I woke up to this this morning:
Caught the great Jay Z/Justin Timberlake concert at Yankee Stadium the night before. Some notes:
First: There are two scenarios in which a New Yorker’s throat can’t help but get a little belumped hearing “Empire State of Mind,” even if it’s for the 27,000th time:
1. When you’re in another country and you hear hundreds of non-Americans belting out the chorus and think: sheeeeit, they’re singing about my hometown!;
2. When you’re in Yankee Stadium, and Alicia Keys gets introduced, and they turn the volume up to 11, and she belts the hook into the summer night. That was a moment.
Second: strange things are afoot on this tour.
This is a list of cities privileged to host humbly-named Legends of the Summer concert series:
Toronto: largest city in the second-largest country (by land area, anyway) on Earth.
New York, NY: Largest city in the US; home to Jay Z. Aside: has anyone’s hometown ever been hyped more than Jay Z’s? I mean anyone, in the history of Earth? I can’t think of anyone. In fact, I’m not sure it’s even a close contest.
Los Angeles, CA: Second-largest city in the US. Mass media entertainment capital of the world.
Chicago, IL: so we’ve banged out the USA’s big three cities. OPRAH!
Vancouver: third-largest metro area in Canada. Within spitting distance of Seattle.
Detroit, MI: Admittedly this would have made more sense were this 1985, but still a huge city, and one of only two midwest stops on this tour. Somehwere, Axel Foley is psyched.
Baltimore: home of the Barksdale crew. Guaranteed to pull in a strong DC audience as well.
Boston, MA: Seminal city in US history. Home to the Tea Party (the original one, not the wingnuts). Fenway Pahk.
San Francisco, CA: one of the five most important cities in the US, massive metro area.
Philadelphia, PA: Fifth-largest US city; home to Rocky Balboa.
Miami, FL: Massive metro area. Scarface, favorite movie to a shocking percentage of successful rappers, is set there.
Hershey, PA: um, say what?
What are JT and Hova doing spending one of their only 12 stops in central Pennsylvania?
Well… Hershey is in the Harrisburg/Carlisle metropolitan area, which… exactly. And Harrisburg is the capital… of Pennsylvania, and has a population of 49,673. There were more people in Yankee Stadium Friday night.
Hershey is host to Hersheypark, an amusement park that draws a good number of people each year and includes a stadium for sports and concerts. So that’s something. And Hersheypark Stadium has hosted some big names over the years – Whitney Houston was there at the height of her powers in the 80s, Britney at the height of hers in 2000; Bob Dylan is going there soon (which would have been a much bigger deal 40 years ago, but still)… on the other hand, Lower Dauphin High School plays home games there. Can you imagine the Bronx High School of Science rolling into Yankee Stadium to host a hotly-contested Public School Athletic League game against Hunter? Me neither.
So until I hear different, Timberlake has a massive, unslakable Mr. Goodbar habit and cut a shady side deal with Hershey for Sexyback in exchange for a lifetime supply. It’s the only explanation.
And who could blame him? Chocolate is delicious. And by chocolate I mean dark chocolate – milk chocolate is mostly sugar, and white chocolate ain’t chocolate (my feelings about white chocolate are not to be confused with my feelings about “White Chocolate,” one of the top NBA nicknames of all time). And as desserts go, for you paleo eaters it’s reasonable sweet tooth fix. If you’re in the market for chocolate, I recommend making a beeline for Jacques Torres, where amid the awesome chocolate confections they sell chocolate bullion – the pure. Not only is the chocolate as good as you’ll find anywhere, it’s about a third of the price of the top-end brands like Valrhona. If you live in NYC (let’s hear it for NEEEEEWWWWW YOOOOOOORRRRKK!) you can get it at their flagship store on Main Street in Brooklyn; if you don’t, you can order it online here. Either way, it’ll only set you back $25 for a four-pound bag. Buy more than you think you need – I usually buy eight pounds, use two to cook with, and eat the rest in 2- or 3- disk installments in a shockingly short period of time.