Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is paying a visit to the United States on Monday. He and his delegation will probably spend most of their waking hours at the United Nations, but what will the deeply unpopular visitor do in his downtime in the Big Apple? Here are 10 tourist activities and highlights he most probably will not be seeing:
Museum of Natural History
Dinos are one thing, but the Museum of Natural History might be taking science a little too far for Iran's ultra-conservative president. The Museum opened an earthquake monitoring station where kids can learn about seismic readings and the Earth's shifting tectonic plates. But as loyal fans of the regime already know, earthquakes are unnatural events caused by adulterous and immodestly dressed women. That means that anything — from wanton looks to uncovered hair — could be setting off psychosexual tremors the world over.
MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art)
If Ahmadinejad is worried about a few strands of lady-hair showing, he'll have to run screaming from the Museum of Modern Art, which is currently featuring an all-nude review curated by the performance artist Marina Abramovic. Teams of silent, motionless volunteers are decking the halls of the august institution, and even blocking some doorways, forcing many passersby to squeeze through their fleshy narrows. While some of the nude performers have been groped by visitors, the MOMA no longer offers an earthen pit for burying and stoning women, making it difficult for Iran's president to attend in good conscience.
NBC Tours at 30 Rock
Relations have been chilly between Ahmadinejad and NBC since Saturday Night Live aired a music video featuring shots of "Mahmoud" licking up melty ice cream and sprawled on top of a grand piano in a red cocktail dress. (Fabulous Baker Boys, eat your heart out.) Once in Manhattan, he'll probably steer clear of NBC's popular page-led tours; the Peacock Network's omnipresent symbol would be a slap in the face for Ahmadinejad, who helped depose the last Shah from Iran's Peacock Throne.
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is a proud child of Brooklyn, and an even prouder fan of the New York Yankees, a constant visitor to their home stadium in the Bronx. But Ahmadinejad probably shouldn't try to take in a ball game at the Bombers' bastion alongside Rudy, as Giuliani has made it extremely clear what he thinks of Iran's head of state. He even led a protest against Ahmadinejad last year in the wake of Iran's rigged presidential elections.
Weekly GLAAD Meetings in Tribeca
Ahmadinejad famously claimed that his home country (population: 65 million) has zero gays (not a one!). The line drew laughs during an otherwise tense address at Columbia University in 2007, but probably wouldn't get much of a smile from any of the city's prominent gay-rights groups, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which is headquartered in New York. That said, he should probably stay away from the city's easternmost borough: he might just die from the shock of being in the heart of Queens.
New York's Holocaust Memorial
Ahmadinejad, never renowned for his subtlety, has called the Holocaust "an unprovable and mythical claim" and demanded that the Israel be "wiped off the map" while speaking at a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran in 2006. This didn't thrill many of New York's 2 million Jews, nor does it make the Iranian president a likely visitor to the city's Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, which contains Jewish art, books and artifacts likely to inflame the anti-Semitic president.
Down on Houston Street sits Katz's Deli, a venerable New York institution since 1888. But Ahmadinejad's punim is unlikely to join the sea of faces smiling out from the walls of the not-quite-kosher deli, which is festooned with pro-Israel signs and a world-famous slogan: "Send a salami to your boy in the Army." While Ahmadinejad probably won't be tearing into one of Katz's juicy triple-decker pastramis any time soon, even a Holocaust-denying would-be genocidist can hardly say no when you throw a knish into the bargain.
Enroll in the Gender Studies Department at NYU
NYU's Gender & Sexuality Studies Department "encourages students to question the meanings of 'male' and 'female,' as well as of sexual norms, in both Western and non-Western societies." Sounds like a recipe for success! Though Ahmadinejad might need a bit of a refresher — Iran was elected this week to a four-year post on the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women — he probably isn't planning to sit in on any gender-bending classes with New York's judgmental hipsters.
Sex and the City Tours
Bachelorettes the world over have cruised New York on guided tours of the stores, bars and restaurants featured in HBO's Sex and the City. For some, Jimmy Choo's 5th Avenue boutique is a high-heeled Mecca; for others, eating at Magnolia Bakery is sweeter than life itself. Ahmadinejad himself has professed little interest in the frivolous escapades of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda — but if his wife Azam Farahi comes along, then all bets are off.
One of the city's most popular tourist attractions remains Central Park, but its charms might be lost entirely on Ahmadinejad. The Ramble? Too green. The carousel? Too horsey. Shakespeare in the Park? Too British. A paddle in the pond? Mahmoud hates ducks. While he could enjoy a visit to the Arsenal, the 160-year-old structure has never contained any weapons, and is mostly used as a museum and art repository these days.