It’s that time again when I haven’t updated long enough to finally get an email asking if I’m still doing the site and/or selling Jesus Dressup magnets. The answer’s yes. Plus I’m also selling Trumps & Mohammeds as well. Can you think of anywhere else that combo of themes is available??
At the moment I believe I’ve posted the last Amazing Strangers video for a while. You can see all of the latest ones there in the right sidebar. There comes a time when I just can’t seem to find anything worthwhile enough to edit. But that could change at any point because I am indeed working through all those folders preparing a paperback book which’ll be stories & art, but mostly photos of Union Square Amazing Strangers.
My local bookstore/coffee shop Book Nook has offered to print it up for me through their publishing company, West Vine Press here in Whitehall. Then later this winter I’m planning to host video presentations here at the shop. We’ll see how that goes. I’ll be sure to make the book available for purchase here on the site.
I’ve yet to get any offers on a place to stay in NYC to encourage more frequent visits. But I do have a friend willing to rent me a room for a month in May. If it’s still available to me by then I’ll be taking her up on the offer. That’s when you can expect brand new, current footage added to youtube.com/normalbobnyc.
In other interesting Amazing Strangers news, my friend Nick (New York Nico) back in 2014 purchased one of Roman’s signs for a dollar, and has since had it framed! It’s now hanging in his hallway, and I thought you all might like to let your envious eyes lay upon this lovely piece of art.
Yes, I’ve returned to NYC for one week, and much to my surprize I discovered I can pick up right where I left off without hardly a stutter. And I had a blast! In fact, I yearn to come back again. But I need help. One basic help, actually.
If I had offered to me a place to stay for a week that wasn’t just a sofa in a living room, but instead an actual room with a bed, it could be done. I could return periodically throughout the year to document this Square. And it’s still going on there from what I witnessed. The regulars still haunt those steps, and I’ve got contacts for so many others who are happy to show and update me on their lives. I have so much footage and had a lot of fun my week there. But damn if my achin’ back and tired eyes were ready to leave after a week of sleeping on a futon in a living room.
Now, listen to this. If there were also a stove to make eggs & toast, and a coffee maker to brew my Bustelo each morning before I set out, I could do two weeks. Two full weeks of content for YouTube’s Amazing Strangers a few times a year. How great would that be? I’m more efficient than I ever was before. The amount of footage I acquired in one day visiting is more than I ever got any day prior to moving away. I have more of an urge to get interviews, document events, and obtain valuable footage than ever before.
So that’s what I’m hoping. Someone out there who sees the value in what I’m doing with access to a living quarters in NYC generous enough to offer a room with a bed. I do dishes. I clean up after myself. I buy my own supplies. I buy my own plane tickets and taxi cabs.
I know it can sound like a lot I’m asking. I lived in NYC for 13 years and never once did I let someone stay rent free for a week or two in their own room. I have friends offering me a sofa for days at a time, but my body and mind isn’t cut out for that much roughing it any more. It used to be, but no longer. Otherwise I see myself maybe coming once a year, in spring, for a week. That’s the full extent I can manage on a sofa without a door to close.
I get how to many this might seem petty, or snobbish. Like I won’t come unless I get a red carpet. Fact is, when you’re in NYC spending most your time in the busiest, craziest parts of town, you need that sanctuary at the end of the day. A solid rest with peace & quiet to get back into it the very next day at 100%. Having to go to sleep when the last person in the house leaves the living room, and waking when the first roommate’s alarm goes off and they’re walking past your bed to make cereal, you don’t get that needed rest. Especially needed when you’re almost 50 years old.
My hope is after you see the amount of great content I’ve gotten after just one week it’ll prove I’m worth it to someone out there with offerings. I’m ready to come back and document the park & people we’ve grown attached to over the years. There’s a limited window of time for this unique project to even continue. I realize that too. So let me know if you can be of assistance. I’m ready.
Dude, I’ve been stuck watching your Union Square videos for days. I love them!! I’m an underground coal miner from southern West Virginia, and I’ve always loved New York. It’s the light of the world. And your videos are just as good as taxicab confessions or something like that, they just need the exposure or the right advertising and I think they’d be a hit. It’s just sad to me that I can’t make the drive to Union and most of these people probably won’t be there. Except for maybe Signs and Wendell, and they’d probably run me off lol. But thanks for the entertainment man, it’s honestly been great.
