Dear Bill and Chirlane,
I just wanted to say thank you so much for the invitation to your new home at Gracie Mansion – and welcome to the island of Manhattan!
While I did stop by and enjoyed seeing my fellow New Yorkers of different shapes, sizes, styles, and colors, unfortunately, I’m not someone who enjoys standing on line. I did take some very nice photos of others who did but two hours is just not my thing. My favorite part of my visit to the promenade outside of the mansion was having the slippery walkway salted by a city worker who gamely threw the salt at my feet as if he were throwing rose petals. While maybe not romantic it was certainly thoughtful. I missed the opportunity to check out what’s in your medicine cabinet, find out who will be taking out the garbage, and rummaging through the refrigerator for a snack. Next time.
So after walking around a bit, I removed myself from the festivities and walked over to Chickie’s on 86 Street for a chicken gyro. Have been going there for years and the chicken is really pretty good. They have a Super Bowl special, too. You may want to check them out.
Since we’re practically neighbors, the only mannerly thing to do is to return the invitation and invite you over to my home for a visit. Why don’t you get settled in and then head uptown? Hopefully, my obsessive-compulsive neighbor will have cleaned the entranceway to my building and the elevator will have stopped lurching and jumping each time it stops. The good news is that there’s no waiting on line in mi casa except for the fact that I have one bathroom. We can all cope with this, I’m sure. And lucky for you, I’ve just about finished my yearly housecleaning so my home is spic and span and ready for company.
The one thing is, though, you can’t visit my home without being fed. I’ll do a brisket from Bob the Butcher (he sounds like a mob boss but the only thing he executes is meat) if you guys bring the salad. I’ve just figured out how my slow cooker works and what the “warm” button does. We’ll manage. I hope you like good old New York City tap water (does it taste the same in Brooklyn?) and I can get some root beer, if you'd like. If you have any dietary requests, please let me know. Not sure what side dish to prepare but I'll think of something. Everything goes better with feta cheese so I’ll pick some up.
I presume you'll be traveling with bodyguards who will have vetted this letter (references available upon request) so just let me know how many to expect. My apartment is egalitarian (translated: small) which means everyone eats together. My chairs, plates, and silverware don't all match and my vintage red formica kitchen table is a little wobbly but you must have other concerns..
While my humble rent stabilized apartment is not decorated with the antiques of Gracie Mansion, I guarantee that you will be riveted by my growing collection of tchotchkes; books about boxing and James Thurber; sculptures from Africa, the Museum of American Folk Art and my own; and numerous finds from neighbors, thrifts shops, and Etsy craftspeople. You’ll love the carved wooden pig wearing pearls which gives new meaning to pearls before swine, robotic cats made of recycled materials, and the antique barbershop chair covered in Marimekko fabric. A warning: Please don't touch the handmade clothing rack made of pipes in the bedroom. It might fall over. You’ll see that I have many books but they are not available for lending, should you be inclined to ask. No, I don’t have any cats. We’ll watch some of my videos on YouTube after the Jiffy Pop has popped and I’ve prepared my outstanding chocolate malteds. When you watch the videos, you’ll find out more about the people who live in our two cities. There's one with a young man who's a guidance counselor by day/drag queen by night and a Holocaust survivor from Washington Heights. You know, when I think about it, there's more than two cities here.
Allow me to let you get back to the business of running our city. On a final note, the last time I had people over, someone removed a rare spoon into their possession, a fight ensued, and the strawberry shortcake landed behind my desk. I know this won’t happen when you’re here. Your security team will take care of any squabbles, I'm sure, and I won't be serving strawberry shortcake.
So let me know when you're free!
Oh, and one other thing. Please remove your shoes at the door.