GILDED ARTIFACTS

In light of today’s avalanche of national and international conundrums, how amusing it is to see people with enough luxurious time and idle energy on their hands to make mountains out of molehills. On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where ostentatious is a way of life, urban royalty loves to exhibit their regal abodes and dazzling finery…usually when it suits them and preferably amongst each other; their noblesse oblige moments, of allowing outsiders to gawk, are few and quite accidental.

So imagine this pseudo-royalty’s level of despair when not merely two or three gawkers invade their realm but entire caravans of gawkers or sightseers arrive…all because a guy known as John Lennon lived and died at the Dakota. That’s enough to make any self-respecting elitist make a mountain the size of Mt. Everest out of a molehill!

Thirty years after the Beatles star was gunned down outside the building where he lived, the site still draws curiosity seekers. And with them come noisy, gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing, traffic-snarling buses, many from as far away as Canada. “They are an inconvenience and a nuisance,” said Gail Bell, a Dakota resident since 1996. “When the tourists get out, they block the entire sidewalk and you can’t back into your building. It’s dangerous because, many times, the buses block the intersection. They block the vision of the pedestrian walking across. I’ve seen people nearly killed.”

However, such despair isn’t limited to the regal Upper West Side but is also occurring in Greenwich Village; a once cool and bohemian, now cold and princely, neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. Instead of pilgrimages to the Gothic purlieu of a former Beatles emblematic resting place, the resting place for a defunct TV show is the draw in the Village. “Sex and the City” tours bring with them, as in the Upper West Side, the same unwholesome noise, unhealthy fumes and unwelcome traffic and crowds of gawkers.

Ah, the price of fame that turns to infamy, the price of fortune that turns to misfortune, besieging vanity so little appreciated and so cruelly disrupted. What are such petty concerns such as a nation’s economic collapse, ongoing/ impending wars, an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, etc, next to such a catastrophe? Living majestically in this “greatest city in the world” and not having one’s assimilated greatness duly honored could be a fate worse than death.

New York Post

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