by Verdi, Massenet and Strauss.
While we were eating, my mind went back to the night of the Metropolitan Opera‘s 125th anniversary gala. After act 1, my friends and I had decided to cross the street to buy a blanket at Bed, Bath and Beyond so that we could keep warm while watching the rest of the event. In the hustle and bustle that is Manhattan, I accidently collided with a woman in a gown who was leaving the event… she also looked familiar. I turned to my friend Megan, and before I could open my mouth, she said “that was Jane Fonda… photo op is over, she’s leaving.”