People Stalking Celebrities in NYC!


What is it with people that they have to be so star struck when they see a celebrity in their midst? As a long time New Yorker living in Manhattan for over 15 years now I have bumped into my fair share of stars from movies, tv, and music, yet I have never gone out of my way to acknowledge any of them. I don’t get all googley eyed and stalkerish when I see one as many others seem to do. I just don’t get it. Maybe after all these years I am just a jaded New York citizen as many of us become living here. We see it all here and just go on about our normal daily activities. I do have to admit that with my occupation I have had access to some movie premiers and events where I have hobnobbed with a few big names. Still, I have never begged for an autograph or pestered any of them for a photograph. It just doesn’t feel right to me, and honestly I could care less who they are or what they do for a living. I have my own life to live.

Here is but a sampling of those that we have bumped into from film and screen –


Cynthia Nixon jogging alongside me in Central Park. It was an early morning and I went out for a run. Not many people were in the park yet and it’s one of those times you feel as if you have the city to yourself. I’m in my own little world jogging along the path and I just happen to look over at the person running a few feet away from me and it’s Cynthia. We did the “good morning” thing and I just nodded, smiled, and moved on.

Mayor Guiliani. This one was pretty funny. It was the afternoon before Mother’s Day. We were in our local Hallmark store picking up a few things. All of a sudden a bunch of “Men In Black” type dudes came into the store and took positions by the entrance and in each aisle. They all had earpieces on. In walks the Mayor. He is picking out Mother’s Day cards. My fiancee’ is standing right next to him looking at cards and they start chatting. He admits he is last minute shopping for a card for his mom and she admonishes him for waiting so late. He laughs and admits he is pretty bad. It was funny and surreal to see and hear her let him have it. Back then he was a larger than life figure in the city, and had a certain presence about him. Taller than I thought too.


Mayor Bloomberg in the subway. It is well known that he takes the subway but this was the first time I ever really saw him on it. A few years ago I was grabbing the #4 train up to Yankee Stadium to a playoff game and I see him standing there surrounded by his “Men In Black” and some other people. He was talking about the game, the issues, etc. I listened in a bit and moved down the platform where I knew it would not be as crowded. In person he is a really tiny guy.

Tom Selleck walking along 2nd Ave smoking a cigar with a friend or maybe his agent. This dude is huge. Seriously, he is a big guy. He could have been a pro athlete back in the day, and I think he almost was. Very nice man as he spoke with people who approached him while waiting for the light to change at street corners.

Keanu Reeves feeling pretty “toasty” in front of a restaurant on 2nd Ave. We were walking by and I noticed this bearded dude sitting in chair against the front of this nice restaurant looked toasted. It was Keanu! We saw a waiter hand him an espresso as he smoked a cigarette and these two young girls ran up to him and asked for a picture. He was actually quite the gentleman as he put down his drink and smoke, posed for a picture, and chatted with them for a bit. He then retook his position and stared ahead in a fog. Bet he had a hard partying night!


Dan Aykroyd and Donna Dixon dining at a place around the block from us. We walked by and they were sitting right in front on the sidewalk seating. Enjoying $10 fajita night! Hey, they are regular people just like us. Plus, the fajita night here is a pretty damn good deal!

We’ve seen Anna Paquin a few times around the city. At Zum Schneider and at the Central Park Boathouse. Hanging out with friends along with the normal crowd. Both times having wine. Or was it True Blood?

Matthew Perry just hanging out on a street corner on the UWS leaning cooly against a wall. Just people watching or chilling out thinking about how rich he became off of Friends.


Anthony Bourdain with his family at our local brunch spot. Seen them here a few times now. Love his tv shows but would never bother him while eating. If the food here is good enough for him then we will keep going here.

Half the cast of Mad Men at a speakeasy. Honestly, I don’t watch the show that much so my friend had to tell me who they are. She went and had a cigarette with them, and said they were pretty cool.

Lou Reed waiting for a bus. That’s a true New Yorker.

There have been so many over the years that there are too many to list. Some I have totally forgotten about I’m sure. We have also seen many local sports stars since a bunch of them live and party here in Manhattan. Part of the fabric of living here I guess.




