Plot: Borrowing a move from the Slacker playbook, this episode is a series of short stories that are tied together by encounters on the streets of New York City.
The episode starts with Dev, Denise, and Arnold walking down the street talking about seeing a new blockbuster called Death Castle. They pass by Eddie (Frank Harts), a doorman at a high-end apartment building, who the camera starts following. Eddie doesn’t lose his cool with a racist tenant, and he reluctantly agrees to help a man who’s having an affair by calling his apartment if his wife walks in the building. The doorman briefly leaves his post to feed another tenant’s birds, only to find out later that he left at the exact moment when the married guy’s wife walked in. He gets chewed out by the philanderer, whose clothes are being thrown onto the street by his angry wife.
Our attention then shifts to one of Eddie’s fellow doormen, who goes to a nearby bodega that’s staffed by a deaf woman named Maya (Treshelle Edmond). The sound cuts out and we see a slice of her life as another customer tries to flirt with her. After work, Maya goes to Central Park to meet with a friend, and they talk in ASL about her sex life and how they are fashion “twinsies.” Later, she meets her boyfriend at a dish store to buy a wedding gift and, using ASL, they talk about their sex life in the shop, until a mother with kids tells them to stop signing about such raunchy stuff.
The focus then moves to two trendy ladies hopping a cab down to Soho. Once they reach their destination, our attention turns toward the cab driver, Samuel (Enock Ntekereze), who’s still got a long shift ahead of him. When work is over, he heads back to his apartment in Brooklyn, which he shares with a few other African immigrants — there are flags on the wall from Burundi and Cameroon. Later that night, the boys head out to Manhattan to go clubbing.
They’re rebuffed at the door of 1Oak, and get suckered into going to a dopey, empty club with $800 bottle service. After refusing to pay that price, they end up at a burger joint where one of their friends works. They connect with a group of ladies, dance and drink inside the closed restaurant, and eventually decide to all go see Death Castle together at the same theater where Dev, Denise, Arnold, and the deaf couple are all watching the movie.
Food Rundown: This episode’s somewhat light on the food references, although the trendy ladies mention a new grain bowl restaurant downtown, the bodega employee gets a snazzy new pizza scarf as a gift, and the cab driver and his friends end up at a place called Lucky’s Famous Burgers.
Best of None: One of the show’s most stylistically experimental episodes, ‘New York, I Love You’ is a treat from start to finish. The doorman and cab driver’s stories are perhaps the most engrossing, but there are no dull moments in this episode. As the title implies, it’s a love letter to the people of New York City.