Here is a list of famous people I’ve seen in New York:
Ted Danson, maybe?
Michael Kors, who was wearing camo pants, according to my husband.
One of the twins from Blonde Redhead, on two separate occasions. (Maybe I’ve seen both of them?!)
I shared an elevator with a famous actor once, I can’t remember who it was.
I was about to say Conan O’Brien and Tina Fey, but that’s from an episode of The Office.
I might be forgetting a couple more. Clearly I don’t pay much attention to celebrities, for two reasons. One, I’m a cool New Yorker and it’s like, no big deal, they’re everywhere, who cares, I’m so cool. And two, I don’t look at other people a lot when I walk around, partly because I’m too concerned with not tripping on a curb or doing something equally embarrassing. I can be very clumsy. Self-conscious, too.
In 2000 or 2001, I came to the city to see a Mos Def and Talib Kweli show at Wetlands. This was at the height of my love for hip-hop and I was deep into that backpacker shit. I really wish I got to see more shows back then. 90s and early 2000s hip-hop is fucking great and—apologies for the generational snobbery—it’s so much better than today’s hip-hop, much of which is soulless and unfun and useless beyond background music for smoke sessions and helping suburban teenagers convince other suburban teenagers how hard and real they are.
So we’re in TriBeCa and we’re early for the show and my friends wanted to hotbox the car. I sat in the car with them, but declined to smoke, which genuinely surprises my 2016 self. We get out and the smoke is fog-thick, it travels with us to the corner where Wetlands is located. There’s groups of people on that corner waiting for the show to start and when we get there with our pot fog, a man looks at us and says to his friends, “Yo, you got any ganja?” They walk away, presumably to partake.
Yes, that man was Mos. Yes, we were totally stoked that we inspired him to smoke up before the show. Yes, the show was awesome, Pharoahe Monche was a surprise guest! And yes, it’s not a GREAT celebrity story, but it really is the best celebrity story I have.