Taylor Swift as New York City’s “Global Welcome Ambassador?” Fuggedaboutit!
Brooklyn native and authentic New Yorker Paul Bomba was so dismayed by the idea of a white-bread pop singer from rural Pennsylvania representing his city to the world that the actor-producer created series of videos lampooning the tourism bureau’s recently released clips of Swift explaining the Big Apple to wide-eye denizens of flyover territory .
“The bottom line is, I want people to experience New York for what New York is — not some hyper-sanitized version of what some tourism board deems to be the appropriate perspective on the city,” said Bomba, who grew up in Gravesend and now lives in Borough Park.
The irony of Swift trying to explain a bodega from the roof of her TriBeCa penthouse was not lost on Bomba, who insists that a corner store is really only called a bodega in a Latino neighbourhood — a nuance the Tay Sway set will never even pick up on.
“If you’re visiting New York City and watching a Taylor Swift video, you’re probably not going to go somewhere where there’s a bodega,” he said.
Days after the city dubbed Swift the day tripper’s diplomat, Bomba snapped the “globalambassador.nyc” domain and got a friend to design a snarky copy of the city’s tourism site to host the parodies.
Bomba conscripted two friends, comedians Brianne Berkson of Manhattan and Tommy Ray of Queens, to act in the video with him.
“They’re both tried-and-true New Yorkers,” Bomba said. “They loved the idea and signed up without even reading the script.”
The videos outline their bodega position, explain that there is no such thing as a “cheese slice,” and warn that asking for ranch dressing on your pizza may get you slapped.
The filmmaker plans to keep the gag going and aims to release more videos on subjects such as subway etiquette, which natives and newcomers alike could benefit from, he said.
And if you’re wondering whether “Paulie” really sounds like he does in the video — it’s all an act. But it’s also an homage to his old neighborhood.
“I’m a classically trained actor, and I’ve done tremendous amount of work to deal with my accent, but it’s always fun to fall back into what I hear on Avenue U,” he said.