Sunday, May 18, 2008

America's hat

I haven't seen anything about it in the news, so it seems Canada's attempted invasion of New York City failed.

A few days before I left, I met a friend at Sylvia's, the most famous soul food restaurant in Harlem (I've heard from several people that it's not the best soul food place, though; but I was pleased with my chicken and waffles, and the peach cobbler was excellent). As I walked up to the restaurant, a group of similarly dressed people started pouring out of Sylvia's Too, the adjoining catering hall. They kept coming and coming, mostly teenagers but several adults as well. The sidewalk was filled with 75-100 people when all was said and done.

Although it was a nice spring day, they were all wearing matching black fleeces that said "DW Poppy Music Dept." on the front, and each had a small Canadian flag on the back. That's right, it was a Canadian band or choir tour!

I've heard that it's sometimes safer for Americans to pretend they're Canadian when travelling abroad, since a lot of people hate Americans right now, but I thought the opposite might be true for these Canucks in Harlem. I knew I had a few minutes before my friend arrived, and assuming they were heading just a few blocks down the road to the Apollo for Amateur Night (a correct assumption, by the way), I decided to follow them to see what kind of reactions their presence elicited.

We got a lot of strange looks as we made our way down the street (I didn't realize it right away, but I'm sure I looked like I was part of the group), but I only heard one comment: as the last of the 80 or so white people passed a man about a block from the Apollo, he said, "Man, y'all need to head back downtown. You're gonna get killed."

There was no hostility in his voice, like he would be the one doing the killing, but there wasn't a lot of compassion either. He said it in a very matter-of-fact way, as if he were saying something like "the express train goes faster than the local." Once we arrived at the theater, I turned around and went back to Sylvia's.

The next night I went to a Yankees game with some friends. It was good timing--I wanted to see a game before I left, and my favorite team, the Detroit Tigers, happened to be in town. We endured the rain to see my Tigers complete their first three-game sweep in Yankee Stadium since 1966 (sorry, Katie--well, not really).

In the fifth inning, I wandered through the concession stands, looking for a vendor selling those mini helmets full of ice cream. I didn't find that, but I did see the same group of Canadians! Apparently they hadn't been killed the night before. I started talking to one of the chaperones and told them I had seen them go to the Apollo the previous night. I told her I had been booed off the stage just two weeks previously, and asked them what they thought of the show.

She told me that there had been a rapper who had been booed off very quickly, but he refused to leave the stage when the Executioner came out to get him. He just kept rapping, and eventually security guards had to come out and escort him off stage. That would've been funny to see.

The next night I attended Brook's sock-hop birthday party on Amy's, Becca's and Ashley's roof. The Canadians weren't there, but we did have a couple of uninvited guests: apparently, we weren't actually supposed to be on the roof, and the cops came and shut us down. While we were needlessly distracting some of New York's finest, who knows what kind of shenanigans those British Columbians were up to? They're not to be trusted, what with their free health care, affinity for hockey and Bryan Adams. Watch out, New Yorkers--there'll probably be another batch of 'em back next spring!

1 comment:

Tamara said...

I still think that it was great that the cops were checking ID's at the party...what for the punch??