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Celebrity Sightings Week

November 2, 2005 | Stars I’ve Spotted in New York

Why write about celebrity sightings on a design blog? I have a reason, but really it’s just an excuse, and there’s no excuse for the bad taste that follows. That said, given that celebrities are searched on Google in disturbingly frequent numbers, this post is partly an exercise in search engine optimization and hence the somewhat inaccurate but search engine friendly title, “Celebrity Sightings Week.” What follows then is a list of stars I’ve spotted in my years and weeks in New York.

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick: I spotted the couple with their kids in the Times Square subway station. He was wearing a floppy hat and she had celebrity hair. Really, I've never seen a head of hair like that on a normal person.

Claire Danes: I saw her chasing her dog on Spring Street. She caught the dog.

Shannon Doherty: I’m actually a little unsure about this one, but the woman in question certainly looked pissed-off enough to be Shannon Doherty. Whoever it was, she and several beefy guys were struggling to catch a cab on Spring and Lafayette.

Richard Dreyfus: The only celebrity to ever approach me. He asked for my help in pushing past a police blockade during an antiwar rally shortly before the start of the second Gulf War. I politely declined. (I liked Stakeout as much as the next guy, but Richard Dreyfus is one celebrity I’m not going to jail for.)

Carmen Electra and Casey Affleck: I didn’t see the Maxim pin-up and Ben Affleck’s younger brother together, but I did see them 15 minutes apart on the same block in SoHo. This made me wonder—what’s the protocol when two b-list celebrities meet? A head nod? Sex?

Vicent Gallo: I spotted the actor/director walking a bizarre, long-eared dog shortly before Christmas 2003 on Prince and Crosby. I would have dismissed the dog as a clever attempt to draw attention away from himself if the dog hadn’t, in fact, drawn more attention to him.

Anna Gasteyer: She, her husband, and I all shared a pole on a Manhattan-bound C train. I played it cool and read a magazine, but the subway suddenly stopped short and her husband fell on me. The former Saturday Night Live star apologized and gave her husband a dirty look.

Maggie Gyllenhaal: Maggie Gyllenhaal is one of the few celebrities I’ve seen twice. The first time was outside Economy Candy on the Lower East Side. We made eye contact and both quickly looked away, she in the crap-I’ve-been-recognized way, and I in the be-cool-you-don’t-want-Maggie-Gyllenhaal-thinking-you’re-a-creep way. The second time was at a nearly empty Fort Greene bar. My friend tried giving her the eye for an hour and finally yelled out “Maggie” as she left. Once safely in a taxi, she tentatively waved, and I quickly looked away in the crap-my-friend-just-gave-Maggie-Gyllenhaal-the-creeps way.

Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson: I spotted the actress and her rock star husband wearing sunglasses and pushing a baby carriage outside Balthazar on Spring Street. I suppose the pair were two of the biggest celebrities I’ve seen, but to this day I remain pretty bored by the encounter.

Jim Jarmusch: The legendary indie director and I made eye contact while passing each other on Bowery Street, but he quickly looked down, probably because young white guys that look like me must stop him all the time. (Well, him and Maggie Gyllenhaal.)

Heidi Klum and Seal: They were another couple I saw pushing a stroller in SoHo. Seal is doughy. Heidi Klum is the most beautiful woman you or I will ever see.

Moby: Moby is the only celebrity I would cross the street to avoid. Honestly, I can’t imagine someone possessing a more negative vibe. When I lived on the Lower East Side I often passed him outside his restaurant Teany, and each time something inside me shriveled.

Ric Ocasek: I spotted the rock star buying children’s software by the armful at the SoHo Apple store. No lie, Ric Ocasek looks like a rock star.

Chris Parnell: I saw the Saturday Night Live bit-player twice in one week, first at a Times Square movie theater and then later hitting on a girl in a SoHo deli sandwich line by talking about SLR cameras. If my two sightings are any indication, the guy spends a lot of time alone.

Natalie Portman: Natalie Portman is the only celebrity I’ve ever wanted to see, so I was somewhat shocked to stand near her for several minutes at a free MIA concert in Central Park. Eventually she looked at a baby, got in line for a beer, changed her mind, and left. I, on the other hand, have never been the same.

Amy Sedaris:I saw the frequent Letterman guest standing against a limousine in the West Village. The driver asked her if she'd like to sit inside and she squeaked that it was too nice an evening for that.

Eric Stolz: I spotted the actor exiting the Chelsea Piers parking garage and riding his mountain bike like a madman.

Mena Suvari: I passed the actress freshly divorced and looking more attractive than I expected on a busy West Village street the night the Red Sox beat the Yankees in game seven of the 2004 ALCS.

Hillary Swank and Chad Lowe: Both were wearing sunglasses and shopping on Prince Street. Hillary Swank looked severe. Chad Lowe looked short.

Paul Walker: Not much to say about this encounter outside a restaurant on the Lower East Side except that, though Paul Walker is often derided as a leaden actor, there was something very nice and smiley about him. He was like the anti-Moby.

Michele Williams: I saw her through the window of Spring Street Natural dining with a floppy-haired musician who I believe was Ben Lee. I had a celebrity crush on Williams at the time, so I panicked and kept walking.

I’ll keep this entry updated each week with more celebrity sightings. Please feel free to leave comments on any stars you’ve spotted in New York. Digg Furl Reddit StumbleUpon Technorati


On November 15th, 2005 at 7:55 pm, Tyler Cole wrote:

Since this entry was purportedly written for SEO reasons, I wanted to report that yesterday, November 14, this page received its first search engine referral. The good news is that this took a little less than two weeks, and the even better news is that searchers of celebrities appear to be a persistent bunch. Yesterday I received a “Shannon Doherty” referral from the twelfth page of the MSN search results.

On December 3rd, 2005 at 10:08 am, Tyler Cole wrote:

Another SEO update. During the past month, the following searches have brought users to the site.

  • heidi klum und seal baby (3)
  • shannon doherty (2)
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So far, the search engine performance of “Celebrity Sightings Week” as a page title for this post has been disappointing. According to Wordtracker, this phrase is searched 25 times a day on Google, but it has yet to bring any users to my site. Of course, this could be because this post is not yet listed on Google for that phrase, and indeed, the Market Leap Keyword Verification tool confirms this. The good news is that the same tool shows that this post is the first result for “Celebrity Sightings Week“ at MSN, so I will give the page title at least another month before considering a new one.