A Second First Impression

2012-11-07 22.09.12

Day 2 on the High Line

Since I got such a great reaction to my crazy idea, I decided to go out this past Saturday and try it again . My friend and I visited the High Line, which is one of my favorite spots in Manhattan. This historic, elevated railway line was converted into a public park in 2009. With help from a long list of high-profile investors (such as David Bowie), the High Line has become a great place to stroll along the West Side, 30 feet above ground, and soak up the indigenous flora of New York along side the glass and steel high-rises. They have great food vendors too!

2012-11-07 22.32.02

At the center of a crowd.

I was a little hesitant about taking this project to the High Line because they’re strict about street performers, but two separate guards came by to tell me that technically I wasn’t allowed to be there, but that it was so funny they would look the other way. The crowds started instantly.

Again, people could not fathom how I came up with this idea. Coming up with the idea was easy – actually going outside and trying it out, subjecting myself to potential ridicule and public shamming, was the hard part. I feel like I’ve invented the adult version of the lemonade stand; something that gets people to stop and say, “oh that’s too cute, honey, give her a dollar.”

2012-11-07 23.18.36

Giving advice on a handshake.

So far three different people in television have expressed interest in this idea. I’m not holding my breath, and I certainly didn’t do this to get a pilot, but I do love the idea that as soon as I got out of my comfort zone, opportunities just started presenting themselves.

2012-11-07 22.58.43

People tell me the funniest stories when I’m doing this.

At the end of the day, this is a lot of fun. Yes, I’m wracked with anxiety before I go out, but it’s easy to feed off of everyone else’s enthusiasm. There’s a lot of laughter and appreciation. Yes, appreciation.

I can’t believe how much people love to hear criticism. While I don’t critique things that people can’t change, I’ll tell someone they should try a different lipstick color, or  that their pants don’t fit them right. When they listen to this they look relieved. Perhaps they’ve wondered about the lipstick before, and now they finally have a stranger’s confirmation. Or maybe they just appreciate having someone’s undivided attention for a few minutes. I don’t know what it is exactly, but people are really enjoying it.

2012-11-07 22.37.13

At times I feel like a therapist. People really like to explain themselves during the process.

2012-11-07 23.21.16

I felt like such a mom telling this girl to keep her hair off of her face.

13 comments

    1. oh boy I’m going to have to start bringing consent forms with me. I know a lot of people were videotaping it last time. Maybe next time I’ll ask them to email it to me. Good suggestion!

  1. I think that this is an incredible idea.
    We go through life criticising ourselves and everything we do. Sometimes we may ask our friends or family what we should do, and we may either say: “They’re just being nice,” or “What do they know?”
    To have a complete stranger tell them the brutal truth you could say is almost a relief, or giving someone a new view on something, and opening their minds.
    Many, I would say, also do not want to talk about some things with people they are close to. Instead, given the opportunity, they tell their life story to a complete stranger, but may walk away with some of the best advice they ever had.
    I think that this is an incredible idea because, in my opinion, it could help people be more aware in their life, and walk away with a different opinion on many things. Keep it up!

    1. Thanks so much!
      Actually one woman came up to me and said, “all my friends tell me I don’t need to lose weight, but I don’t know if they’re just being nice to me. I need the god’s honest truth.” I looked her up and down, had her turn around a few times, and I confirmed that she most certainly did not need to lose any weight. Then I asked the crowd that had formed if she needed to lose weight and everyone cried out that she was perfect. She was so giddy afterward. She knew that I had nothing to gain from lying, and neither did the crowd.

  2. Tracy this is ingenious. You have such a sweet kind way about you that people normally gravitate towards you. Keep up the great work. Can’t wait to see where it takes you!!! XO

  3. I’m with Rene … try to video one or two so the rest of us can enjoy just a little taste of what’s going on out there. Knit Wit Girl is right on the money, I think. There’s something liberating about talking to a complete stranger … you find yourself hearing or even sharing things you’d never expect. I think that’s part of what makes your experiment so fun.

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