New York City Police Commissioner Told Me He Likes Enya

i am drinking a fruity cocktail inside Cipriani, a gala hall on 42nd Street that’s about the size of a football field and decorated like a palace. mike is around here somewhere, interviewing the general manager of the New York Mets. tonight we are at an event that is hosted by the Police Athletic League to honor the organization of the New York Mets, who, as the security guard at work told me today, are one of the worst teams in professional baseball despite their enormous payroll. behind me, a heavyset man with a Queens accent and a haircut from Goodfellas walks through the entrance and admires the lavish setting and says “so this where they’re puttin’ all their money, huh?” and some other heavyset guys laugh. the haircuts here fall mostly into two categories: wispy white comb-overs for the Mets organization and junior bouffants and crew cuts for the Police people

in front of me, 1980s Mets icon Keith Hernandez is milling around by himself and sipping a cocktail. he’s the person who i want to talk to most tonight beside Jim Leyritz, another Mets icon who was charged with manslaughtering a woman while he was drunk driving but got off in 2009 because she happened to be drunker than he was and was not wearing a seatbelt. life is like that sometimes i guess. anyway, Keith Hernandez is very tall and looks exactly like he did when he starred in a Seinfeld episode like 15 years ago

so i go up to Keith Hernandez and say “hi my name is david and i write for a culture website—can i ask you one question please?” and Keith Hernandez nods and i ask “what is your favorite Seinfeld episode beside the one you’re in?” Keith Hernandez says “i don’t really watch it…” and i give him a bewildered look like “how could you not watch Seinfeld? you’re Keith Hernandez, one of the stars of Seinfeld!” and Keith Hernandez says “i just don’t watch primetime TV—it comes on right when i’m eating, you know?” Keith Hernandez is very warm and i nod even though i don’t think Seinfeld has been on in primetime for at least a decade

i ask him if he watches his own episode and he says “well, yeah, i watched it a couple times, but i can’t watch it that much because i get embarrassed. sometimes i’m channel surfing and it’s on…” and then i thank Keith Hernandez, who, as i’m disappointed to realize, doesn’t really like Seinfeld but doesn’t want to say it explicitly

then i walk back to the press area and drink another cocktail and wait for more guests to arrive. there is an elevated DJ booth in the corner of the room and right now the DJ is playing a spirited live version of Cheeseburger In Paradise by Jimmy Buffett and a few minutes ago he played a Frank Sinatra song whose name i don’t know. i think if the NYPD had music charts, Frank Sinatra would have completely dominated for the last 70 years

then mike comes over to the press area and the New York City Police Commissioner walks in and gets his picture taken by about 15 photographers. i notice he has a single raindrop on his shoulder, probably a drip from the ice melting on the scaffolding outside. it is almost poetic. mike leans over and whispers “what are you gonna ask him?” and i whisper “probably what his favorite cop movie is?” and mike goes “shit that’s a good one, can i steal it?” and i think about it and say “okay fine”. later he will tell me that the Police Commissioner’s favorite cop movie is Police Academy

then a man with a junior bouffant haircut goes up to the Police Commissioner before we can reach him and says “this is a real nice function, thanks for havin’ us here” and they shake hands. then another guy comes up to the Commissioner and introduces him to a man who looks like he’s about 3000 years old and whose hair is so wispy that he makes Gandalf look like Jimi Hendrix. zing! and so now the Police Commissioner is talking to this old dude about their rain footwear. the Commissioner is wearing black synthetic winter boots and the old dude is wearing tan leather Timberland boots. the Commissioner says “yeah, these get great traction and they’re very light” and he lifts the sole of his boot to about the height of his knee and the old dude inspects the boot and seems to approve

a rollicking rendition of Piano Man by Billy Joel plays over the PA

then mike interviews the Commissioner and then i do. the Commissioner is receptive to my questions and doesn’t look like he’s trying to get away from me which is a quality that doesn’t go unappreciated in any conversation. i ask him what artists he’s listening to right now and he tells me he has very eclectic tastes and that he really likes Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones, and Rod Stewart. i ask him what the last song he listened to was and he tells me “something by Enya.” man i didn’t see that coming

then i wander around for a few minutes, surreptitiously following the cocktail waitress who is carrying the tray of pigs in a blanket and every few minutes i eat one. i know she thinks there is something wrong with me because guests are not supposed to follow the cocktail servers around gorging themselves on hors d’oeuvres, but we were told that we had to leave before dinnertime, so all the free food i’m gonna get out of this is gonna come in blankets

then John McEnroe walks in and gets his picture taken by the 15 photographers. he is hosting this gala and he looks really nervous. me and Mike watch him from a distance and try to generate questions as Is This Love by Bob Marley is playing over the loudspeaker and a generously proportioned woman takes a self-pic with John McEnroe. now he is talking to the owner of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, and he seems really weird because he shuffles his feet and speaks hurriedly and doesn’t make much eye contact. mike notices too and whispers “do you think he’s on something?” and i shrug

then a heavyset old man in big black sunglasses walks in and John McEnroe hurries over to him and says “take your glasses off, stay awhile!” and then introduces Fred Wilpon to the man in the black glasses by saying “say hello to my father, john mcenroe senior” and they all chat for a while and John McEnroe turns to his dad and says “be careful, it’s gettin’ slippery here” and kicks against the floor to communicate that it’s slippery

a few minutes later, a reporter will go up to John McEnroe to interview him and McEnroe will agree to it but then he’ll immediately excuse himself and say he’ll be right back. then he’ll do the same thing to me, and then he’ll do it again to another reporter. it’s really weird because generally if someone doesn’t want to do your interview, they just politely decline and that’s that. John McEnroe has the air of a man whose wife just told him she wanted a divorce 15 minutes before he had to leave to go host a gala and he hasn’t told anyone else yet

so anyway, Fred Wilpon walks away from John McEnroe and John McEnroe’s elderly father and gets stopped by an NBC television reporter and gets interviewed and i am standing right behind Fred Wilpon during the interview. if you are watching the local news on NBC tomorrow in New York, and you see Fred Wilpon getting interviewed and there’s a kid standing right behind him typing on his BlackBerry, i am that kid and this is what i am typing

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"David "Shapiro" is 22 and lives in New York City and has a Tumblr.