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On and Off the Avenue

Who was the last person to write an "On and Off the Avenue" column for The New Yorker? My guess would be Kennedy Fraser, but I haven't been playing close attention and I'm much too lazy to check The Complete New Yorker. "On and Off the Avenue" has always been a somewhat whimsical feature, but Patricia Marx turns up the humor setting in her contribution to the form. (It should be noted that Ms Marx teaches "comedy writing" at NYU.) The avenues in question are not our north-south axes named with numbers but the labyrinthine roadways of Los Angeles. I couldn't care less about this sort of fashion - the stylish women of Los Angeles strike me as nothing less than demented (they're certainly not attractive). But Ms Marx makes a must of her brief.

Near the entrance to the tiny boutique Luxe de Ville (2157 West Sunset Boulevard) stands a mannequin of a young boy who seems cheerful, considering that he's missing an arm. He is naked save for a jockey cap, a navy leather bikini with a big brass brooch, and strands of beads around his neck. The boy fits right in with the merchandise, a curious mixture of old and new: green plaid men's slacks from the forties; an I Magnin black velvet hat with a marine-blue feather, circa 1945; a new moss-green dress that looks so complicated I can't imagine how one would put it on (a label inside says, "Sometimes catastrophes become trophies"). It's easy to imagine the cheerful boy mannequin wearing any of these pieces. But what about me?

Sadly for nonsubscribers, the piece is not online.

How long has The New Yorker been running "World Beat," an out-of-town "Goings On About Town"?


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