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Nina In New York: The 'New British Invasion' Lands In Midtown, In the Form of Tween Street Dwellers

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.


By Nina Pajak

Something very strange happened yesterday in Midtown. When I went outside to run a brief lunchtime errand, I found my already rather congested block to be virtually unmaneuverable. The sidewalks were simply littered with bodies.

At first I thought: we're being Occupied. It's Midtown, we're a corporation, and we're located in a building shared by other corporations. I'm not sure what we would have done specifically to attract their attention and ire, but nothing shocks me anymore. But the scene was suspiciously quiet, and despite a piece of a flannel sleeping bag and a handwritten sign falling into my line of sight, there was something distinctly unusual about this Occupation.

All the protesters were under the age of thirteen.

Oh, and they weren't protesting anything. They were waiting. Since Friday. For a chance to be in the audience for a two-song Today Show performance tomorrow by a boy band called One Direction.

Oh wait, I think I mispronounced that. I overheard some of them talking about it in line. Let me try again: A boy band called SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE OMGOMGOMGOMG ONE DIRECTION OMG SO HOT EEEEEEEEEK OMG I FREAKING LOVE YOOOOOOOOU.

Being older than fifteen and with no tweenagers living in my household, I had heard of One Direction but had no idea how intense their awesomeness was. First I got them confused with New Direction. Then I realized there is no such thing and I was thinking of New Edition, and that made me think of Bell Biv DeVoe, and then I wanted to listen to "Poison." Then I went to YouTube, and wound up down a rabbit hole that didn't end until I wound up at LaBouche, which is normally a point of no return. But as the tortured screams of sleep-deprived young girls wafted up to my 14th floor window, I recalled how this began and I went back to the boy band at hand.

That totally rhymed, like so much.

Anyway, One Direction is apparently being regarded as "the new British invasion," just in case the surviving Beatles were looking to get punched in their old, old guts, or just in case the Gallagher brothers were wondering whether they might be able to claw their way back to relevance. The band consists of five members: Gobo, Mokey G. Crebbs, Zephyr, Staff Sergeant Noodlenose, and Bubbles. Probably only two or three of them are secretly gay.

I'm less fascinated by the fan worship than by the fact that there are blocks and blocks (and blocks) worth of parents who are willing to sit in collapsible chairs and sleep on the streets of midtown for days on end just so their daughters can see a band for a collective ten minutes. Who are you? Where were you raised? Do your children love and value you for your dedication to their happiness, or are they still embarrassed by the outfit you brought for sidewalk-camping? Did your parents do some equivalent kindness for you, or are you acting out these extraordinary measures in order to right some wrong you felt was done to you in your childhood? Or maybe . . . do you guys just really also like One Direction?

Speak. We must know.

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