Monday, December 5, 2016

Brooklyn By The Water ~ Coney Island Part One of Two

Having several water fronts in New York firms up the fact, life is good. I took seven hundred photos of Brooklyn by the water Sunday morning. Today, part one is Coney Island. Tomorrow, Coney Island, part two. Wednesday, Brooklyn By The Water, Part Three~ the Verrazano Bridge and Upper Bay from the 69th St Pier in Bay Ridge.


Anytime I'm at Coney Island, I hear the faint sound of a transistor radio near my ear. It's the Buckinghams singing "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."
I'm 13 again.

I'm talking out of school @ Word The Storytelling Show on December 14th @ 8pm, Terri Mintz throws a mean soiree. Hope you can be there, Sidewalk NYC, 6th St. & Ave A.






Ma! Top of the world!


miss biking in winter here





Saturday, November 26, 2016

Yorkville Hairdoo

Dad disapproved my hair-doo in 1972.

Dad's smiling somewhere over new doo and saying to himself, "Finally."

Odd, going for a haircut at 62, and still thinking about the dread of getting another friggin' crewcut, followed by relentless torment in my teens when I fought back about hair length. Almost got a crewcut to shut him up. But that meant death socially.

In the spirit of hair-doos here's a story from my memoir, "A Barber's Portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm," also published by Mr. Beller's Neighborhood.









Do you like old New York City photos and street life stories? Then check out my 1960s memoir,
"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."Available at Logos Book Store and online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The book has 121 Amazon five star reviews out of 121 total reviews posted. We're pitching a perfect game. My old world echoes TV's "The Wonder Years" ~ just add taverns, subways and Checker cabs.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Over The River And Through The Potatoes

Thanksgiving afternoon, 1961, Apt. 2 South, 1582 York Avenue.

Around one o’clock on the same day that Deborah spilled the beans about Santa and the Easter Bunny, Dad and I arrived at his family’s apartment for Thanksgiving dinner. Dad’s mom and his stepdad, John Rode (also called Nan and Pop, just like our other grandparents) always cooked our bird. Mom’s parents did the Easter lamb roast. At the kitchen table, Mom and Nan Rode were snapping the ends off a few pounds of string beans and throwing them into a spaghetti pot. Rory and Pop were in the living room watching Babes in Toyland, starring Laurel and Hardy. 

“Hi, all,” Dad said. “I thought we were eating at one?”

“The bird’s got a way to go – maybe another hour,” Nan said.

Mom gave Dad a silent “No way.”

Dad went over to the oven and opened the front.

“Jesus Christ, who are you feeding?”

“Shut your mouth,” Nan said.

“That prehistoric beast is the same size as Rory,” Dad said.

“Mind your business.”

“Did the tribe bring him down with a spear or a net?” Dad said.

Mom whispered to me, “Rory is smaller.”

“We’ll eat tomorrow,” Dad said.


“Another hour -- go inside and be useful,” Nan said, waving Dad away. “Get two folding chairs and bring me my bag. I forgot something and need you to go to the store.”

Dad eyed me up and down. He wanted to send me to the store but he thought I was getting sick. Resigned, he exhaled loudly, ensuring that everyone in the balcony knew he was leaving the stage.

I was glum after my encounter with Deborah, but being at Nan’s was cheering me up. Everything was big. She was big. Pop was big. The coffee cups were big. At her house, I could drink anything I wanted when I wanted.

Dad returned from the front room to the kitchen with Nan’s pocketbook. I could see his arm muscles working hard, lifting the heavy bag.

“Here you go. What do you need?” Dad said.

“Go down to Parker’s and get me a pound of butter.”

Dad walked to the fridge, opened the door and stuck his head in it. “You have a full pound.”

“I need six sticks for the mashed potatoes.”

“We’re six people! That’s a quarter pound of butter per person. Are you trying to stop our hearts with a single meal?”


“I’m making mashed potatoes for the week and it’s none of your business. Get the butter.”

“And the thirty-pound bird? I suppose that’s part of your long-term meal plan?”

“Don’t exaggerate. It’s twenty-six pounds.”

“Oh, only twenty-six pounds. Let’s see, at more than four pounds per person that should cover our meat provision on our Easter Island sea voyage.”

I was curious: Would Nan slap him or not? I was pulling for a slap. She seemed real close. Instead, she stared him down. He wisely took the money and went to the grocery store.

About an hour after his return he said to Nan, “I’m starving. How much longer?”

“I’ll take a look.”

I watched through the doorway. Nan opened the oven and took the turkey out, firmly hanging on to both pan handles. From behind, she looked like a Russian Olympic weightlifter. She placed the pan on the counter and checked the thermometer. Dad was right behind her.

“What does it say?” Dad said.

“135 degrees,” Nan said.

“Forget it, put it back in.”

“No, it’s done.”

“You’re nuts.”

“It’s fine. Look.”


Nan sliced into the meat. It was pink as a flower.

“Meat is supposed to be 175 degrees before you eat it,” Dad said. “That bird just stopped breathing.”

“That’s it, let’s go,” Nan said and moved the enormous pan toward the table. Dad met her halfway and began guiding her back toward the oven. They both had their hands on the pan’s small handles.

A turkey dance!

“Give it to me,” Dad said.

“Leave me alone,” Nan said. “Start mashing the potatoes.”

“Give it to me!”

He tugged. She tugged. The pan didn’t know what to do.

So it flipped over. The bird leaped to its death with all its natural juices, landing on Dad’s new dress shoes with the little pinholes all over the leather. Stunned, Nan and Dad stared down at the linoleum and the bird for a long time. Nan spoke first. 

“Ah shit, I’m lying down.” And she did.

