The day after DaveCon, June 19, 2012, I went to Hello Deli for lunch and a quick visit with Rupert Jee. I took my camera, because I wanted to locate and take pictures of Dave Letterman Park, which opened in June, 2012. The audience was being lined up, so when I thought I had the park spotted, I approached a female page, pointed to the little island on Broadway and asked, "Is that Dave Letterman Park?" She seemed a little concerned about my question, which I understood when she answered, "David Letterman doesn't park there." I briefly tried to explain what I meant, but clearly she didn't recall Dave's desk chat of June 11, when he reported that supervising producer Kathy Mavrikakis, unit manager Pam Norozny and executive producer Jude Brennan had taken it upon themselves to make something of the little divider island at Broadway and 53rd St. They called Arborpolitan of Red Hook, Brooklyn to spruce up the aforementioned island. The arborculturists put in Miscanthus, Catmint, Bugleweed, sunflower seeds and a Zelkova Serrata elm tree. This little island had to be the park, so I took several pictures of the unmarked tourist attraction.

While in Hello Deli for an Inky, I noticed that head stagehand Pat Farmer was carrying around a couple of wooden sticks. Clearly he was putting together props for a remote, but what on earth? Just as I finished my sandwich, director Jerry Foley came out of the theater building with some other staff members in tow, all headed for the island. Pat and the stagehands had duct-taped a Dave Letterman Park sign to a post in the island, and a cameraman was preparing to do a shoot. The island had been transformed into a crime scene, with yellow tape around the perimeter.

Each plant type in the island had a numbered yellow card beside it, marking the evidence. I assume that Dave's off-script joking on the June 18 show about "weed" led to the idea for a crime scene. I don't believe this segment aired, so I may never know. I was joking around with the security man / detective about the weed thing, and he seemed to get my reference, so I may be right.

After Jerry finished shooting the segment, I heard a familiar voice... one that I hadn't heard often, but definitely knew. I asked the man near me, "Are you Tommy, the Late Show bear? He said, "Yes, I am." Tommy O'Brien only spoke once as the Late Show bear, in the series finale on 9/22/05, when he took off the bear head and addressed the North American viewing public about dealing safely with a rabid bear. (There was a cameo on 2/21/11.) So there was my Brush with Greatness. (Here's a good shot of Tommy, on the left.) Also in Tommy's credits is an appearance in "Stagehand Theater" on 4/25/11.

Here are pictures of my visit to America's newest city park. I realize the photos are large, but this is a big deal. Dave never got his highway around Indianapolis, Dave Letterman Bypass. Meanwhile, Paul Shaffer received the Order of Canada. At last, Mr. Letterman is receiving the recognition he deserves. Granted, Dave does have a closet full of Emmy awards, the plexiglass doodad from the Aftonbladet, a building named for him at Ball State, the 1991 George Foster Peabody Award and the highly-coveted 2005 People's Choice Award, but this is a park on Broadway, the Great White Way, tolerated by Mayor Bloomberg himself.

Click any photo to enlarge it.

Zelkova Serrata elm and catmint

northwest view, including Pie Face

north view, including Miscanthus

another view of the Miscanthus

more of same

crime scene! / park sign duct-taped in place

left: stagehand Tommy O'Brien

numbers on the offending plants

female detective on the scene!

photographic evidence

Dave Letterman Park sign

post-graffiti version of the sign

Kawasaki that serves as the park bench

one of DeLace's guys, as a detective

DDY, dorky tourist from Manhattan, Kansas





Here's a look at Steve's park, also on Broadway, on July 11, 2012. (video)