Gossip Girl here…
Gossip girl here. Your one and only source into the mildly interesting lives of Brooklyn’s slightly embarrassed celeb-stalkers/teen soap fiends.
One of the exciting things to do in New York is celebrity-watching. It’s like bird-watching, except instead of birds, you watch skinny and attractive people engage in a range of human activities. Yup, it’s true: there are celebrities here, and anyone can watch them walk, talk and do things. But once you’ve seen a few celebrities walking their dogs, drinking coffee, or tripping on the curb, and you’ve learned that they really are “just like us,” what’s left to do?
Photograph them without their knowledge or consent.
Blog about them.
Try to become one of them.
I should be upfront about the fact that today’s celeb-sighting wasn’t the first since my recent move to New York. While lunching at Chelsea restaurant Cookshop with filmmakers Morgan Faust (Shout it Out, The Treasure of Thomas Beale) and Max Isaacson (Banned German Sprite Ads), we spotted Martha Stewart eating with a young man.
Who was he? We have no idea. What did Martha eat? Deviled eggs followed by some sort of salad with meat in it. Max, too, ate the eggs (Ever the vanguard, Max actually ordered the eggs before Martha did, and proclaimed them the best deviled eggs ever). I surreptitiously snapped a photo with my trusty iPhone, and sent it to several people I thought might enjoy it. Husband, mother, and culinary goddess/dear pal Chrissy. Mom’s response: she enjoyed my ridiculous open-mouthed reflection more than the picture of Martha. So much for my first attempt at life as a paparazza.
But I am not one to be deterred.
So when the fates handed me a golden opportunity to once again insinuate myself into the celebrity world, I took it.
Spotted: Which Brooklyn newbie had a bump-into with Gossip Girl star Connor Paolo? Better watch out big J: L could be shopping for more than corn at the farmers market.
That’s right. It’s 10am, and I’ve just sat in the car for an hour so I could hold onto my space during the weekly street-cleaning. I’m on my way to the farmers market. My teeth are unbrushed, and I haven’t showered since Friday. Suddenly, bam! There’s Connor Paolo, better known as Eric Van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl. He’s wearing the St. Jude’s blazer, which means that GG is actually filming in my ‘hood! So after buying my farm-fresh local produce, I scurry home to strategize.
I decide it’s best to put on an Upper East Side disguise, rather than my usual Brooklyn wear. (And I even shower!) My ensemble consists of a white dress from JCrew (circa 2002), a black belt with a big patent leather buckle from Target, a black cardigan from the JCrew outlet, and red patent leather pumps (Chinese Laundry). I pick the pumps because on my first walk-by, I’d seen several teenage extras sporting bright red shoes. Clever, huh? And no, these aren’t exactly UES brands, but wouldn’t Michelle Obama be proud? Plus, I top it off with a pair of Dior sunglasses, so that helps.
I’m obviously hoping that by looking like a UES lady-who-lunches, maybe I’ll get to be an extra. Let’s just take a moment and acknowledge how ridiculous it is that I put on a costume to visit the set of Gossip Girl in the hopes that they’d let me walk by in the background. Remember, I’m thirty-one years old.
So I get to set and loiter around, trying to look like I belong there, and like it’s totally normal that I’d be wearing this outfit at 1:30 pm on a Tuesday. They haven’t started shooting yet, so no celebs in sight. That looks something like this:
Then, after much shouting and fanfare, the shooting begins, and I’m kept outside the margins of the shot. Although I’m on the side of the street with the background actors, I’m not asked to jump in as one of them. Bummer. Costume strategy fails.
But I do manage to strike up a conversation with a young man in a St. Jude’s blazer. He’s been here since 5:45 this morning. And although he’s been focusing more on his own career as an off-Broadway actor, it’s not his first time working on GG. So, what kind of gossip does he have? I tried to get the inside track by asking him how many times he would have to walk back and forth (obviously envious of the fact that he got to be in the background of the shot). He replied, “Between seven and thirteen. It depends on how well the actors know their lines. And on this show, forget it. We could be here forever.” Then, on the next take, the PA scolded him for talking to me, so I got no further gossip. But I can tell you that they have people repeatedly drive by in Mercedes and Lexuses to give BK Heights a bit more of that UES feel. Oh, and it barely merits pointing out, but isn’t there a bit of gleeful irony in the fact that Constance/St. Jude’s is actually shot in Brooklyn, a place in which Blair would shudder to set a Jimmy Choo clad toe?
So here are the money shots: Chuck and Jenny, chatting outside his limo (which is dinged up on the non-shot side and has…gasp!…Jersey tags).
So, having failed to become an extra or get a good picture with my phone, I set off for Trader Joe’s, where I learned that looking like a UES lady-who-lunches at the Cobble Hill Trader Joe’s earns you plenty of attention. But not so much that I won’t try again next time…
You know you love me.