Your views on religion are spot on, and I love watching you calmly and very courteously tear them down. It’s beautiful to watch😂😂😂… I’m 34 years old, and was raised in church. And I slowly started forming my own opinion at 15, kinda like somebody trying to sell you a bullshit Rolex. You want it to be real, but you’re just kinda like “ehhhh iiiii don’t know…”
I know ur busy, but I’d love to bullshit with ya for a bit. Gimme a yell man, I got a lot of questions about New York and some of the people. Btw I hope your parents are well, and I love your dog, the sticks crack me up (FB pics). I have a siberian husky that’s full of energy. I love dogs. But anyway bro, I never meant for this to go on so long. Gimme a shout man. I would love to bullshit for a bit.
There’s a video getting a lot of attention right now on YouTube of several young guys getting kicked off a plane for speaking Arabic. The video is short, of a guy yelling into his camera phone about how he and his buddies are being booted for speaking a foreign language while he was on the phone with his mother, and chastising white people on the flight for letting the toss-off happen. CBSN described Adam Saleh as a “YouTube star kicked off Delta.” And that he most certainly is. You see, I have a history with Adam Saleh and his “True Story ASA” gang, and now seems like as good a time as any to share with you who they are and what it is they’re doing.
I had been documenting Union Square Park in NYC for the last decade or so, and 2014 – ’15 I would see them there trying to bait people in one way or another. For instance, trying to get New Yorkers to complain about a Muslim praying in public.
They’d lay out a rug and pray on the park path, but no one cared. So they’d have one of their friends try and drag people over saying “Yo, you gonna let him pray like this? It’s mad disrespectful, right?” and still people wouldn’t jump on board with the enthusiasm they needed for a video. The last resort was having a friend pretend to be offended and complaining, blur out his face, call it a real passer-by, and there’s your video. It’s shameful and cringe-worthy, and not very hard to figure out if you’ve got even an average eye for social studies.
Immediately when I first started seeing this “Kicked off Delta” story circulating through my Facebook feed I knew that they’d gone and done it again. I wasn’t even aware (until now) they’d already posted videos of themselves causing this kind of trouble on planes before. In the past they’ve recorded themselves counting down from 10 to 1 in Arabic loud enough for everyone on the plane to hear, and laughing while they did it. Yes, Adam is this type of guy. He needs this sort of attention. And his YouTube channel, with over a million and a half subscribers, is audience. As a videographer myself I understand the pressure to get material for a YouTube channel. I understand the urge to make something happen when nothing’s happening. And it’s clear Adam has embraced this method without regard for his own reputation, or the reps of his If-he-jumps-off-a-cliff-so-will-I friends. The host of WeAreChange did a better job of illustrating this in a video than I ever could.
When I first posted my video with Joey Boots criticizing them and their methods, they immediately flagged it and got it taken down. I had a back and forth with their “legal rep” (I posted the entire exchange on Reddit), but in short their defense was that I didn’t ask permission to use their clips in my critique of them. Of course I am allowed to do that without permission, so eventually they gave up and the video remains. It’s an amusing exchange if you need a good laugh, or want some insight into their mindset.
They’re clumsy with the amount of incriminating information they leave out there, terrible actors, and no shame at all when it comes to seeking out creative ways to look victimized. I think that’s what disgusts me the most about them. So when they’re pretending things like being arrested for being Muslim, or his embarrassing fake crying, it comes off like kids playing make-believe (which is exactly what it is, I suppose).
Watching their videos, seeing them around the Square all the time, and my direct encounters with them, I can assure you these are not a group of guys you want to trust. They’re pranksters, which is not a bad thing, but they’re also liars & con men, which is. They don’t understand how playing these sorts of games & getting caught hurts the credibility of those who really are victimized in real situations.
I have a hard time picturing how this won’t come back and bite them in the ass in some way or another. Especially now with them pranking the airline industry with terrorist jokes. They’re really just a bunch of obnoxious, unsupervised kids with a popular YouTube channel, but this time they may have bitten off more than they know.