True New York Stories [not entirely OT]

When I was in Manhattan a few days ago, a tourist from the Midwest said to me “I’d heard these were enormous, but I didn’t believe it until I saw one for myself.”

What was he referring to?


  1. Well, the obvious answer is “skyscrapers”, but since you posed the question as a riddle, I assume that the correct answer must be something else. Perhaps he was buying a hot dog or a pretzel from a street vendor?

  2. Can’t be the apartments. Possibly the rats. Maybe the smoke rings from the sign in Times Square but do they still have the signs that blow smoke rings? The Times Square signs themselves? Do they still have the one with the Otto Messmer animations? The cathedrals? The pipe organs in the cathedrals? Something he saw at a peep show booth? The carriage horses?

  3. That “not entirely OT” in Bill’s headline makes me think that the answer is going to have an indirect connection to comics.

  4. larK, have you ever been to the Carnegie Deli? I swear, the more you ate one of their sandwiches, the larger it got.

    That isn’t the correct answer, but your comment brought back memories of the only truly scary turkey sandwich I ever encountered.

  5. I scrolled back to the beginning of the month (which took longer than I expected, because the 24-hour project added nearly three week’s worth of posts). There were a lot of humorous possibilities (such as “worms”, or “apostrophes”), but I think the answer is going to be a giant flag hanging from some building.

  6. I’m going to vote with Olivier – rats, to go with the “they think they have a mouse” comic.

  7. Street mimes?

    I think the rats are pretty normal size, actually, and not too common in touristed areas like Midtown. You might see them on the subway, though.

  8. p.s. Unless you’re talking about those giant Sumatran rats, we see pretty big rats here in the midwest. Corn-fed.

  9. There was no way anybody was going to guess this.


    I was in a CVS in mid-Manhattan, and the guy in front of me had just bought a tube of toothpaste, and was staring at the comically-long receipt coming out of the register. “That’s normal for CVS,” I told him.

    “I’ve never been in a CVS before,” he said. “I’ve heard these things were enormous, but…”

    And of course I was struck by the absurdity that we were two blocks from Times Square, and in clear sight of the Empire State Building, yet this guy was impressed by the length of a CVS receipt.

  10. I think I would have been struck more with the fact that he had heard they were enormous. Is that something that would come up in a normal conversation?

  11. CVS receipts can be long because they will include a bunch of coupons. I have a fairly frequent experience where I go and pick up my prescriptions, get the long receipt, see one or more coupons on it, then buy stuff at the regular register with them on the way out. Then you get a normal receipt.

    You can find examples of people who made Halloween costumes based on the CVS receipt.

  12. Good point, WW.

    I didn’t realize the CVS receipt thing was so well-known until we saw a run of similar comics last fall (the one I just posted having been part of a pre-Halloween LOL post).

    We actually have a local supermarket that gives CVS a run for their money

  13. I heard a rather lengthy interview about CVS receipts on a PBS show (could have been local) within the last year.

  14. Mark M, maybe he saw one of the comic strips referencing CVS receipts.

    For all I know, he’s one of us and he saw them here: it’s not as if I’d recognize him, or he me.

  15. BJs – Has the longest receipts of any place we go. Second longest is Stop and Shop (Giant supermarket’s name here). The later runs around 2 feet for a one item receipt. Worst of all is that end information to both of these is at the bottom of the clubs (S&S), surveys, etc on the forms so that I can’t even tear off the unneeded junk and shred it, I need to keep the entire receipt – just in case. Walmart has nice compact receipts with any excess info they want to give you (take our survey) on the back of the receipt.

    I should mention it must be years since we were in a CVS – they are so expensive.

  16. “I should mention it must be years since we were in a CVS – they are so expensive.”

    Probably why the company is closing many of them. Noticed so many here in FL are on an opposite corner from a Walgreen’s. Been in a CVS once; didn’t like it, never went in one again. Don’t know why I didn’t like it; just a feeling. Must’ve been all the ‘more expensive than the Walgreen’s across the street’ vibe I was feeling.

  17. Wow . . . I thought they took ALL insurances. I used it for my first year, then went to WM which was quite a bit cheaper.

  18. Well, I have Express Scripts and they didn’t. Now it looks like they do. Not worth switching.

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