Still, I just can’t see myself running after anyone for an autograph or a picture. What about you? Any celebrity stalkers or starfuckers out there?

58 thoughts on “People Stalking Celebrities in NYC!”

  1. So what you’re saying is that 2nd avenue is a lucky star corner. 🙂
    I’ve seen a few celebs when i’m visiting my best friend from college who happens to live in Pacific Palisades. Matter of fact, Ray Liotta showed up at her daughters birthday party because his daughter is a school friend. I get excited for a nanosecond but I’ve never asked for an autograph. I also sat in a booth across from will smith but I didn’t give him a second glance once I ordered. LOl. My meal is more important.

    1. Hey Holli!

      Yeah, it seems 2nd ave of all places is a celebrity magnet. The UES has a lot of bars and upscale spots to eat, so maybe that explains it.

      Actually, Ray Liotta is one I forgot. Years ago he was sitting outside a bar close to my street waiting for someone and on his phone. I just wanted to go get my dinner!

  2. My celebrities aren’t generally TV/movie stars and if I saw one, I probably wouldn’t even recognize him or her. My husband and I ran a music magazine for a few years and we met quite a few rockstars, so I’m used to being around “big names.” You definitely get over it after a while. However, if I ran into John Green, Robin Sloan, Rainbow Rowell, or any of the other authors I have a writer’s crush on, I might geek out. I guess it depends on how much you admire/respect the person?

    1. Hey Denise!

      Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting!

      I can definitely see getting a bit amped if you met someome you idolized and respected. The company I work for also has a bunch of music magazines and I have seen many stars come and go here. There are only a few I would geek out on! LOL!

  3. That’s quite the list. I don’t remember seeing that many celebrities when I lived in the City. Then again, I’m the one usually in a fog and probably wouldn’t recognize a celebrity if I bumped into one. I did see Kurt Vonnegut at a ATM once. My friend pointed him out to me. I also saw Sean Connery seated at the next table in a restaurant.

    When I worked at Columbia Records, I chatted with Michael Bolton, Wynton and Brad Marsalis, Herbie Hancock but never asked for an autograph. The thought never occurred to me.

    1. Hey Lauren!

      You would not believe how many we all walk by here and do not recognize. We are all in a rush, or just don’t care. As you did it is cool to chat with them if they are up for it but many times I find they just want to be left alone to their business. We sat next to Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale in the Bryant Park outdoor cafe and they were having brunch as we were. No one bothered them. It was pretty cool.

        1. Yup. We go there on a nice weekend morning for brunch sometimes. They also have movies on summer Mondays projected on a huge screen. Free wifi in the park too!

  4. It’s been a bit of a mix for me. When Paul Reubens came in to buy some stuff from me I sensed his discomfort and pretended I had no idea who he was. I treated him like anyone else. I could tell he was grateful.

    Terry Bradshaw…He was cool with it and gave me a hug, a few compliments and an autograph.

    Most of the Cowboys (past and present) that I’ve met: Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones, Everson Walls, Moose Johnston, Tony Cassias, Nate Newton, Bill Bates, Kenny ‘The Shark’ Gant, Jay Novacek, Emmitt Smith, Tony Romo, Chris Canty, Jason Witten, Kevin Williams, Jay Ratliff, Keith Brooking, Jason Hatcher, Akin Ayodele, Bradie James, Chad Hennings, DeMarcus Ware, Orlando Scandrick, Martellus Bennett, Michael Irvin, Victor Butler and I’m probably missing a few… They were cool with the autograph. Well, Emmitt was at the Hall of Fame induction, so they were rushing him on stage and I was only able to shake his hand.

    Deion Sanders? Hubby was waiting for me to arrive after my shift in the lobby where we were having a dinner and autograph signing event. His bodyguards tried to kick my hubby out assuming he was trying to get close to Sanders. Not at all the case. We’ve never liked his ego…this only cemented our thoughts.

    Evan Longoria and David Price? I treated them like anyone else. It was why they preferred to do business with me when they were in spring training.

    John Gruden was the coolest guy to chat with ever…but we didn’t try to get his autograph.

