Thursday, April 28, 2016

Celebrating Yorkville This Saturday at Bohemian Hall 10am to 2pm

72 St & York looking north in 1929.
This Saturday, at Bohemian Hall the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts are celebrating Yorkville with a panel of neighborhood old timers and a buffet lunch supplied by the best food spots in Yorkville. Its' only $20 for non-members, and $10 for members, 10am to 2pm.



You mean your Dad didn't annoy the shit out of you by taking your photo while you were studying Miss Emma Peel?
83rd Street @1964

If your father isn't annoying you tonight, Thursday, April 28th @10pm, watch Impractical Jokers on truTV, a basic cable station.  You may see my fat head and mouth blabbering.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Lovely Day

"Sunny, one so true, I love you."
Charlie digging Bobby Hebb on the radio at Central Park Boathouse




After I groove on the San Remo, I'm heading to Baseball as Good Medicine @ Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, New York, NY 
Doors Open at 3:15 PM
Show starts at 3:45 PM
it's a lovely day...

I'm working with the New York Public Library's Neighborhood Oral History Project, "Upper East Side Story." If you lived on the East Side between 59th St. & 96th St. for 25 or more years (the longer the better) and you would like me to interview you about your history in the neighborhood, please email me at tommy.pryor@gmail.com. I'll email you back a document describing the project. It will be an easy conversation where I listen to you talk about where you came from. Your recollections will become part of the permanent record at NYPL, available for the public to hear.


If you enjoy my work, check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." It's available at Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Avenue, or buy it online at AmazonBarnes and Noble or other booksellers. If you do read it, please leave a few honest words about the book on Amazon and B&N. 
Thank you!




Friday, April 15, 2016

Spring Sprung ~ Union Square & University Place


I'm working with the New York Public Library's Neighborhood Oral History Project, "Upper East Side Story." If you lived on the East Side between 59th St. & 96th St. for 25 or more years (the longer the better) and you would like me to interview you about your history in the neighborhood, please email me at tommy.pryor@gmail.com. I'll email you back a document describing the project. It will be an easy conversation where I listen to you talk about where you came from. Your recollections will become part of the permanent record at NYPL, available for the public to hear.

If you enjoy my work, check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." It's available at Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Avenue, or buy it online at AmazonBarnes and Noble or other booksellers. If you do read it, please leave a few honest words about the book on Amazon and B&N. 
Thank you!





Sunday, April 10, 2016

Charlie's First Sip of Central Park


When I was a Yorkville kid, the water in front of the Castle was called Catfish Lake. Reason was, it had many catfish in it. They'd gather in the water on the east side of the lake by the rocks just waiting for us. We brought over a loaf of Wonder Bread to split and put a little ball of it on each hook as bait attached to a stretch of fishing line or string. The hook was sometimes a safety pin. One guy was clever when he had no rod and used a long branch.

Since it was Charlie's first Central Park visit, it was important to tell her the story at the spot where it happened over fifty years ago. Charlie listened and when I was done talking she took her first sip of water from the lake. There will be hundreds more.

More photos of Charlie & Central Park

The NYPL The New York Public Library Upper East Side locations ordered copies of my 1960s memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys ~ tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."
Go to the NYPL website, and you can put a hold on the book at the following six branches: Mid-Manhattan, Yorkville, Webster, 67th Street, Bloomingdale & 96th Street.

Thank you, 67th Street Branch Library (NYPL) , KICK-OFF EVENT! Upper East Side Story: Our Neighborhood Oral History Project, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and Ryans Daughter for your warm support.

Our next "Stoops to Nuts" storytelling / songsmith show at Ryans Daughter will be in June, event date to follow shortly.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Early Morning In The Park, Library Event Tomorrow

Charlie's cuckoo crazy nuts over 67th St. NYPL Branch presents Thomas Pryor" ~ tomorrow April 6 @530pm to 630pm.

67th St. Library
328 East 67th Street
Wed, April 6 @ 530pm to 630pm

We're working hard, getting ready. Needed to blow off steam down Carl Schurz Park. Charlie loves the park. This morning the playground was her's. Portraits on East End Avenue by Samantha Schmidt. Thank you, Sam.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 6th, the NYPL The New York Public Library 67th Street Branch invited me to talk about our Upper East Side neighborhood ~ the value of stoops, parks & street life. I'll read from my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys ~ tales of a scrappy New York boyhood" & tell a few yarns.














