Nicki Minaj is chilling on Bowery, her petite glamour neutralizing the dank of Manhattan’s original Skid Row. Buxom and physically expressive, wearing a plush black fur jacket and thigh-high patent leather stiletto pumps, she looks like a snow bunny lost in the frigid city, except instead of a designer pocketbook, she’s clutching an open box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Half a block from her luxury room at The Bowery Hotel, a small crowd is gathering and gawking at her silhouette, a couple dudes weakly trying to holler from across the street. One 40-something Boricua with a camera phone musters the courage to ask for a picture, excited to send it to her son, and Minaj sweetly obliges. The scene’s not quite paparazzi status, but in the middle of winter, on a block half flophouse and half condo, this buzzing group of various onlookers is a testament to Nicki Minaj’s universal appeal.
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