    Country star Andy Griggs and I pretended he just looked like Andy Griggs, though he and the promoter who was escorting him invited me to his concert. After the concert I got his autograph and invited onto his bus along with my friends as a thank you for helping him out when he’d had his emergency. Because of the awesome customer service, he and I became friends…and still are.

    Come to think of it, I usually don’t try to get autographs unless I’m at an event where it’s expected.

    1. Hey Kitt!

      Those are some cool celebrity encounters. I have heard Terry is a fun guy and Deion is a jerk, so no surprises there.

      Who are the Cowboys? Are they anyone important? 😉

      Now Pee Wee Herman – that is a star!!!

  5. Good topic! You guys must get jaded as a self-preservation tactic– there are so many stars in NYC. And I don’t think it’s good for self-esteem to envy these people, maybe I’m looking too deeply into it, but why idolize people? They act, they have the same issues we all do, potentially magnified. I have never understood the autograph thing. Even as a little girl in Disney World ( I know this barely counts) I never wanted one of those autograph books to have the characters’ signatures. Never saw the point. I do understand a pic or two, as long as you don’t chase the person.

    Your stories were fun. I have heard Keanu keeps a very low profile, must be like finding Where’s Waldo. 🙂 Good one, Phil!

    1. Hey Jean!

      Glad you enjoyed my celebrity stories. Yeah, we are a bit jaded. I was never a start struck guy to begin with, but I have seen others her go crazy when they see a celeb. I could have added plenty more here but I forgot a bunch – Ray Liotts, Kirsten Dunst, Gwen Stephanie, etc.

      Personally, I get more excited finding a great new place to eat or a speakeasy!

  6. Ok, I will admit I actually gasped when reading you saw Magnum PI..I mean Tom Selleck. I can’t say I would be gushing for autographs, but that is only because I would be frozen with my mouth open and my eyes as big as saucers. I have a serious issue controlling my excitement. Aaaaaaaa OMG! you saw Tom Selleck…OMG! (see what I mean).

    1. Hey Lisa!

      Sounds like you get the hot flashes over Magnum P.I.!

      Just think – if you saw him and passed out he might have to give you mouth to mouth to make sure you live! 😉

  7. I always want to spot a celebrity but I’m so shy I would do absolutely nothing if I actually saw one, and I know for a fact I would never stalk or ask for an autograph, I assume they are annoyed with this behavior. I do find something obnoxious about pawing/drooling over them in their presence. I, of course, worship from afar. A million years ago I saw Patrick Swayze (sp?) and thought he was surprisingly short in real life! I’m 5’6″ and we were the same height it seemed. He was very nice. It was at a horse show it Texas.

    1. Hey Beth!

      I heard he was a nice man. Sad that he passed away so young I can always watch Roadhouse when it’s on tv.

      Yeah, I watch from afar or just walk by. The celebrity stalking thing is not my style.

  8. There has been the occasional rap artist or movie star who walked passed us. If it wasn’t for someone else noticing them, I would have just kept on my merry way without realizing the star presence. I only once stopped someone for an autograph, but I was outside of a venue, not really intruding on their personal private time.

    1. Hey Jessica!

      That has happened to me also a bunch of times. I was all like “who was that?”

      I’ve never asked one for an autograph. Maybe I should and see what happens.

  9. I like to keep the star struck stuff in my head. I’d take a photo, but it would be of the stalker variety. I don’t really have the guts to walk up and ask anyway. Also, the one time I kind of met a celebrity they were so not like they were on TV that it burst my bubble. They are better off in my head. 🙂

    1. Hey Coleen!

      So you would be the stalker chick hiding in the bushes snapping pictures? 🙂

      I have heard that before. Better to leave them as a fake charactor on tv you like than ruin it for you.

  10. They are just regular people who happen to have a job which everybody knows them. You are right I couldn’t see myself running after anyone either. Lol that’s way over the line of crazy. When speed came out I think I was 12 I said I would marry Keanu but I did my version of him.

