I met an Asian cowboy in New York City

Updated: Aug 31, 2011 10:07
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I was out doing research in Tribeca a couple days ago when I went into a store called Western Spirit ( I had wandered in here a couple times before simply amazed at the randomness of finding a store in Lower Manhattan that sold shit like cowboy boots, replica Winchester rifles, Native American jewelry, and Davey Crockett style coon skin caps. The first time I wandered in the employees were a couple of drop dead gorgeous Israeli girls. The next time I went, the guy working was a full on rockabilly cat. But this time was special; I met an Asian cowboy.

I’ve been a lot of places in the world and have friends that range from platinum selling rock-stars to ex-cons and from construction workers to neuroscientists; but I’ve never met an Asian cowboy before. Truthfully, I hadn’t even considered the possible existence of one. But there he was in ten gallon hat, Tony Lama boots and Texas belt buckle, doing rope tricks inside of Western Spirit. And the best part is that he wasn’t doing it as a scheme to get people in the store (like a tourist might see him and say to his wife, “Jesus Anne! Did you see that Asian kid do that thing with the rope? We should buy some boots!”) he was just practicing because the place was empty.

If you know me at all, you know that once I’m interested in something I can be relentless, so I began asking him questions; tons of questions. The first thing I said to him was, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Asian cowboy before.” And he replied in a thick Texas accent, “Me neither. I think I might be the only one.”

He had this kinda “aw shucks” attitude about everything, especially the fact that I found him so interesting. And it was all totally genuine; there wasn’t an ounce of guile or scheme to him. It ends up that he’s of Chinese descent and grew up in East Texas. He got into all the cowboy shit because all his friends were into it when he was young. He moved to New York about 4 years ago while he was in high school because his parent’s work brought them here. AND, get this, he brought his fucking horse! He stables it in Staten Island. This kid was priceless.

Unfortunately he was too shy to let me take a photo of him so I snapped this one off when he turned around. From this he seems about as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster:

Cheap tip of the day:

Wanna smell good? Go to any department store or perfume store and ask for samples. They’ll give you some to take home. Stop smelling bad dammit, this is the 21st century!


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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.