Yesterday afternoon, after getting the necessary permits from the City (for $3,100), Trojan continued its enormous vibrator giveaway—but this time they were only in one location, which led to a fast-moving, engorged line of pleasure-seekers stretched from Ninth Avenue and 14th Street all the way to the High Line. As far as publicity stunts go, it was fabulous. "I've never seen anything like this," a vendor at 14th and Washington Street told us as the line quickly marched past his cart. "I just wish they'd buy my hot dogs, too."
All in all the giveaway seemed to attract folks from every walk of life. Media swarmed the line to interview men and women of every shape, age and color happily waiting (even in the rain) for the free toys coming out of two Ryder trucks parked on the street. Some even went back for seconds! One middle-aged gentleman celebrating his birthday explained his second trip easily with a wry smile: "two girlfriends!"
Though not everyone wanted to talk about it, everyone on the line seemed eager to give their new toys (either a $40 Tri-Phoria or a $30 Pulse) a spin. "Oh, I'll be using it once I get home," one 21-year-old woman, getting her first vibrator, told us. "I've wanted one for a while but there are so many options online—free is so much easier."
"My girlfriend sent me here. I'm on strict orders that I have to leave with one today. She's out of town but it'll definitely come out this weekend," a man in his 20s told us. "This is so great 'cause my dad actually just threw out my vibrator," a 19-year-old woman told us (as for why he did that, she wasn't really sure).
While a number of the people we spoke to on the line had been cockblocked by the city over Wednesday's giveaway shutdown, they didn't seem to be rubbed the wrong way over it. "I was here yesterday for round one, that didn't work out, so I thought I'd try it out again," a 53-year-old woman explained. With the size of the lines both days, she wasn't surprised by the city's earlier shut down. The lines, after all were huge. Not that it surprised her: "people wait on longer lines for a pack of gum."
But not everyone had tried before (or even heard about the blocking). One woman hadn't heard about the giveaway at all until a friend from Seattle sent her a Facebook link yesterday morning. Two 21-year-old women from Long Island just happened to be in the neighborhood when they heard about it on the radio. And some people simply hopped on line while on their way to the river. "I was going to go work out by the river and then I saw this and thought, why not?" another woman told us.
"I'm reading 50 Shades of Grey," explained another twentysomething woman getting her first vibrator, "so it kind of put me on to explore a little bit. Christian Grey, he is a good mentor! I've learned some things!"
There were some critics, of course, but only of the product, not the idea. "The only reason to participate would to defend my political right to get a vibrator from Bloomberg," a woman in her mid-forties passing by (but not getting on the line) told us. "Otherwise just get a Rabbit!"
All in all the Trojan line was one of the happier, laughter-filled queues we've ever seen in New York, a city that loves it some lines. Yes, it was an obvious grab for free publicity from Trojan for its line of self-pleasuring products—but so what? It clearly made many New Yorkers very happy. And theoretically will continue to for some time.
With Rachel Pincus