Discover more from CAFÉ ANNE
The Naked Cowboy's Morning Routine
Plus! Eric Adams Watch!! Weird Trash Pic #25!!!
Welcome to Issue #82 of CAFÉ ANNE!
Rah! It felt like everyone just loved Serhiy Mshanetskiy, the Ukrainian doctor turned Brooklyn gardener I profiled in last week’s issue. I’ve seldom gotten so many warm comments on a story. But my favorite response was from Mr. Mshanetskiy himself, who said he and his girlfriend, piano teacher Ruslana Ilkiv, packed a picnic dinner and spent a sunset hour in Brooklyn Bridge Park reading the story and all the comments. He included a photo:
Wowza! That’s a lot of sushi!
In other news, super just-in-time-for-the-subway-fare-hike shoutouts to this week’s new paid subscribers Aberkun, Pam S., Hannah M., Susan S., Gail A., and founding-level supporters Cara S. and Jackie53. That’s enough $$$ for 155 subway rides, even with the fare hike!
I am very excited about this week’s issue, of course. I had a lot of free-lance work to tackle so I didn’t have time to write a new feature, but I’m rerunning an old favorite from the newsletter’s early days, about the famous Times Square Naked Cowboy and his bonkers morning routine. We’ve also got a double edition of Eric Adams Watch and some miscellaneous nonsense. Please enjoy.
Weird Trash Pic #25
Most of the weird trash photos submitted by readers depict garbage heaps found on the sidewalk or curb. But Peter G. in Morningside Heights recently sent what is for sure a CAFÉ ANNE first: weird trash found in the trash!
It looks as though someone discarded a batch of unbaked rolls in a city trash bin, which rose in the heat.
“I think it’s a new approach to making bagels,” said Peter.
Peter credits his pal Miriam W. for the snapshot, and says the bin was spotted in Tribeca near Chambers Street.
Thank you Peter!
Please send your weird trash photo to email@example.com and I will include it in a future issue.
ERIC ADAMS WATCH
On Fibs, Eerie Skies and Pizza Gate
I continue to enjoy the exploits of Eric Adams, whom my friend Aharon refers to as “New York City’s first AI-generated Mayor.” As a profile in Politico put it, “In a city of weird people and weird mayors, Adams is maybe the most idiosyncratic figure to ever hold the office.”
Here, round-up #17 of the mayor’s doings:
June 1: The NYT publishes a long story detailing what it says is a history of mayoral fibbing, questioning Mr. Adams’s claims of having been a squee-gee man, an errand runner for a hooker, a vegan, and an expert skateboarder. Mr. Adam’s spokesman responds: “In his 62 years on this planet, the mayor has experienced more than 32 million moments, the vast majority of which have not been documented by even the most zealous members of the New York City press corps.”
June 7: When smoke from the Quebec forest fires turns the entire city an eerie, hazy orange, the Mayor sums up everyone’s feelings at a press conference: “What the hell is this?”
June 11: Mayor Adams celebrates the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan by posing with a giant boa constrictor around his neck.
June 18: When a proposal to curb emissions from coal-burning pizza ovens results in “Pizzagate” (with one disgruntled pizzeria owner whipping slices over the fence at City Hall), the mayor comes down on the side of pizza. “I think pizzas have saved more marriages than any other foods,” he tells reporters at a press conference. “Sharing a pie with your boo is like, that's the ultimate!”
July 1: The mayor posts an interview on Instagram with his newly appointed Rat Czar, Kathleen Corradi, discussing how everyone in the city can help fight rats. They discuss high-tech concepts such as scrubbing trash bins with bleach and garbage cans with sealed lids. “We have to starve them!” the mayor declares. “Starve them out!” she agrees.
July 6: The NYT reports that the tattered photo of a slain police officer the Mayor claimed to have kept in his wallet for years was actually newly created by his aides. Staffers printed the photo in black-and-white and even splashed it with coffee to make it look old. A mayoral spokesman says the authenticity of the photo is not the point.
July 11: Speaking at a Brooklyn church, the mayor declares, “I am the symbol of black manhood in this city, in this country…I’m the mayor of the most POWERFUL city on the globe, and people need to recognize that! People need to recognize that!” The congregation erupts in cheers.
July 16: The mayor posts a video on Instagram of himself jumping rope on the streets of Brooklyn to the beat of Jurassic 5’s “What’s Golden.” This prompts a deluge of comments from citizens urging the mayor to get back to work, to which user JnaLoveMusic responds, “Y’all should let him be normal. If he wants to jump rope let him be!”
The Naked Cowboy’s Morning Routine
The Naked Cowboy, the world’s most famous street busker, is like the mail carrier, except he’s dressed in his underwear, delivering songs. Rain or shine, blizzard or superstorm, the Ohio native reliably shows up to perform in Times Square. He’s been strumming seven days a week for 23 years straight.
