"I accidentally attended Leona Helmsley's dog's wedding."
How many people can truthfully say that sentence? Not many, I'd hazard a guess, and yet I'm in the lucky category of people who can!
Leona Helmsley was the female Donald Trump of New York City. Actually, she was more like if Cruella DeVille from 101 Dalmatians and Donald Trump had a baby. That would be Leona Helmsley.
A hotel magnate convicted of federal tax evasion, Helmsley was famous for an atrocious temper that earned her the nickname, "The Queen of Mean." "We don't pay taxes," she reportedly told a housekeeper. "Only little people pay taxes." In other words, she could be President today if she were still alive.
Although she loathed the Poors and Plebes with a sociopathic zeal, she was famous for bequeathing a $12M trust fund to her Maltese lap dog "Trouble," whose wedding--like I said--I accidentally attended in my early 20's some 15 years ago or more.
One of Geoff's childhood friends was a musician with a regular weekend gig at a posh doggy day care compound in Manhattan. The facility itself was something that could only exist in New York. It featured a grooming salon, treat bar, fenced-in turf for the dogs to run, and a house band, for which our friend was the lead guitarist.
One evening after eating a mushroom burrito containing the type of mushrooms that make you vomit and see purple geckos in the carpet, Geoff and I hoofed it over to the subway and then down to this doggie spa. The spa was on the second floor of a nondescript building in Chelsea, and as we exited the elevator this is the face we saw:
Leona was flanked by an entourage of bodyguards who clustered around her as she walked Trouble over to a fastidious looking man in a pinstripe suit holding another small dog on a leash. With little fanfare, the two dogs were walked down an "aisle," some vows were exchanged, and champagne toasts were made. I believe our friend's band played "Here Comes the Bride," or maybe Pachabel's Canon, and I watched the whole thing from behind the dias while deeply regretting my dinner choice.
It's a dubious distinction to be able to say you accidentally attended Leona Helmsley's dog's wedding, but I know there were a few other people in the room, so I am now organizing a support-group reunion for anyone else who was at this wedding, by accident or on purpose.