  11. Rubbing elbows with the celebs around NYC, huh? Nice! I don’t have run-ins often but living in Nashville, you do see celebs from time to time. Mostly country music singers…but sometimes movie stars like Nicole Kidman. I am usually too busy trying to figure out why they look so familiar before realizing its a celebrity, so if I ever wanted my photo or an autograph, I’d be twenty seconds too late…Being blonde is hard. 🙂

    1. Hey Cowboys!

      Oh you airy blonde you! 😉

      I am the same way at times. I walk by people and kind of recognize them. I strain my brain trying to remember and they are long gone when I do. Oh well, no biggie.

  12. I don’t know most, or give a crap about, most celebrities. Some of them I might bother, like William Shatner, I might have to tackle him if I met him. I literally bumped into Bob Sagat in LA, nice guy. It didn’t dawn on me to ask for a picture or whatever, so I guess I suck at this.
    For awhile though, my family & I were doing this thing where we tried to get pictures of normal people who KIND OF looked like celebrities, and convince them they looked JUST LIKE whoever, Little Richard, sports figures, whatevs, that was fun! You tell pretty much ANY dude that he looks like A-Rod, you’ll make his day. So, we saw a lady in an indoor water park who KIND OF looked like Joan Cusak, so I wanted to get a picture with her for that reason, it turned out it was HER. She was there with her family, super nice lady, WORST PICTURE of the both of us ever. We were in an indoor water park with kids ALL DAY, she made promise I wouldn’t put it on the internet and the way she looked at me, with nasty hair, no make-up, etc., she didn’t look really worried about it. She was impressed that in Chicago we called White Sox park “The Joan” b/c it’s US Cellular Field and she was doing those US Cellular commercials at the time. Oh, and there was that movie I made with Corey Haim in the 90’s. I think you read that post. LAME celeb story, but a funny regular person story.

    1. Hey Joy!

      Captain Kirk might be one of the few I would persue!

      The Joan Cusack story is pretty cool and funny. Surprised she let you take the pic.

  13. OK. There aren’t many celebs who’d get more than a tip of the hat from me. But wouldn’t you know it, when I was a sophisticate of 27 I ran into the ONE guy I fell for at age 5 and immediately regressed. SOUPY SALES! I actually hopped up and down clapping my hands! He was with a bunch from Rolling Stone Mag and I saw only… SOUPY!!! He even had his polka dot bow tie on! He was a total champ about it. How could he not? We have a photo of me watching him on TV in our family album! True love never dies!

    1. Hey Nancy!

      Haha – Soupy Sales! That’s a blast from the past. Good one.

      Same here – only a few that I would really acknowledge. To me they are just people making a lot of money to play make believe. Still, we love many of them.

  14. Wow! Those are some awesome celebrity run-ins!

    There’s an actor named Josh Peck (from a former teen show called Drake & Josh) who has a hilarious account where he snaps photos of people who try to take unobtrusive photos of HIM. He calls it Photo Wars or something like that and has really funny commentary. I think it’s on Instagram or Twitter? Anyway, pretty funny!

  15. Back in my bar-tending days in Sausalito, CA., when I was much younger and more star-struck, I was often taken aback when celebs sauntered into the place. Shel Silverstein would come in and chat me UP. At that time, I had no idea who he was…had I known then what I know now…well, stalking wasn’t invented yet…so who knows!


  16. Wow, you’ve seen a lot of them. I’d never have the guts to walk up to them and ask for a photo or autograph, for some reason I think I’d be embarrassed!

    1. Hey Emily!

      I have seen a lot, and probably walked by many I did not recognize. I have only posed for a few pics over the years with some but never pursued it.

  17. I spoke with many “celebrities” when I was a politician and a few more at baseball games here in Arizona for spring training. I like talking to famous people but, I almost never get an autograph. I’d rather chat with them. I have chatted with at least 2 Billionaires.

    1. Hey Tim!

      I hope at least you got some great financial advice from the billionaires!

      I would think those would be interesting conversations.

  18. Ashamed to admit that if I ever see anyone remotely famous I instantly adopt a positively ridiculous attitude – mouth open jumping up and down on the spot cringeworthy stuff! Good job I don’t live in NYC by the sound of it!

