David Blaine and the New York Challenge


david_blaine.jpgDavid Blaine is coming back to New York, with yet another death-defying traffic-stopping stunt that will captivate the city. After recently floating in a fishbowl for a week in the Lincoln Center, he now plans to spread the love to the Brooklyn Bridge, where he will hang 135 feet above the water for any number of days.

Sure it will look cool, but in all honestly nothing he’s done so far has been half as challenging as just living in New York. If his greatest feat is to keep calm and withstand long bouts of pressure and discomfort, we’ve got that in the bag. And unlike Blaine, after paying rent, we can’t afford to pay for an on-call physician. I mean if he’s going to be doing his stunts in New York, he might as well step up. After the jump, I challenge Blaine to survive any one of the following stunts we city folk attempt daily:

  • Stuck in a Packed Subway : There’s nothing more challenging than keeping your cool in a crowded train during rush hour, in car without air conditioning and flickering lights, somewhere under the river between Brooklyn and Manhattan. You don’t know where you are or what’s wrong, but you do know if sh*t goes down, you’re under-water. The challenge is to not completely freak out when someone’s umbrella (?) is wedged in your back, that homeless guy is singing Swing Lo Sweet Chariot, you’ve got to pee and after an hour, all the conductor will say is they “have a red signal.” Your ability to hold you’re breath for 7 minutes won’t save you now, Blaine.
  • Elevator to the 67th floor: You’re in a packed office elevator surrounded by suits making small talk about the play-offs. The elevator speeds up 50 flights blowing back the skin on your face. Then it stops at each of the last 17 floors. Each time the elevator lets someone off, another identical guy comes in and picks up the conversation, where the other left off. This is a test of patience. You must withstand chatter about lunch, Doug from Accounting and the kid’s report card and housing prices in Stanford for what will seem like hours with out showing the slightest ounce of exasperation.
  • Dodging Rats: It’s late at night, you’ve got gin breath and the spins are starting to set in but you’re so close to home, when 6 or 7 rats scurry out from garbage bags. They look at you, you look at them. The test is to pass them in your altered state without squashing a single one of them, or getting bitten and infected with rabies. You must be focused, communicative with the creatures, and fast on your feet. Good luck Blaine, you’ll need it.
  • Central Park at Night: You have to get from the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side by the end of the night without any cash. The task at hand? Cross Central Park in the dead of night and make it out alive. Between the winding loops of the park that lead in circles, the intermittent whizzing car, the male prostitutes in the Ramble and street gangs on the Great Lawn, you’ll need more than you’re teeth pulling abilities to get through this one Blaine.
  • Getting on the Wrong Express Train: The minute the doors close you realize you’re on the wrong train. Great, you’ll just get off on the next stop and go the other way right? Wrong. Because this is the express train from hell. You’ll watch it pass at lightning speed all the stops that look familiar, until you’re crossing a bridge out of the city and heading into an unknown borough. The three other passengers on the train are either asleep or pretending to be so you won’t talk to them. The train map has been graffitted so you can’t see what stop you’re headed for and when the train finally does arrive on 132nd street and 2000&%7Q Avenue, the train in the other direction is out of order. When get out of the subway stop to survey where you are, all you see is a highway and a 1800-Mattress Warehouse. Good luck ever making it home, Blaine.
  • Taxi Ride: You get in a cab and the automatic locks shut. You give your cab driver your address, but you don’t know if he heard you because he appears to be on the phone. He steps on it and you’re dodging Time Square traffic narrowly missing a baby carriage and large horse and buggy. You’re zooming through red lights, while buses stop short to avoid a crash and you’re not even sure at this point if you’re going in the right direction. The cab driver ignores your pleads because he is engrossed in conversation. You realize you can either climb through the partition and grab the wheel or force open the door with a curiously-placed crowbar knocking into your feet and roll out on to the street at 60 miles an hour. Or you can just sit, wait and see what happens. What do you do, Blaine? What do you do?
  • Salad Bar Hell: You’re starving, you have 5 minutes to grab food in between meetings and you’ve already used that time up waiting for an elevator. All 15 food joints near your office have been converted to made-to-order salad bars. The closest one is packed, but the line moves swiftly. You have zero seconds to pick from a display of 15 ingredients of varying colors and shapes, but you’ve only got 7 dollars and too many ingredients will send you over budget. The people behind you are rushed, the salad preparer is holding his tongs agressively screaming “what else”. This challenge requires not simply patience and control under pressure, but also a razor-sharp mind and a strong understanding of Quantum Physics and Knot Theory. Good luck, Blaine. This time the whole city is not just watching you, they’re waiting to order.
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