Judah Friedlander

The NY Times has a bittersweet article about Jayson Littman, a financial analyst during the week, and a free-hug giver n Sundays. Littman gives out free hugs in Washington Square Park on Sunday afternoons, much to the skepticism of passers-by and would be huggees ("Hugging strangers is, like, weird."). A psychotherapist tells the Times, "First, I was like totally paranoid. But he seems to be really happy and generous. Of course, being a New Yorker, you wonder what happy and generous really is." Reporter Andrea Elliott makes sure that readers realize Littman's only agenda is to "help even out" the terrible things in the world and that he wears deodorant. While the bitter part of the article is that Littman isn't in touch with his parents in Brooklyn these days, the piece details different kinds of hugs, how dogs are a big part of his hugging volume, and ends on a humorous note that involves an 87 year-old woman. Gothamist will keep Littman in mind when we're down on a Sunday afternoon, fretting about a future case of the Mondays. Of course, this reminded Gothamist of the Dave Matthews Band video (only because MTV played it ALL THE TIME), Everyday, where Judah Friedlander (pictured) hugged everyone he saw. But we prefer Friedlander as a nerd.

Another Washington Square Park novelty, urban game Pac Manhattan, gets the Style section treatment; Gothamist Interview-ed Frank Lantz, who teaches NYU students how to make PacManhattan and other urban games.