    Kate x

  19. Bartended my way through school in Boston, and this gave way to many a celeb-oogling moment. Later found myself to be one of the go-to interior designers of the stars in Nashville ( that´s little Hollywood you know). But the most fun was having a child on the same soccer team as Tim and Faith´s oldest child. It was WAY COOL and they are SUPER NICE people.

    Fun post!
    Klem (that´s hugs in Norwegian)

    1. Hey Kimberly!

      I’m sure you saw a few up in Beantown! Then even more in Nashville with that profession. Tim and Faith are Nashville royalty now. Nice company!

  20. I feel the same way you do, no real need to bother people just because they’re famous. But Lou Reed? That one would have tested me . . .

  21. Certain people have special gifts, a talent, perhaps just careers that put them in the limelight. I respect that people have achieved certain heights, but I admit to loathing celebrity obsession, this means anyone. I have known plenty of folks in my life that I consider true heroes so to me these are the truer version of celebrity. Living in Arizona for some years regularly had me acquainted with lots of ‘celebrities’ in one form or another athletes, musicians, politicians, you name it. The lesser among them spending a day tubing with my best friend, along with the survivors of the Leonard Skynard Band, low key happenstance and a fun afternoon. Accept and respect people as they are, not who they happen to be that’s my motto.

    1. Hey Peggy!

      You said it, as I think society in general worships the wrong people anyway. Very cool that you went tubing with Lynard Skynard! That must have been a trip!

  22. The Guiliani story is money. 🙂

    Working in newspapers — especially upstate — has allowed me the chance to deal with many baseball Hall of Famers. That’s helped with this whole thing. I’m sure there’s a few, if I saw, I’d be a little big-eyed, but I never saw the need to to run up to anybody for an autograph or anything. It’s more fun to walk past them like they are a regular joe.

  23. I used to see lots when I lived in Los Angeles but the only person I ever stopped on the street, actually the mall in Century City, was Sid Caesar, who is a true idol of mine. He was very gracious…

  24. I’ve seen a couple of celebrities in my day but like you, I don’t make any fuss over them. I just see them as normal folk doing a job that’s in front of the camera’s. I’d hate to be in the public eye 24/7, so I guess it must be very hard for them to relax when all they want to do is go out and eat with everyone else or go for a long walk/run without being bothered.
    Well, that’s the price they pay to earn all that money – I’m not jealous, really 🙁

    1. Hey Rum Punch!

      I wish I made all that money to do an easy job like that! Only working part of the year. All the perks too.

      I guess being in NYC we see them all around so it’s not a big thing anymore.

  25. Yikes, you’ve really spotted a lot of celebrities. I’m really bad at recognizing celebrities and I haven’t spotted anyone when I’ve been to NYC. Wouldn’t mind bumping into Jay-Z though..

    1. Hey Mitzie!

      Since I live here year around it offers a chance to catch a celebrity glimpse here and there. Many live here too. I just don’t go all gaga over them as some others. We are a jaded bunch here!

  26. I enjoyed your Guiliani encounter the most – it really humanizes a larger-than-life celeb. Being from Chicago, my greatest encounter of the celebrity kind had to be bumping into Harry Caray as I was entering his dining establishment. He was waiting for his car to be pulled up and, like about four million people before me, I simply shouted “Hey, Harry!”, to which he shouted “Hey!” right back. I walked past him to get a table and that was all there was to it. It was very cool.

    1. Hey SmackOfHam!

      Thanks so much for dropping by my blog and commenting!

      Glad you enjoyed some of our celebrity stories. Harry Caray was was legend in the Chicago area. Cool story the way it should be.

      The NBA season launched last night and they had a big event close to where I work. Shaq and Charles Barkley walked past me. Shaq is huge! They had a bunch of crazy fans running after them. I just walked by and smiled at all those idiots.

  27. I love every single sighting!
    & I love that you do not bother them while they are eating etc…
    So uncool to do this, Right?

    I’ve dealt blackjack to Telly Savalis in the day. I looked at him and said “I LOOOOved you in the Dirty Dozen.” He said, “I was MEAN.” I said, “No Kidding.”

    …But I’d die to meet Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, or Jack Nicolson!

    Great Post!

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