But when the Naked Cowboy wakes up, he doesn’t always feel like going to work. He relies on his strict morning routine to get motivated enough to show up, strip down and perform.
“I have to keep up on it or I would not continue to do this,” he says. “No one else could ever stand out there every single f-ing day and do what I do. No one could, no one would. It’s literally this routine that has done it.”
1:00 AM: WAKE-UP
The Naked Cowboy, aka Robert John Burke, shares a one-bedroom apartment in Woodside, Queens with his wife, Patricia Cruz, a belly dance instructor from Mexico. While he conks out at 9 pm, he often wakes up early and can’t fall back asleep.
“The songs I sing all day are spinning around in my head,” he says.
Or worse, he lies awake for hours worrying about money.
6 AM: MORNING MOTIVATION
As soon he’s up, Mr. Burke, who is 50, pours a coffee—Folgers “Classic Roast,” black—and plops into a reclining chair surrounded by a stack of Naked Cowboy hats and a giant wall hanging of Times Square.
He checks a hand-drawn calendar in his composition notebook and records the previous day’s schedule along with his exercise reps and expenses.
His notebook also includes his long-running journal, which is less of a diary and more a self-administered morning pep talk. He read me an excerpt from a previous day’s entry:
“It’s Saturday. I’ll get famous this day alone. Everything works out perfectly for me…My capacity is astounding and ever present. I am the only one with such determination. I am the only one who is number one in Times Square, New York City, America—let’s face it—the world…All day I stand proud and push ahead to endless victories.”
Next, he reads from his Naked Cowboy Dialogue, a tattered 100-page manifesto he’s been revising for more than two decades. It sounds a lot like his journal:
“I want unlimited wealth, financial independence and anything I want whenever I want as often as I want with whomever I want…I want my fortune to be unequalled in the history of mankind… I am committed to leaving an indelible mark on this world.”
“It’s literally the hard drive for my brain,” says Mr. Burke. “I read this every single day. I’ll do this and get completely jacked out of my mind.”
He also re-reads favorite authors including Emerson, Tony Robbins, Nietzsche and Christian writer Joel Olsteen—anyone writing about self-reliance, individualism, power and spiritual laws.
7:00 AM: THE GYM
Most mornings, Mr. Burke makes the mile-long run to Retro Fitness, a $20-a-month gym in Woodside, Queens. He runs home afterward.
“If you don’t run in the morning, on an empty stomach, you’re a p—,” he says. “End of story.”
Mr. Burke, who is 6-2, weighs 185 in the summer but gains 30 pounds every winter to keep himself warm performing half-naked in the snow. He lifts as heavy as he can: 60-pound arm curls, 800-pound leg presses, 225-pound bench presses. The routine takes just thirty minutes. “I could stay in the gym all damn day and I don’t think I’d look any different,” he says.
8:30 AM: THE COMMUTE
Back home for a quick shower. Then he packs his bag: Band-Aids, Claritin, socks, sunscreen and mints for when he kisses the ladies.
He drives to Midtown in his Chevy Tahoe SUV. The six-mile drive over the Queensboro Bridge takes more than an hour in the traffic. Most days, he stops at the 7-Eleven for breakfast—a pound of sliced turkey and a bottle of Muscle Milk. He eats as he drives.
Unfortunately, by the time he hits the road, he’s often feeling discouraged again. Despite the prospect of earning roughly $200 in tips on weekdays and $500 a day on weekends—not to mention constant hugs and blessings from tourists around the world—he needs another pep talk. “I feel my stomach is in knots,” he says.” I don’t want to go. It’s the worst.”
He plays recordings he’s made of himself reading the Naked Cowboy Dialogue aloud and gets pumped again.
10 AM: SHOWTIME!
Mr. Burke enters the Edison ParkFast garage in Midtown where he gets a free parking space in exchange for sweeping the lower levels. He parks in a dark corner where he slips into his legendary outfit.
The change is transformative. Upon donning his hat and boots, he suddenly shines like an angel. Even his underwear starts glowing.
He enters his stage—the grand theater that is Times Square—steps into a throng of tourists, and starts singing: “Well, I’m the Naked Cowboy, you gotta do what you gotta do!”
“Every day is an epic battle,” he says. “How am I going to do this? But then I get out there and it’s the greatest day in the world.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I go there and it’s seven in the morning, which means my motor skills are not at their best. I put on these gloves, and they’re like, ‘Here’s a groundhog.’ I’m like, ‘What the f—?’ I’m like, ‘Don’t you have a little more coaching to go with this or whatever?’ It was idiocy. Why would you want an elected official to hold a groundhog? I don’t know anything about holding groundhogs. So the whole thing is just insane. There’s an original sin here. Don’t hand someone a groundhog, right?”
—Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to New York Magazine, recalling a Groundhog Day, 2014 incident in which he dropped weather forecasting rodent Staten Island Chuck. Chuck later died from the injuries.
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