The great Pete Hamill once shoo'd us out of the office on a particularly slow news day.
"You're never going to come up with a story sitting at your desk and eating potato chips" (we were eating a bag of rippled Lays at the time), Hamill gently scolded, urging us to wander the streets if there was nothing on the agenda.
Out we went. Don't recall if I ended up with a good story that day. But the lesson has stayed with me.
We still hit the street from time-to-time. It usually pays off.
The other day we were wandering along West 13th St., having decided to go take a look at the tree in Sean Lennon's yard that was encroaching on his neighbors, Marisa Tomei's parents, Gary and Addie. The tree is the focus of a long running lawsuit (http://ny.curbed.com/2016/7/1/12078030/lennon-tomei-lawsuit-greenwich-village-tree) and I decided to go and take a look.
What a fabulous New York story, right? Yoko Ono and John Lennon's son, neighbor to he parents of the beloved Brooklyn product and Academy Award-winning actress - suing over a tree?
So as we're standing there looking at the tree and how it is growing onto the next door property, who walks up carrying some grocery bags but... Marisa Tomei's mom. A spittin' image of her daughter. Or vice versa, I guess.
She is suspicious of the stranger on her stoop, but after talking, Addie Tomei realizes I am more or less harmless. She reviews with me the history of the situation, offers some generally positive remarks about her famous neighbor, and laments how it has disintegrated into a public brouhaha.
I thank her for her time, apologize for delaying her return home, and mosey off to continue researching Village locales for possible future tours.
Unlikely you'll run into Sean Lennon, or any of the Tomei clan, on a Save the Village tour, but several of the tour groups have run into famous faces, from Philip Glass to Mario Batali to Michael Stipe.
You won't see ANY of them while sitting at your desk, or on your couch, eating potato chips.
So book a Save the Village tour today.
Tell 'em Pete Hamill sent you.