Password is: CRAZY EDDIE

A bunch of people have elected Crazy Eddie as a password, and it's time to give New Yorkers what they voted for. Some of you early MAGIC GARDENERs may remember that I included a bit of trivia about Crazy Eddie a few years back, when the password was Unique Boutique. Well, here's more ...

Crazy Eddie was an electronics store founded by Eddie Antar in 1972. The first shop was a 20x40 square feet space in Coney Island. The flailing armed turtlenecked sporting fellow in the Crazy Eddie ads was Jerry Carroll, an actor and radio personality. The commercials were originally shown late at night; the man behind the ads said he was targeting the guys who were out partying and getting home at 2 in the morning. (Did anyone else go through a phase about 8 years ago of watching "Small Wonder" at 4am on Saturday nights after partying?) That ad man, Larry Weiss, also happened to build the first interactive telephone dating service in the early eighties. In its heyday, Crazy Eddie operated 43 stores in the New York area, with more than $320 million in annual sales.

Antar sold his shares in 1987 and in 1989, after he declared bankruptcy, he was accused of scamming about $146 million from investors. Antar went on the lam and was discovered in Israel, then extradited back to the US where he was convicted of racketeering, fraud, and conspiracy. He served approximately half of a 12-year prison sentence. Antar was released from prison in 1999 and he and his nephew reintroduced the store online. It failed and alas, Crazy Eddie, with his IN-S-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ne prices, is no more. There is also no more O.D.B. Yes, we lost one of our own ­ Wu-Tang Clan's Ol Dirty Bastard (born Russell Tyrone Jones) died on November 13. Since we are still in the political mindset from November's shenanigans, what better way to learn about Ol Dirty Bastard than by mixing that education with some lesser known facts about NY presidents. Teddy Roosevelt was the only president who was a native New York City-er, but there were five other presidents considered to be New Yorkers, as they were either from the state of NY or held political office in NY when elected.

Martin Van Buren, 8th President, born in Kinderhook, NY

-Van Buren was one of the founders of the Democratic Party.
-O.D.B was a founder of the influential rap group Wu-Tang Clan.

-Van Buren was known as the "Little Magician" and the "Red Fox of Kinderhook" because of his reputed cunning and skill as a politician.
-In addition to being called Ol Dirty Bastard, Russell Tyrone Jones was known as Big Baby Jesus, Osirus, Joe Bananas, Dirt Dog, Unique Ason, and Dirt McGirt.

-Van Buren's autobiography does not mention his wife once.
-O.D.B. was arrested for not paying $700 a week in child support for his three children with wife Icelene. He was also arrested for allegedly threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, twice.

-Van Buren took the $100,000 salary he earned as president in a lump sum at the end of his four-year term.
-In 1994, at the height of his fame, and with MTV filming him, O.D.B rode in a limo to successfully pick up food stamps from the welfare office.

-When he was vice president, Van Buren presided over the Senate wearing a pair of pistols, as a precaution against the frequent outbursts of violence.
-Do I really need to make a comparison here? OK. Just one to whet the holiday appetite. In 1999, while being cited for a parking violation in Los Angeles, O.D.B. became one of the first citizens arrested under a new California law that made wearing a bulletproof vest illegal for convicted violent felons.

Speaking of "OK," it is widely thought that the term OK is credited to Van Buren. OK was an abbreviation for the name of his New York home "Old Kinderhook." After he went into politics, Van Buren became known as "Old Kinderhook" and people began using the term O.K. referring to Van Buren. A club called the "O.K. Club" formed and soon "OK" came to mean "all correct." I still have my doubts about this theory, as OK is not an acceptable Scrabble word.

Millard Fillmore 13th President, born in Cayuga County, New York

-Fillmore refused an honorary degree from Oxford University because he said he had done nothing to deserve the honor.
-In 1998 O.D.B jumped on the stage at the Grammy's and grabbed the mic from Shawn Colvin (winning for the song "Sonny") to complain that Wu-Tang lost to P. Diddy for best Rap Album.

-When the Library of Congress burned in 1851, Fillmore and his Cabinet helped fight the blaze.
-The Wu-Tang Clan rescued a 4 year old girl who was hit by a car and had been burned by the engine.

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President, born in Manhattan

-Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to ride in an automobile - it was a purple-lined Columbia Electric Victoria. He was also the first president to own a car.
-O.D.B was arrested for driving with a suspended license, no license plates, and a host of other drivey violations.

-Teddy had a guinea pig named Father O'Grady and a snake named Emily Spinach.
-That's just good stuff - no comparisons to O.D.B. Except for calling himself Ol Dirty Bastard.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President, born in Hyde Park, New York

-Genealogists have determined that FDR was related to: George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, and William Howard Taft.
-O.D.B. was related to two members of the Wu-Tang Clan - cousins RZA (Richard Diggs) and GZA (Gary Grice).

Grover Cleveland, 24th President, born in New Jersey, but raised in upstate New York

-An illegitimate child that Cleveland fathered while a bachelor in swinging Buffalo was brought up during his presidential campaign. He admitted paternity and his honesty help secure his win.
-O.D.B is said to have sired 13 children by numerous baby mommas.

-Cleveland had surgery for cancer of the jaw during his second term, keeping it a secret. It did not become public knowledge until 9 years after his death.
-O.D.B. had a helluva lot of gold in his mouth

Chester A. Arthur, 21st President, born in Vermont, but served as Quartermaster General of the State of New York during the Civil War (by the way, a quartermaster is a military officer in charge of providing quarters, food, clothing, fuel, transportation, etc. for a body of troops)

-Arthur was nicknamed "Elegant Arthur" because of his fashion sense.
-The Wu-Tang Clan created the clothing lines "Wu Wear" and "My Dirty Wear."

-Arthur is credited with saying, "I may be President of the United States, but my private life is nobody's damned business."
-O.D.B., during his famous Grammy stealing moment, is credited with saying "Wu-Tang are for the Children."
Whatever that means.


Come to the December MAGIC GARDEN to celebrate a lost New Yorker, and celebrate life, the holidays, family, and the fact that we are so lucky to call this touristy winter wonderland our home. Dress like an elf, a rockette, or wear a Crazy Eddie inspired turtleneck. There will be drinks with prices that are IN-S-A-A-A-A-A-ANE, groovy music, fine conversation and more. There will be no party in January, so this is your one chance to get as drunk as those people who Xerox their asses at the company Christmas party.

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