What do the upper crust of New York hope for in 2023? What are their dreams, secret fears and goals?
You and I? We just hope we can insert a MetroCard into the machine slot before the bus pulls away from the stop, right? Or that we have somehow chosen the shortest line at Whole Foods.
But the rich (and famous) are different, as the saying goes. So, here are my heartfelt wishes for a fulfilling new year to:
* Robert De Niro, actor and virtual New York Ambassador: May your home-security system work better. And may you get an opportunity to pummel – in court – that hapless intruder the way your Jimmy Conway beat that telephone receiver to a pulp in “Goodfellas,” when he learned that Tommy had gotten whacked.
* Eric Adams, Mayor and all-round bon vivant: May the tabloids be more sympathetic to your night owl style of governing the city. Hey, don’t people get it that you have The Second-Toughest Job in the Nation?
* Carolyn Maloney, longtime Representative from Manhattan, who is leaving Congress: I wish her a happy and productive post-Congress life. She can’t stop working and speaking out. She still has a lot to give us.
* Maggie Haberman, New York Times reporter, best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and acknowledged Trump Whisperer: May you-know-who remain in the news, for your sake, even if his alleged presidential campaign runs out of momentum. As Maggie can tell you, a) it ain’t easy covering the White House from her apartment in Brooklyn and b) reporting on Joe Biden doesn’t have nearly the same thrills and chills as you-know-who.
* Keechant Sewell, commissioner, NYPD: Let’s all wish the Commish a quiet, noncontroversial year in which the police force can earn the respect that it deserves from New Yorkers.
* Steve Cohen, free-spending New York Mets owner and pain in the butt to every other baseball owner, especially the gentleman in the following entry: May your ballyhooed moves result in an injury-free season, a vindication of your wild and crazy spending on free agents and a 1986-like revival in which your Mets own the city again.
* Hal Steinbrenner, long-time owner of that OTHER New York baseball team, the one that plays in the Bronx and used to own the back page of the tabloids, not to mention WFAN and ESPN: May you find a cozy watering hole like Stan’s, the beloved old bar across the street from Yankee Stadium, where everybody (still) knows your name.
* Lorne Michaels, executive producer of Saturday Night Live, a post he first held in 1975: May some newbie from your cast confound the critics and emerge as the next Kate McKinnon or Will Ferrell or Gilda Radner or Dana Carvey or Tina Fey or Dan Aykroyd or John Belushi.
* Jerry Seinfeld, stand-up comic of renown and the beloved star of a very-late 20th-century sitcom that continues to appears on New York stations roughly 467 times a day: May you have the inner peace to be able to walk down the street in the city and have nobody shout at you, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that?” or “No soup for you!” or “That’s a shame.”
* Aaron Judge, 6-7, 280-pound Yankees outfielder, who recently signed the richest contract in the history of the world (until the next one, of course): All rise! May the Bleacher Creatures in the Bronx and fans everywhere treat you kindly if you only hit, say, 51 home runs in 2023, as opposed to the record-setting number of 62 that you swatted last season.
* Cynthia Nixon, actress and former candidate for governor: I wish her a strong and active voice in our politics. She ran a good campaign against Andrew Cuomo and I hope she keeps making her presence felt.
* Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers: May your love for – and loyalty toward – NYC pay off in your getting great guests and ratings throughout the next year.
* Bowen Yang, cast member, “Saturday Night Live:” As noted, SNL desperately needs one of its featured players to step forward and take command of the show. Bowen Yang has shown that he can play any part hilariously. It’s time for him to ... take command of the show.
* Those Luddite Teens Who Don’t Want My “Likes”: The New York Times recently published an eye-opening piece about local “Luddite” teens who reject iPhones and other symbols and staples of folks like you and me. As a college professor who encourages civil discourse and peaceful dissent in my classroom, I was impressed (and, oh yes, dismayed at feeling slightly rejected) by these bright, adventurous, admirable people. I wish them the joy of rebelling, though my descriptions – implying that an older person like me is observing them like a lab rat – would probably make them want to throw up. And I wouldn’t blame them. I apologize in advance.* Yoko Ono: Wishing you a happy 90th birthday on Feb. 18. Yes, 90th Imagine! That doesn’t seem quite possible. Hope you blow out all of the candles and have a wonderful day.