Horatio writes: Mitchell Andrews read our thought piece about the art of navigating the newsstand and contributed this classic vignette which could only occur on the Upper East Side of New York:
I grew up on the hallowed turf of 79th and Madison, which for those of you who are unfamiliar, is one of the most affluent zip codes in the city, rife with more well-moisturized ladies who lunch, small dogs, and busy, busy plastic surgeons per acre than anywhere else in the nation. You would think that I would have had more than enough pocket money to procure a collection of porn that could rival quantity-wise, the collection of art at the nearby Met. I was eleven and horny as hell. But the honest truth was, a silver spoon only gets you so far. The barrier between me and mountains of nudie mags was that even the newsstand proprietors need to keep up appearances on the Upper East Side and so noone would dream of selling porn to minors with so many eyes on the street. I came up empty in my quest for Penthouse until I came to the newsstand on 86th and Lexington where the guy behind the counter announced loudly with relish that he could not possibly fulfill my request as it was against the law to sell pornography to minors. He then leaned forward, winked and whispered into my ear the magic words "Go to the newsstand on 79th and 2nd and tell them Abdul sent you." As I soon discovered, the foot traffic at that corner was virtually non-existent and Abdul had a well-rehearsed revenue share with the owner there who became my weekly dealer. Thank you Abdul, for giving me a moral education, at a critical age in my development that the means justify the ends, where there is a will there is a way, and whatever that phrase is about the worth of walking a mile in someones shoes.