Monday, April 4, 2016

"Safe At Home" ~ Oral History Event This Wed @ 67th St Library @ 530pm to 630pm

This Wednesday, April 6th, the NYPL The New York Public Library 67th Street Branch invited me to talk about our Upper East Side neighborhood ~ the value of stoops, parks & street life. That is April 6th @ 5:30pm to 6:30pm @ 328 East 67th Street

I'll read a story from my Yorkville 1960s' memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys ~ tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." And I'll tell a few yarns about this place we call home and what it was like 50 years ago. Something like...
... I never shook Mickey Mantle's hand and that remains one of my few regrets.
When I was 8 years old, Mickey stood right in front of me at the 86th Street RKO theatre in April 1962, when they made that silly movie "Safe at Home," to capitalize on the Maris & Mantle, M&M boys' 1961 home run derby. The Yankee team made appearances in several New York City movie houses to promote the film.


I forced Dad to get to the theatre two hours early to make sure we were on the aisle. We had a quick burger across the street at Prexy's first. At seven o' five, word spread the team bus had pulled up in front. The Yankees came into the lobby dressed in suits & ties and marched down the right side of the movie house. Yogi Berra walked by me and stepped on my toe, but I didn't notice, though my father did and wanted Berra to apologize. It was strange seeing Dad pissed at Yogi.

Elston Howard stopped in front of me, and put his arms behind his back like a military MP. Ellie saw I was having a baby over Mickey Mantle standing right next to him two feet away from me shaking in my sneakers. Dad and Ellie exchanged laughs over my dilemma, then Howard leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Say hi, he won't bite you." But I was too scared to say anything to Mickey. As the Yankees walked on stage for a final bow, I dribbled my opportunity away.

Below is a letter I wrote to Mantle when I was 13.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Carl Schurz Park Through The Years ~ An Event This Wednesday, April 6th

Four shots of Carl Schurz Park at 86th Street from 1940, 1961, a month ago, and today hanging with Zani's Furry Friends ZFF.

Wednesday, April 6th @530 to 630pm, 67th St. NYPL Branch presents Thomas Pryor" ~ the 67th Street Branch invited me to talk about our Upper East Side neighborhood ~ the value of the stoop, parks & street life.

I'll read a story from my Yorkville 1960s' memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys ~ tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." And I'll tell a few yarns about this place we call home and what it was like 50 years ago.

Details here on the NYPL The New York Public Library 67th Street Calendar. See April 6.




Thursday, March 31, 2016

Playing Catch With Dad

I miss playing catch with my father. One of life's near perfect moments.

This morning I saw a boy and his dad throwing the ball on The Drive between 81st Street & 82nd Street.


I owned four gloves in my life and still have the last of the four, a Jim "Catfish" Hunter model. Dad taught me to oil the glove and how to repair the laces with the large curved needle.

Breaking out the gloves in March is a Yorkville ritual that signaled the parks were ready for us. A tradition that goes back to the early part of the 1900s when Jimmy Cagney and Bill Cagney played ball with my great uncle, Joe "Cheech" Cuccia, on the Yorkville Nut Baseball Club. Their main rival was the John Jays as you can see in the photo here. Find Cagney, it's pretty easy. He has a smirk on his face.

NYPL The New York Public Library presents Yorkville author and photographer, Thomas Pryor, for an nostalgic hour of reading and storytelling at the 67th Street Branch.
Wednesday, April 6th @530pm to 630pm
FREE EVENT

April 6th, the 67th Street NYPL has invited me back to share a reading from my book, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys ~ tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." I will also tell a couple of short stories about my Upper East Side experiences in the 1960s. Bring the kids, the tales are for all ages.








Wednesday, March 30, 2016

NYPL Upper East Side Story ~ Oral History Project Kickoff Tonight!

The spring blossoms on the 300 block of East 81 Street. A beautiful canopy of trees, old stoops and sturdy walk-ups ~ the essence of New York City street life.

A block not marred by mid-block slivers or hi-rises. I’m fighting to maintain our dwindling Upper East Side housing stock threatened by speculation triggered by the Second Avenue subway and the city's indifference to supporting lower density where it has always made sense.

The tall buildings built for few are at the expense of everyone else who wishes to walk or sit on a stoop in the early morning or early evening and enjoy the sunlight as it arrives and leaves.



Tonight, Wednesday, March 30th, The New York Public Library kicks off their Upper East Side Story Oral History Project at the 67th St. Library, 328 E. 67th Street from 6-8pm.

Live music, free refreshments, be part of it, we're going to have fun. The Project's Director will interview me. I’m a street life kid, a city boy. Keeping the memory of alive of where I came from and sharing it with others who feel the same way is a strong tool for encouraging the preservation and protection of our neighborhood’s density and contextual zoning.

