restricted access Weston Walks
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8 8 8 8 8 When your life gets kicked out from under you like a kitchen chair you thought you were standing on, you start to plan. You swear: never again. After the funeral Lawrence Weston sat in a velvet chair that was way too big for him while the lawyer read his parents’ will out loud. He didn’t care about how much he was getting, he only knew what he had lost, and that he would do anything to keep it from happening again. He was four. Like a prince in the plague years, he pulled up the drawbridge and locked his heart against intruders. Nobody gets into Weston’s tight, carefully furnished life and nobody gets close enough to mess up his heart. Now look. When your money makes money you don’t have to do anything—so nothing is what Weston ordinarily does except on Saturdays, when he comes out to show the city to you. It isn’t the money—don’t ask how much he has. He just needs to hear the sound of a human voice. He lives alone because he likes it, but at the end of the day that’s exactly what he is. Alone. It’s why he started Weston Walks. He could afford an led display in Times Square but he sticks to three lines in The Village Voice: New York: an intimate view. Walk the city tourists never see. He’ll show you things you’ll never find spawning upstream at Broadway and 42d Street or padding along Fifth Avenue in your ear jocks and puffy coats. This is: The insider’s walking tour. Nobody wants to be an outsider, so you make the call. It’s not like he will pick up. His phone goes on ringing in some place you can’t envision, coming as you do from Out of Town. You hang on the phone, humming “pick up, pick up, pick up.” When his machine takes your message, you’re pathetically grateful . Excited, too. You are hooked by Weston’s promise: Tailored to your desires. What these are, he determines on the basis of a preliminary interview conducted over coffee at Balthazar, on him—or at Starbucks, on you—depending on how you are dressed. He is deciding whether to take you on. No matter how Weston Walks Weston Walks 129 stylish your outfit—or how tacky—if he doesn’t like what he hears, he will slap a hundred or a twenty on the table at Balthazar or Starbucks, depending, and leave you there. It’s not his fault he went to schools where you learn by osmosis what to do and what not to wear. It’s not your fault that you come from some big town or small city where Weston would rather die than have to be. Whatever you want to see, Weston can find, and if you don’t know what that is and he decides for you, consider yourself lucky. This is an insider tour! You’re itching to begin your Weston Walk, but you must wait until the tour is filled, and that takes time. Weston is very particular. At last! You meet on the designated street corner. You’re the ones with the fanny packs, cameras, monster foam fingers, deely bobbers, Statue of Liberty crowns on the kids— unless you’re the overdressed Southerner or one of those razor-thin foreigners in understated black and high-end boots. Weston’s the guy in black jeans and laid-back sweater, holding the neatly lettered sign. He is surprisingly young. Quieter than you’d hoped. Reserved, but in a good way. Nothing like the flacks leafleting in Times Square or bellowing from tour buses on Fifth Avenue or hawking buggy rides through Central Park. He will show you things that you’ve never seen before, from discos and downtown mud baths nobody knows about to the part of Central Park where your favorite stars Rollerblade to the exclusive precincts of the Academy of Arts and­ Letters—in the nosebleed district, it’s so far uptown, to the marble grand staircase in the Metropolitan Club, which J. P. Morgan built after all the best clubs in the city turned him down. Notice that at the end he says goodbye in Grand Central, at Ground Zero or the northeast corner of Columbus Circle, some public place where he can shake hands and fade into the crowd. You may want to...


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