The White-Haired Fox


YUP. I'm talking about Anderson Cooper.

(What else  what "the white-haired fox" refer to?!)

I was so excited yesterday to go to a taping of Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show! I can't say anything about the show until it airs (I'll let you know when), but it was so fun. The studio is on Columbus Circle--a beautiful area located at the southwest corner of Central Park. You wouldn't believe the view! One wall of the studio is comprised entirely of glass windows that look out over Central Park, Columbus Circle, and the Upper East Side. Swoon. 

Anderson comes from a privileged background and it's funny to hear him say things like "when I was 17 and driving a truck across sub-Saharan Africa, I contracted malaria and had to be hospitalized in Kenya." I don't know how,  but he never comes off as pretentious in spite of this! I have a pretty fine-tuned radar for when somebody is a tool, so he must be really  down-to-earth in order to say things like that without me being annoyed. Or maybe it's just that hair of his. Or those eyes. Or EVERYTHING.

One of the best parts of the show is how much audience participation there is. Anderson is always walking around taking questions that audience members have for the guests, or just answering any question they throw at him during set transitions. He's very warm and personable, with a special knack for making the best of awkward situations--like when an elderly woman asks if he remembers her ("We met at such-and-such restaurant in Long Island in 2007!"), or when another woman asks if he's read the book she sent him, or when an audience member straight up asks him for a job and if they can exchange business cards! Anderson's reply: "Uh, I don't really have a business card," (translation: I'M EFFING ANDERSON COOPER) "but let me have one of my producers grab yours!"

I stayed a little longer after to the show to volunteer for a special segment on the next  day's show. It was me and about twenty other people. They only chose a handful to "use" for the segment, and I was not one of them (which, weirdly, I'm kinda proud of--again, I'll let you know when it airs!). I did,  however, get a free bag of Doritos and bottled water out of it, along with prime seating to the next day's taping. They had me at Doritos, but y'know, I'll take everything I can get.

I spent the rest of the day exploring the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I started with Pomander Walk--a double row of brick, stucco, and timbered Tudoresque townhouses tucked away on 94th Street. The develop of them, Thomas Healy, was inspired by set designs from a 1921 play called Pomander Walk. The Pomander Walk on 94th was his attempt to recreate the village atmosphere within the play. Gloria Swanson, Rosalind Russell, and Humphrey Bogart are among the past tenants there.

I then wandered down to Riverside Park--a woodsy stretch of green that curves along Riverside Drive for seventy blocks. Originally planned in 1873, it has since grown to include playgrounds, sports fields, a promenade, and monuments. It was a quiet refuge from the hustle-and-bustle of nearby Broadway Street: A few dog-walkers, squirrels scampering up tree trunks, children playing, and the muted rumble of Henry Hudson Parkway. I passed by a monument to Joan of Arc (aka SHE-BALLER) before running into the marble Soliders and Sailors Monument. Built in 1902 and dedicated to those who died to save the Union during the Civil War, it was modeled after the Monument of Lysicrates in Athens.

How gorgeous is Riverside Park?!

I was trying to snap a picture of the beautiful cherry tree near the monument (CAN YOU TELL I'M JUST A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH THOSE????) but the light wasn't cooperating with me. It was then that an older Jewish man--mid-fifties, rotund, and slightly disheveled--approached me. I smiled at him.

Smiles are hard to come by in the city, apparently, which is perhaps the reason why I spent the next ten minutes in conversation with him. His Yiddish accent was as thick as his waistline. I half-expected to hear a fiddler playing on a distant roof.

"Did jou know," he said, "zhere is a beautiful cherry tree just down zhe vay? Zhis von here doesn't smell, but zhe ozher von does. And zhis von's flowers are light pink--zhe flowers on zhe ozher tree are darker."


"Yes! It is maybe thrrree-minute walk from here." The r  tumbled down his tongue. "I'd show you, y'know, but I'm just heading to my home. But you must  visit it. Really. Before zhe next two, thrrree days, because zhen all zhe blossoms fall down. It smell so nice. You will see people grabbing the branches to smell zhe blossoms. And you will see ozher cherry trees, too! One with branches that touch zhe grrrround. I svear!" I couldn't stop smiling the whole time he spoke.

"So vhat do you do here in New Yorrrk? Are you actress? Model?"

I tried to repress a loud HA! and explained my being here.

"Oh, you know"--for a man seemingly in a rush to get home, he didn't mind chatting away--"zhere is a vonderful place downtown that you and your husband must go. It's for dancing. Sving dancing! You must do sving dancing. People are always smiling when they sving dance. In salsa, tango--no. No smiling. You must do the sving. They dance in eight counts, like zhis."

He took my hand and danced with me right there, counting the beats and twirling me around, bouncing from side to side.

"Yes, you must go. But I don't know if you vill like zhe place. Maybe it's not for people of your social class, just for schmucks like me."

**PAUSE** A Jewish man with a Yiddish accent used the word "schmuck" in conversation with me. Cross that off the bucket list.

Anyway, we continued on until he decided it was actually time to head home. He left me his business "card"--a thin strip of paper. ("I'm in zhe process of ordering real vons rrright now, with lines on zhe back for you to write down an appointment.") Apparently, the man has a PhD and has written an e-book called The Universal Meaning of Life and the Anatomy of Human Happiness. $2.99 on Amazon. His name is Alexander Jornitski--check out his website!

The business card reads: "Your fate has never put this kind of card into your hand before and will never do this again. Read the book; it is short, unique, and important."

This is the cherry tree he was talking about. He was right--it smelled amazing. (More than worth a three-minute walk.)

My final stop of the day was at Zabar's--a Jewish grocery store that is basically a foodie's paradise. Since 1934, its shelves have been stocked with every type of cheese you can imagine. From every country. A huge selection of oils, jams, jellies, vinegars, olives, sausages, exotic chocolates, and bakery breads. I'd never seen anything like it and could've easily spent hours  (and hundreds of dollars...) in there, but it was starting to get dark and Jersey is quite the commute from 80th Street. I grabbed a hunk of fresh Parmesan, a loaf of cinnamon bread from the bakery, and some chocolate chip cookies before heading home.

Yeah, I could definitely get used to the Upper West Side :)


  1. Fantastic. I LOVE people! Don't you LOVE PEOPLE???

  2. I just like you.
    And this blog.
    And the White Haired Fox.

  3. I LOVE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

  4. Please update us soon on what you did with that amazing food and about Coop ' next taping :D

  5. Such an awesome post. Like everyone else says: you're living the life others dream of (including me). Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you =)

  6. So many wonderful things happening in this post. Thanks for sharing.


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