If you care about this issue, join the NYPL oral history project and tell your story about the old Upper East Side. We will conduct interviews through Labor Day. You are welcome to contact me at tommy.pryor@gmail.com if you have a long history (25 years or more) on the Upper East Side and would like to be interviewed for posterity and be part of the NYPL’s Upper East Side Story collection at the 42nd Street library.

Come and join the fun. Please rsvp below for tonight’s event.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Charlie's First Day & NYPL Upper East Side Oral History Project Kick Off!

This was a fine week, the kid started St. Stephen's and jumped right into the action.

This week, Wednesday, March 30th, The New York Public Library kicks off their Upper East Side Oral History Project at the 67th St. Library, 328 E. 67th Street from 6-8pm.

Live music, free refreshments, be part of it, see below, we're going to have fun. The project's Director will interview me about where I come from. Please rsvp below.

  • LISTEN to oral history highlights recorded so far!
  • SEE a LIVE oral history interview with Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts author Thomas Pryor.
  • ENJOY music from NY Mandolin Ensemble!
Refreshments will be served. We'll meet at 67th Street Library at 328 East 67th Street.
RSVP by clicking here. Questions? Please contact UpperEastSideStory@nypl.org

Upper East Side Story: Oral History Project Kick-Off Celebration!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 6 - 8 p.m.
PROGRAM LOCATIONS:
Fully accessible to wheelchairs
Free and open to the public!

JOIN US as we celebrate the launch of our historic neighborhood oral history project!

  • LISTEN to oral history highlights recorded so far!
  • SEE a LIVE oral history interview with Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts author Thomas Pryor.
  • ENJOY music from NY Mandolin Ensemble!
Refreshments will be served. We'll meet at 67th Street Library at 328 East 67th Street.
RSVP by clicking here. Questions? Please contact UpperEastSideStory@nypl.org

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happy Birthday, Uncle Mommy!

Uncle Mommy with Alison

Today would be Mom's 86th Birthday. 

I'm celebrating with a glass of milk and washing it down with a black & white cookie from Glaser's Bakery

Happy Birthday, Uncle Mommy! I never had a boring day with Mom in Yorkville.



Chug, Chug, Chug...


...was all I needed to hear. I’d run from any point in the apartment and jump on.Mom’s washing machine was my rocking bronco. Old and cranky, but it still ran. Burping, coughing, and passing gas, its mechanical parts in constant resistance against one another. The machine would lift itself from its usual corner by the old sink in our tiny kitchen beginning its Ouija board dance of death across the linoleum floor. Sick of having to plug it back in when it pulled itself out of the wall socket; Mom finally gave in adding a long extension cord. This cord was my passport to ride the wide open plain from sink to wall, from wall to door across the rolling kitchen floor.


Only one rule was in play. I couldn’t wear my sneakers when driving. Early rides found me firmly planting my sneakered feet on the papered walls to maximize liftoff. This left indelible marks resistant to all Borax cleaning products. Our compromise, I wore socks. So did Mom. We each wore a pair of Dad’s thick hunting socks. Me to cleanly push off as the stage coach perilously neared the wall. I redirected my pony express out of the sage brush back onto the dirt road.Mom’s socks allowed her to slide across the floor in a fluid polishing motion till she saw her house proud smile reflecting off the burnished linoleum.

The kitchen radio played “Our Day Will Come and We’ll Have Everything,” by Ruby and the Romantics, then Mom put Mario Lanza on Dad’s 1955 RCA Victrola record player. We’d sing on the top of our lungs locked in tune. The music, the bouncing machine and me, mom’s linoleum cleaning cha-cha, a chaotic orchestra playing for only us two, and Mario and we singing:


“Drink, Drink, Drink,
To eyes that are bright as stars when they’re shining on me.
Drink! Drink! Drink!
To lips that are red and sweet as the fruit on the tree!
Here's a hope that those bright eyes will shine
Lovingly, longingly soon into mine!
May those lips that are red and sweet,
Tonight with joy my own lips meet!
Drink! Drink! Drink! ”


We knew every word.

If you enjoy my work, check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." It's available at Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Avenue, or buy it online at AmazonBarnes and Noble or other booksellers. If you do read it, please leave a few honest words about the book on Amazon and B&N. 
Thank you!



Starting March 30th, I'm working with the New York Public Library's Neighborhood Oral History Project, "Upper East Side Story." If you lived on the East Side between 59th St. & 96th St. for 25 or more years (the longer the better) and you would like me to interview you about your history in the neighborhood, please email me at tommy.pryor@gmail.com. I'll email you back a document describing the project. It will be an easy conversation where I listen to you talk about where you came from. Your recollections will become part of the permanent record at NYPL, available for the public to hear.