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Rear Window

I got a kick out of this article today about a thirty-something lawyer couple in my Brooklyn locale who have installed an adjunct to their townhouse with a large, clearly visible glass shower where they lather up in full view of the neighbors. The tipster reporting the story described the two as “not unattractive,” which I think should be a minimum requirement for anyone filing for such an exhibitionist permit. “The City of New York requires that the installation have proper drainage, be adequately sealed, and never be utilized by anyone failing to meet established, not-unattractive standards ..” This would have gone a long way toward solving last year’s controversy in San Francisco’s predominantly gay Castro district, where some flabby, middle-aged dudes fought for their right to parade about publicly in their birthday suits. The gentleman in question were also said to have engaged in sex acts and flaunted their goods adjacent to a local elementary school (as reported by area Supervisor .. wait for it .. Scott Weiner.) This is about where Brooklyn draws its line with San Francisco and had they tried the same here, odds are it would have resulted in a day-old loaf of lard bread being placed in a highly-awkward location. (Which in turn might have prompted the eastward migration of numerous middle-aged Castro district residents, but this is another matter.)

While most would agree that there’s something shaky about naked, older men setting up camp next to a schoolyard, things get a bit less well-defined with broader issues of public exposure. Particularly in New York City, where population density and proximity to one’s neighbors’ windows make it nearly impossible to remain entirely oblivious to what’s going on across the way. Case in point, an 81st Street Upper West Side studio that I lived in for six months back in 2004. My window stood directly opposite those of an exceptionally not-unattractive, tall, young blonde who had a fondness for neither shades nor clothing. This was something straight out of a George Costanza fantasy sequence – if she wasn’t a model she’d missed her calling, and it wasn’t merely a matter of being careless about who could see in. The amount of time she spent right by her window, well-lit and engaged in particular .. activities .. more than suggested that this was an audience-friendly affair. That said I’m both open to and inclined to agree with all accusations of hypocrisy and perversion. What the hell – I was relatively new to the big city and largely alone. If any crime was committed it was the fact that I never thought to send her an anonymous Christmas gift .. well, this and not extending my lease. From there I moved to 86th and Riverside, and a third floor walk up. Nice place but it overlooked a nursing home. Either way, you’ve got to love this city.

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