Now, for the most part this seems like sensible advice. It's dangerous, someone may try to steal you, or maybe you'll just look like a creeper if you go around talking to everyone in the street. But then you realize, at some point, everyone is walking around each day, minding their own business, but really we should engage each other more. For example, I was walking down Broadway several weeks ago and had just visited The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (and it.is.delicious!) Anyway, these girls were walking by, talking about where to get ice cream when one notices me and says, "That girl has some!! So there has to be some nearby!!" Now, normally, I would have continued on my way as if I hadn't heard but on this particular day it was bright and sunny out, I had gotten off work early, and I was in the middle of the most amazing Nutella and soft serve sugar rush. So I stopped and promptly steered them in the direction of their own personal summer afternoon sugar-coma (You're welcome, Ladies.) How sad if they hadn't gotten to experience this blissful experience just because they were "Strangers?!"
But the most important reason you should talk to strangers, especially when you live in New York City, is because when you see someone's doppleganger, it's probably actually them. In real life. For example, last night as I was leaving work and heading to the train I noticed this woman standing on the corner, clutching a piece of paper and talking on her cell phone. As I was walking by I noticed her voice sounded oddly familiar and she seemed to be lost saying into the phone something like "I'm standing right there but I don't see anything..." When I turned I thought, "Wow. She looks kind of like Giada De Laurentiis" and I moved on across the street. Then I decided to call Summer so I could stand around without being super creepy because maybe this lady was lost, and given her location and the potential that she was a celebrity of sorts, she was probably looking for my restaurant (which is very subtly labelled.) But she wandered farther away from me (in the wrong direction) so I decided to just go home. BIG STUPID MISTAKE. And this, kids, is when you ignore Mama and talk to strangers!! Because it was, in fact, her. And I could have taken her where she needed to go and, moreover, created an even more incredible customer service experience for her in the most fantastically amazing "Jean-Georges" kind of way. Ugg! Next time.... I won't let the opportunity pass me by. So if you look sort of like a celebrity, you may want to steer clear of Union Square because I'm probably going to try and befriend you, and take you to my lair (aka ABC Kitchen.... where you will at least be fed VERY well.)