There is nothing funnier than a fake wallet on a string. You know...old wallet, five bucks sticking out...busy sidewalk. Two kids on the end of the string behind the fence giggling as they wait for a portly gentleman to bend down for it. Construction workers used to do it on 6th Avenue and howl.
Today it would be more cruel than funny, as the latest studies have found a majority of us can't reach down anymore. Portly has become just plain fat. Today a good percent of the population wouldn't even see it.
If it wasn't juvenile and in bad taste, I would tell you a glued-down quarter is funny too.
The WORST ADVERTISING IN HISTORY used to plague New York City Streets in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Tiny leaflets folded to look like a twenty dollar bill with an ad on the back for a strip club, dial-a porn or some other shady, sleazy, cruddy business. Junior mobsters were hired to dump the litter as they walked down city streets, often at dawn, which allowed the tricky things to blow around a bit before commuters hit the streets.
I saw a few of the amateur thugs drop them as I walked my dog...creepy punks a step below the guys who would hang glue-slap posters for lousy dance clubs anywhere their paste brushes could reach. Sidewalk Spammers.
The one above happens to be an ad for dirty film called "Foxtrot" which starred Vanessa Del Rio. I used to have the pleasure of watching Vanessa swim and sun every day at the rooftop pool atop the Holiday Inn on West 57th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue. It was for hotel guests, but for a buck CBS employees (and a few favored folk) could use it and I sure did. Spending your lunch hour with a super-tan Vanessa Del Rio in a bikini was a whole lot more fun than eating a slice of pizza at my desk. I often got back a few minutes late. I am putting Vanessa's name in the title here in case she has a service scanning the web for mentions of her...why shouldn't Vanessa have a nice, sunny memory too?
Anyway, I remember seeing hundreds of these crooked, low-down miniature trick circulars strewn all over around Times Square, and will confess to having fallen for them a few times. As I recall, the city was trying to outlaw the practice through anti-litter laws and the department of sanitation...sure enough, an article ran in the NY Times in 1991 which coined the word "trashvertising" or "trash cash" and discussed efforts to ban them without violating any fugwad's "right to free speech."
Imagine my surprise (and disgust) to find they are still being produced. "Drop Cards" they are called and you will find purveyors on the web today. Slime.
"Drop-Card" miniature advertising leaflet, 1982 Collection Jim Linderman