Exclusive: Update On My Doorman's Rubber Band Ball!
Plus: Eric Adams Watch! US Towns With Excellent Mottos! More!
Welcome to Issue #23 of CAFE ANNÉ.
Readers loved Jessi Highet and Mike Varley, the couple profiled in Issue 22, who walked 26.2 miles a day through the streets of NYC for an entire year, rating bagels along the way.
And they had lots of questions. Folks were most curious to learn what the duo wore on their walks. “What shoes did they wear?” asked Lisa in New Haven. “Did they wear [their own] branded apparel?” asked Phil in Queens.
When I gave him a ring, Mr. Varley told me he bought 13 pairs of New Balance V860 shoes prior to his odyssey, and went through a new pair every five weeks. “They’re extremely comfortable and I knew I could rely on them,” he says.
Ms. Highet experimented with Nikes, Newtons and Tevas before settling on sneakers from HOKA.
They also planned a series of 20 outfits in advance of their journey, relying mainly on thrift store finds along with their own branded hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts and rain gear. You can review all 20 color-coordinated outfits—arranged by season, of course—on the clothing section of their website.
In other news, if you want some BIZ ANNE in addition to your CAFÉ ANNE, please check out this profile of NYC coffee startup Blank Street–my latest column for Crain’s, and my story for the Wall Street Journal on the closing of the 9/11 Tribute Museum.
No long feature for you this week! Instead, please enjoy a boatload of nonsense, below.
IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE
• Eric Adams Watch
• Rubber Band Ball Update #3
• US Towns With Excellent Mottos
• Items Of Interest
ERIC ADAMS WATCH
On Bald-Headed Guys, Robot Dogs and Government Waste
I continue to enjoy the exploits of New York City’s new mayor, Eric Adams. As a recent 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 #2 of the mayor’s latest doings:
March 12: Launches his own TikTok channel with a video featuring his now-infamous green breakfast smoothie. “Bing bong, New York City! Your mayor’s on TikTok!” he says.
March 23: Tweets a lengthy video of himself ordering a falafel bowl from a man with no hair: “We bald-headed guys serve each other!”
March 25: Another TikTok video! This one has top women in his administration introducing themselves to an electro-dance beat. They look deeply chagrined. One commenter notes, “Your social media manager is very bad at this.”
April 6: TikTok video #3 features the Mayor walking the Fire Department’s terrifying new robot dog, followed by a clip of hizzoner inexplicably whacking a truck tire with an axe.
April 7: Clarifies that the truck tire symbolizes “government waste and inefficiency.” Of course! Joseph Campbell would approve.
April 10: Celebrates 100 days in office by getting Covid.
Rubber Band Ball Update #3
Readers who don’t have Alzheimer’s will recall I’ve been chronicling the progress of my doorman’s rubber band ball since October. John Santiago, who is also a drone pilot extraordinaire, started the project last fall, using rubber bands our mailman donates every day after unbundling the mail.
When I checked in this past January for update #2, I was shocked to discover Mr. Santiago had started another rubber band ball to keep the first one company. “I wanted to have a twin brother to it,” he told me.
By April, he vowed, they’d both be the size of a basketball. Or a soccer ball.
I checked in last week. He’s running a little behind.
“I haven’t done much rubber-banding,” he admitted. “I’ve just been busy with a lot of packages lately, contractors coming in and out of the building, brokers—a lot of apartments have been sold. But I will get back to it! It will be bigger next time.”
“Let me see the other one,” I insisted.
He’d been holding back. The second ball had grown several inches.
“That one is fairly impressive now,” I said.
“Right? That’s what I’m saying. They were almost the same size before,” he agreed.
I peeked into the top drawer of his podium, where he’d been stashing his rubber band supply. It was empty.
“The mailman just keeps giving me rubber bands, and I had them all over my drawer, so I put them in rubber gloves. I had to tidy up a little bit,” said Mr. Santiago.
He rummaged in his cabinet and pulled out two black rubber gloves, both bursting with rubber bands. The rubber gloves filled with rubber bands were tied up with even more rubber bands to keep them from exploding.
“I think this is inspired,” I told him.
“One last thing,” I said. “The plan was to have them the size of a basketball by April…”
“Oh shit!” he said. “I missed the deadline!”
“We’ll push it out a bit,” I said. “What’s the new deadline?”
“Let’s see,” he said. “Where are we now, April? Maybe by the Fourth of July.”
“Okay,” I said.
“It’s the Fourth of July and the anniversary of my father’s death,” said Mr. Santiago.
“So we’ll have the anniversary of your father’s death, Independence Day and a rubber band ball the size of a basketball,” I said.
“Yep, there you go.”
“I’m looking forward,” I said.
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN NEW HAVEN
US Towns With Excellent Mottos
“Trenton Makes, The World Takes”
“Yesterday’s Road to the Future”
-North Syracuse, NY
“The Most Happening Place on Earth”
“Nature’s Air-Conditioned City”
“Town Without a Toothache”
“The Perfect Place to Start”
“It’ll Take You By Surprise!”
-Compiled by Lisa Serman, failed journalism/women’s studies major
ITEMS OF INTEREST