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New York May Change, but Alec Baldwin's Public Rage Remains the Same

New York May Change, but Alec Baldwin's Public Rage Remains the Same As a great thinker once said: seasons change, so do cities. And yet...

New York May Change, but Alec Baldwin's Public Rage Remains the Same

Baldwin photographed at the LLIMF 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner on October 10, 2018.

As a great thinker once said: seasons change, so do cities. And yet, some things are immutable, never altered, as concrete as the very sidewalks of New York. The leaves may have turned a golden ochre in the last week or so, winter whispering its way i nto Manhattan once again. There may be a Target on Avenue A now, its bright fluorescent light drowning out a lost bohemia’s ghosts. Things are different! But don’t worry. Just when you begin to feel that the New York you once knew is gone forever, Alec Baldwin goes and gets in a fight with someone on the street to remind us all that some things never change.

Yeah, Alec Baldwin was arrested on Friday for allegedly punching a man in a dispute over a parking spot on 10th Street in Greenwich Village. The story seems to be, according to TMZ, that Baldwin had a friend holding a free spot for the actor, but then some other jabroni came swooping in and stole the spot, incensing Baldwin. When the unidentified man got out of the car, Baldwin accosted him and then, supposedly, there was a punch involved. (Also a “Fuck off!”) Baldwin was arr ested and taken to the 6th precinct where he was charged with assault. Oh, Alec. (A representative for Baldwin has not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment.)

As earlier indicated, this is by no means Baldwin’s first time getting mad on the streets of New York City. There was an arrest in 2014, after Baldwin reportedly told two police officers who stopped him for riding his bicycle the wrong way up a one-way street to “go fuck themselves.” (Baldwin declined to comment on the incident at the time.) There was also the notorious incident of the gay slur in the daytime when Baldwin reportedly hurled a couple of unsavory words at a paparazzo in 2013, an accusation he denied. That kerfuffle led to the loss of his interview show on MSNBC, which was almost brand new.

There was another thing years ago in Los Angeles, but frankly what goes on on those pedestrian-less streets is of little interest to us. This is a New York story. Not that yelling at and punching people on the streets is a traditionally New York thing. But Alec Baldwin is. He’s a regular on the city’s premier comedy show. He’s the voice of the New York Philharmonic. (Like, he introduces it on the radio. He’s not singing concerto arias.) And he stalks the streets of the city, occasionally screaming at people and maybe punchin’ ‘em. He should probably try to not keep doing this. Because being arrested for maybe punching someone is not a good look for anyone, let alone a 60-year-old civic institutio n such as himself.

And yet. The secret that many of us New Yorkers don’t publicly share is that, well, a wicked little want curls within some of us. It’s the almost transgressive desire to have Alec Baldwin yell at us on the street. Not punched! No, no. Nothing so real as that. But just, y’know, flustered at, raged upon, briefly, by this bellicose fact of New York City. Am I alone in this? Maybe I actually just want to bear witness to it, rather than be subjected to it. But then I’d be hoping for someone else to be aggressed on, and that’s not a good thing to put out in the world. Nor would it be true. I don’t want anyone to get Baldwin’d who doesn’t already possess a strange yearning for this angry fixture of the city to reveal his full blare to us. So it has to be me. If I am to see it, I must be prepared to accept it head-on.

Of course, it will probably never happen. Just as I’ve never been to the top of the Empire State Building and quite possibly n ever will. Certain rites of the city may forever elude us. But that doesn’t mean I won’t still walk the townhome-lined streets of the Village possessed of the quiet, dangerous wish that I might turn a corner, bump into the star of Boss Baby, and receive his sweet reproach. That, in a way, is its own constant of New York City, that troubled dream that I might more fully live in this complicated sprawl of buildings and bodies. I want it, and I don’t. And it doesn’t get any more New York than that.

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