Transgendered males to females are seen as often as pigeons in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. One sat next to me in a pizza parlor on 24th Street yesterday. I wouldn’t have given her a second look if she hadn’t taken the time to place the salt and a glass container of powdered garlic on my red tray, just as I sat down at a small, black table adjacent to hers. She likely assumed, after eating a slice of her own, that the nearly cheese-free entree needed more flavor. Perhaps she didn’t feel like returning the condiments to the counter and put them on my table to relieve herself of informal public dining rules. In either case, it was odd, to watch as a transsexual used her large painted hands so gracefully and openly in a town where most would never stop to think that perhaps a stranger in a café needed a little salt.
“Thank you,” I said after swallowing a mouthful of pepperoni, being polite not to talk with my mouth full. I never add seasons to my pizza, yet the gesture from the dude with carefully plucked eyebrows was thoughtful. She smiled and with a slight bit of sadness in her eyes, looked out the large window of the pizza shop to watch as large snowflakes filled the air of the town whose inhabitants had recently been wiped out of their fortunes.
Surely the Madoff scandal would rock New York city like an earthquake, I thought as the chewy dough quenched a hunger that started to plague me moments after an exhilarating workout at New York Sports Club.
Dear God! I thought. What about my dear friend, Joyce Cowin? Christ almighty– not even she deserves such tragedy. And my friend Joan Mc Elroy from Bailey House– the volunteer director who once had a three bedroom on Park Avenue for $600 a month– rent controlled? I hoped Joan wasn’t tied up in Madoff like a married man having an affair with a big-breasted transsexual from along the West Side Highway.
Yes, there was a time in New York when a girl could still make an honest living and afford to pay for her own operations. But the Madoff’s came along and changed the entire sex change process.
They were the Madoff’s of the Hamptons, not like my Jewish friends, Joyce Cowin and Joan Mc Elroy, who come from honorable families and speak in English accents.
Even Joan had to give up everything, including her rent controlled apartment when the Madoffs came to town. Poor Joan was outed for subletting the place for tens of thousands while living in Jamaica.
Hampton Jews pushed everyone out and in order for any of us to survive here, one had to suck up to those Madoff Jews.
The drag queen next to me looked sadly out the window. She hadn’t taken the time to paint her eyelids with liner, yet to me, she had a Liz Taylor quality in her stare.
Many Jews lost much– what will any of us do? I thought. I imagined tens of thousands were tricked out of their fortunes, yet never left a paper trail with Madoff. Anyone who has had Jewish friends like me, realize that they do much dealing ‘under the table’.
Those are the ones who will never make the news– those with names and reputations to protect.
The biggest secret to remaining rich is to appear to be rich and never permit society to notice one’s poverty. Any drag queen knows that.
Those fortunes were a part of everyone in America to one extent or another. The charities did good things. The endowments were the engine for those of us who choose alternate lifestyles and choose to live here among what was at one time, the wealthiest of humankind.
Thank heavens I don’t need to figure out how to pay for my next hormone injections, I thought, carefully sprinkling just a dash of garlic powder on my final slice of pizza, to show my appreciation for the drag queen’s gesture.
Even in winter, when hormone-cultivated breasts are tucked safely under layers of plus-sized, Daffy’s designer outerwear and Chanel scarves, it’s not uncommon to spot one of the many sexually transformed individuals who make this city their home. Yesterday– in the snow– the city seemed alive with the likes of drag queens with operations that had gone astray. Even the sinfully ugly with too-tight facial reconstructions were out running wild in the snow.