This article is very old. I first wrote it up after my first holiday in New York in April 1997 and refined it for publication on Yudu in 2000.
If anyone knows what came of Michael Gold, I would be very interested in an update.
On a holiday to New York we met a man who was madly in love with Naomi Campbell…
NB – Mid-town Manhattan has changed an awful lot in the last 15 years, back then it was easy to take a “shortcut” and end up in a less than desirable neighbourhood – and we did a lot of walking because we were scared of the subway. Maybe we just being soft (unlikely as we were able to cope with Nottingham city centre on a Saturday night), but the whole area seemed a lot safer when I revisited a couple of years ago. So, New Yorkers, don’t take offence at the snarkiness of the opening paragraph, please.
I met Naomi Campbell’s stalker in New York City!
My friend Sally and I had been in New York for a full 24 hours and feeling very smug because we hadn’t been mugged. We took a leisurely stroll down Fifth Avenue, ending up in Greenwich Village. This is where Friends is set and it has a real laid back atmosphere. We sat in Washington Square Park, minding our own business and taking in the Noo Yawk hustle and bustle going on around us.
This being New York, the peace was soon shattered. A strange man (as opposed to just a male stranger) wandered up to us and said:
“Hey, you ladies English? I’m in love with an English girl!“
I could say we were just being polite, but there’s no two ways about it, we were stoopid to start a conversation with him by asking, “Oh really, which part of England is she from?”.
Maybe we didn’t notice the heavily-dilated pupils and the bizarre nails (I have never seen anything like them before or since, they seemed to have a second layer of inverted nails growing on top – baffling). No, we saw a medicated smile and took it as a friendly face and soon we were trapped in a two hour conversation with one of the nuttiest nutters in New York.
He pointed to his t-shirt with a homemade print of a woman’s face on it and took off his pork pie hat where there was a carefully folded page of a magazine inside. This picture was of the woman he was madly (literally) in love with – Streatham’s own supermodel, Naomi Campbell.
How Michael “Met” Naomi
He told us he was called Michael Gold and described himself as a nice Jewish boy from Queens who lived with his mother. The love affair with Naomi started when he was watching the David Letterman show (recorded at the NBC Studios in central Manhattan) with Naomi as the special guest.
Naomi was talking about the difficulties of dealing with fame; the constant scrutiny, everyone thinking that they know her when they really don’t etc. Michael explained (with fervour of the true believer) that he just knew at this moment that was talking to him, direct from the NBC studio and right into his TV set in Queens.
Michael understood that Naomi Campbell was telling him that she loved him and needed him to rescue her…
We would all agree that if a supermodel is telling you that she loves you, you wouldn’t argue. So, because this had happened (in Michael’s head, at least) it was logical (in a way) for him to immediately hotfoot it down to NBC to see her. Which is exactly what he did, getting there just in time to catch her leaving the studios.
Seeing her he dropped to his knees and hollered (he recreated this scene beautifully in the park):
“Naomi! I’m here! I know I’m a schmuck, but I love ya!”
Naomi studied him with a concerned look on her beautiful face as he was pulled away by security. This concern he took as further proof of her love for him.
It’s at this point we could have excused ourselves in a awfully English way. “Terribly sorry old chap, but our holiday is only a week long and simply must do some sightseeing…”. But, as he seemed fairly harmless and it was all part of the holiday experience to hear a genuine New Yorker say the word ‘schmuck‘, we stayed to listen to more. With our encouragement, his tale gained momentum.
Following Naomi and her celebrity friends
Michael found out that Naomi had an apartment in the trendy TriBeCa disctrict and took to regularly hanging around outside her place. Pretty often he would manage to get within shouting distance of her (“Naomi! I love ya!”) and was twice arrested. Being arrested only increased his ardour. Especially as the charges were dropped because Naomi was out of the country and didn’t testify against him – this just proved her love for him!
Stalking Naomi brought him into the proximity of other celebrities. Naomi was seeing Robert de Niro at the time. De Niro understandably wasn’t prepared to wait and find out if Michael was harmless or not and took to threatening, in an attempt to make him go away. What a buzz that must have been, seeing Robert de Niro in full-on Goodfellas mode.
Michael followed Naomi and her friends one night to a SoHo club where they were joined by the “little English girl”, Kate Moss. Michael claimed that he saw a fair bit of nose powdering that night, something he clearly disapproved of – his girl damaging herself. This coming from a man who was clearly no stranger to pharmaceutical experiments himself.
When he had told us the full story, we managed to get away from him, promising, I think, to come back and see him the next day. Away from his intense, honest eyes, we started to doubt this tale, deciding it was just the meanderings of a “bloody nutter”.
A few month’s later and back home in Nottingham I was reading the paper where I came across the headline:
Supermodel Naomi’s Halloween Nightmare
Apparently some stalker, called Michael Gold, had been arrested after hanging around her at a Halloween party. This time, it was reported, it really was the last straw and Naomi got a restraining order out against him.
Let’s hope he doesn’t take this action as a further sign of her love for him.
The New York Daily News covered the story of Michael’s arrest, mentioning the hat with her portrait and another writer mentioned a similar encounter with him. An un-named source said: “He wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Nevertheless, it must have been a distressing experience for Naomi Campbell; only a few months earlier Gianni Versace had been killed and in New York, the Dakota Building where John Lennon was fatally shot remains a tourist attraction.
After this arrest, the trail goes cold, I couldn’t find any more recent mentions of this Michael Gold. Also archived news reports reveal that Naomi Campbell has sadly had to deal with two other serious stalkers in the intervening years.
If Michael is still around he will now be in his late 50s. I hope that he is well and has found the right treatment to deal with his delusions. When we met him, he had enough charm that we overlooked our proximity to such a potentially dangerous man.
New York doesn’t need any added extras to make it an amazing holiday destination, but thanks to Michael, my first visit there was really, truly unforgettable.