UWS Encounters: Thanksgiving Hallucinations, Mistaking Alec Baldwin, and a Sad Farewell


Name that celebrity…Photo by Georges Biard.

“I thought I was hallucinating”

Many years ago, before security took over the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, I managed to get into Central Park while the floats were still setting up. It was a very foggy day, of the type where the fog is thick and close to the ground. I expected Christopher Lee in a Dracula cape to emerge. Instead, miniature horses appeared. I thought I was hallucinating. To add to the oddness, the horses were wearing colorful outfits. Of course, it turned out they were participating in the parade, and had been allowed into the park for some R&R.

— Judy Harris

“Do you know who I am?”

Waiting for a red light to cross Broadway at 72nd St, I noticed Alec Baldwin in the median with an entourage doing… something. The woman standing next to me asked, “Is that who I think it is?”  “Yes” I answered. The light turned green, we crossed and gathered around the star. Baldwin focused on my new companion and asked her:

“Do you know who I am?”

Her response, “John Travolta?”

Baldwin roared, “JOHN TRAVOLTA???!!!”

So much for assuming Mr. Baldwin is universally recognized

— Christine Chronis

“Just Get Through the Winter”

I knew the tree well. He’d been feeling “unmoored” of late and had said that another Halloween like last year might just be his “undoing.” I had told him that the shade he brought to the exposed riverside during the summer months was a joy to everyone and that he had plenty to live for. “Just get through the winter,” I told him. “And you’ll see once again how important you are to so many New Yorkers.” I guess I didn’t say or do enough. He will not soon be replaced.

 — Evan Bando

People are asking how to acquire a West Side Rag mug. Right now, the answer is to write an UWS Encounter and send it to us at westsiderag@gmail.com or write it in the comments — 150 words or less, real names required. It should involve an interaction with another sentient being that happened on, or is related to, the neighborhood. Eavesdropping and careful observation are suggested, as is an openness to others — and there will be plenty of those as the holiday season approaches. At the risk of being labeled a Boomer, write on!

COLUMNS | 7 comments | permalink
    1. LL says:

      The first one is very sweet and the third one is very poetic.

      However regarding Alec Baldwin, hahaha. I’ve heard, um, horror stories about him.

      • Robert Goodman says:

        Mr Baldwin is a generous man and behaves like an ordinary person. My family has encountered him in three settings. Daughter sold him some toys for his first child many years ago in a local toy shop. Ran into him at a Berkshire resort without interacting years later. Seemed like a regular guy. My wife and I met him recently with his wife and youngest child at a doctor’s office. He was funny, personable and open. Seems a solid citizen. Any solid citizen would be appalled at being mistaken for John Travolta.

    2. columbusandbroadway says:

      ever think about that many in the church of scientology are stuck – between a rock and hard place? the church owns them and they don’t know how to get out (like many cults)