Strange Radiation

Andrew Willett, unreliable narrator.

MOB #5 — tweet release

Oh, now this one was genius. The theme: Bird Calls and Nature Appreciation.
As usual, our orders were to get ourselves to one of four bars by a certain time and to await further instructions. I got to the Dublin House early, so I bought myself a Guinness and watched it go from an emptyish bar with scattered burnt-out regulars to Hipster Central. The hipsters clustered around the designated meeting area, a jukebox near the back with an outstanding collection of ’80s tunes. There wasn’t a great deal of room by the jukebox, so the density got kind of laughable in short order. The crowd gradually filled in all the available space between the jukebox and the door—and as far as I could tell it spilled out onto the sidewalk, again. Our most noteworthy topic of discussion, while we waited, was that we kinda hoped we’d start seeing a more diverse crowd at these things. We’re still a new phenomenon, and the folks who go tend to be geeky white hipsters or people who have geeky-white-hipster friends.
And then it was 6:55PM and The Drop was made. A man with the traditional 4×5 handouts wandered through. Here were our marching orders:

***MOB #5***

THE SITE: Central Park West—near 81st and Central Park West. Enter between 80th and 81st, across from the museum. Make your first hard left, merge with another path, then turn left again. Walk to the right in front of the ridge and face CPW. [also a helpful map, not reproduced here]
START TIME: 7.18 DURATION: 8 minutes. Disperse at 7.26: no one should remain at the mob site after 7.28.

  • Stand still and stare straight forward. For the first 3 minutes, make as little noise as possible. If you can make a realistic bird call, you may occasionally do so.
  • By 7.21, you may all make bird calls, unrealistic or no.
  • By 7.23, you may also mumble, “bird noise.”
  • By 7.25, you may also call out, “Nature here! Come get some nature!” to passersby.
  • By 7.26 Chant “Na-ture” for 20 seconds; cheer, and disperse.

Please do not take photographs at the mob site until 7.23.
Please do not interview anyone at the mob site until 7.26.

Response from the protomob was immediate and enthusiastic. Dang, did that bar empty out quick. The group tended to stick to the most direct route to our destination, which meant that rather than filtering through the intervening blocks and suddenly materializing on target we were more of a Geek Parade. Subtle we weren’t. But that was also fun.
And then we were There. We stood atop a huge boulder just inside the Park, staring out through the tree canopy at the Museum of Natural History. Crammed on the ridge as we were, those not at the absolute front of the mob couldn’t even see the street, so the presence of media and secondary mobs didn’t have the distracting effect that it did the last time. Ars gratia artis, baby.
The birdsong reached Agitated Pet Shop pretty quickly. I think it was the sheer effing briliance of the plan that did it: the mob was so wired that they started earlyish and ran with it too soon. And there’s no holding back a mob, you know, so we pretty much had to follow the vanguard. I was particularly proud of my ‘unrealistic bird calls:’ TWEET…. CHIRP. EEDLE-EEDLE-EEDLE-EEDLE-EEEEEP! And then the shouting, and the chanting, and the raucous cheering.
And then we went home.
Media: I counted one radio crew and one TV crew as I left. It’ll be interesting to see what the media coverage ends up like, if only because for all that the Times photog made her presence known at Mob #4 I never did see the Times run any pictures.
Cheesebikini? is the nexus of all Mob coverage. Hail Cheesebikini? ! Nice photos, again, at Satan’s Laundromat. If you want to join a mob, email


let’s do the flash mob again


NY moment #25,317

1 Comment

  1. bethany

    hey, you’re the Geek Parade guy! I was in front of you on the way to the park. how random. see you next mob…

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