What's Your System
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My System: How to Spot a Celebrity on the Down-Low

The 2014 Star Map from Rentenna (Graphic: Rentenna.com)

Living in NYC, you’re bound to spot the occasional star hunkered down over a plate of pancakes at Buttermilk Channel or walking their dog in the East Village. For New Yorkers it’s a bit of a quiet sport. To make matters easier, Rentenna.com just released its 2014 map of NY and Brooklyn celeb abodes.

But heaven forbid you call attention to the fact that you actually notice them. (There you are repeatedly elbowing your husband pleading, “Look, look honey it’s…it’s that reporter from…from NY1!” Oh, the horror.)

Instead, my husband and I simply say the word “Rutabaga.” For example, Susan Sarandon strolls by us in Chelsea? All I need to say is “Rutabaga” and my husband will casually glance about until he sees said celeb. Easy and no one gets hurt. Or embarrassed.

This was adopted from a  system I used as a teenager. Back in the day, by using the code words “MT” (which stands for “my type”) or “YT” (“your type”), my bored sister and I could quietly acknowledge a random hot guy in the Plymouth Meeting mall for me or for her, respectively. However, more often, sis would spot a scruffy dude with a long fisherman’s beard and whisper “Ooh Margit, YT.”

2014 Update! So we use this system all the time, it’s fun and satisfying and many of my friends have co-opted it. There was one unfortunate incident recently when Maggie Gyllenhaal walked into Brooklyn restaurant 606 R&D. I slyly said “Rutabaga” and the friend yelled, “Oh! Isn’t that the thing you say when you see a celebrity?! Where? Where?”


We’ve also added to our lingo: Husband and I realized there are times when you don’t necessarily spot a star, but you spy someone odd, doing something freaky on the subway and you want to get the other’s attention. For that? “Celery Salt.”

No one is the wiser.


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