She passed through the living room. I was frozen in the doorway and Pop had Rory on his lap. They watched like two largemouth bass. Then Mom joined Rory watching TV and Pop went to the kitchen and began to help Dad. They put the bird back in the pan with a couple of cups of water to replace the lost gravy. Then they put the pan back in the oven. Dad’s clothes were splattered with turkey juice, so Pop gave him one of his extra-large T-shirts. None of Pop’s pants fit Dad, so he gave Dad a pair of boxer shorts. Dad wore Pop’s boxers over his own boxers – all in all a nice picture with his dark socks and skinny legs. I saw Mom peek in and start to laugh.

Sometime much later, Pop announced, “OK, everything is ready.”

He went into the front room and brought Nan back. She returned to the kitchen and took over as if nothing had happened.

“Bob, carve the meat.”

Dad grabbed the knife and did as he was told. This relieved everyone. The table comfortably sat six people yet with the large amount of food on it, it was hard to see each other. Everyone was scary polite. Late in the meal, Dad looked at the bucket of mashed potatoes and said, “You know from this angle, I believe I can see a couple of goats circling the top of Potato Mountain.”

We all laughed except Nan. But she didn’t hit him. The storm passed and Rory and I started looking forward to our favorite Thanksgiving ritual – Pop watching. He was a gentle bear and never yelled at us. After the meal, he drank two short glasses of Ballantine Ale, wiped his mouth carefully with his linen napkin, and said, “Thank you, and excuse me.”

He lifted himself from the table, and walked from his kitchen chair to his living room chair. Once Rory and I heard “Swoosh,” Pop’s bottom sinking into the plastic, we started counting backward, “10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1…”

We peeked into the living room. Pop was asleep. Rory and I stared at him.

Then a cartoon came on about two poor kids who go to bed with nothing to eat. They dream, people come and bring them goodies, and music starts to play. Rory and I stood behind Pop’s chair on each side of his head and sang quietly into his ears along with the cartoon song:

Meet me tonight in dreamland, under the silvery moon.
Meet me tonight in dreamland, where love’s sweet roses bloom.
Come with the love light gleaming, in your dear eyes of blue.
Meet me in dreamland, sweet dreamy dreamland,
There let my dreams come true.

Our singing didn’t wake him. Pop had a stretched-out snore with three different sounds. And Nan had a toy piano with eight color-coded keys. You could play a full octave of tones. The piano came with a color-coded music book with classics like “Pop Goes the Weasel,” “Roll Out the Barrel,” and “This Old Man.” Rory was pretty good on the thing – he played “Jingle Bells” with ease – and soon he went over to it. In between Pop’s snores he’d hit a key. He played around a bit until he located a couple of notes that harmonized with Pop’s snoring. Not wanting to be left out, and not having Rory’s natural musical talent, I improvised. Nan’s toilet door made a creaking sound, so I opened it a smidge to see if I could somehow join the band. I found a funky “eek” noise and added it to the mix. Leaning over, looking back into the living room, I could see Rory. Once we made eye contact, it was easy to find our rhythm. We riffed, “Snore, piano key, eek; snore, piano key, eek.”



“Our song had a hook,” as Dad liked to say. Mom, who had moved into the kitchen, threw a sponge at my head. I ducked. The band played on. Sponge two was in the air. I avoided it by doing the cha-cha.

“I will kill you both,” she said. “Keep it up, I’ll kill you both.”

Noticing Mom had run out of sponges, and the next airborne item could be a spoon or fork, Rory and I left the airwaves. Dad moved to the sink area to join Mom. I sat on the washing machine right next to them. Mom picked up a dish and started scrubbing. Dad squeezed too much dish soap into the water, and then started playing with the faucet’s screws.

“Let’s get this over with,” Mom said. “You’re moping.”

“Not true, the secret is a long hot soak,” Dad said. “Then the grease slides itself off.” He continued to play with the faucet.

“The secret is you’re full of shit and have a bony ass,” Mom said.



Do you like old New York City photos and street life stories? Then check out my 1960s memoir,
"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."Available at Logos Book Store and online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The book has 121 Amazon five star reviews out of 121 total reviews posted. We're pitching a perfect game. My old world echoes TV's "The Wonder Years" ~ just add taverns, subways and Checker cabs.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Girl Who Killed Santa

Thanksgiving morning, 1961. Mom woke me quietly and whispered, “Rory is sick. If you wake him up before you leave, you’re not going either.” 

I nodded my head yes. I felt bad that my brother wouldn’t see the parade, but I was happy to go with Dad alone. It was much easier having a good time with Dad when it was just the two of us. This was my first Macy’s parade and I didn’t want one of Dad’s bad moods blowing it.

At nine o’clock, we slipped out the door. We met Dad’s friend Richie Kovarik and his daughter, Deborah, inside Loftus Tavern a few blocks away. The four of us were going together. Richie was talking to Jack, the bar’s owner, over coffee. Deborah sat on a barstool sipping a Coke and sucking a cube of ice with the hole in the middle. She was a year older than I was, stuck up, and knew everything. I hated her guts.
Boy Tormentor


Richie greeted us. “Hi, Bob. Where’s Rory?”
“He’s sick. We’ll catch up later at my mother’s for dinner. Hi, Deborah, you look so pretty and grown up.”
With a wide phony smile she said, “Thank you, Mr. Pryor.”
I almost vomited.
Saying goodbye to Jack, we went out the bar’s side door, smack into a vicious cold wind. A Checker cab was just turning off York Avenue heading west on 85th Street.
“Cabby,” Dad yelled and we piled in.

Despite plenty of room to sit alongside our fathers, Deborah and I naturally sat on the round pull-up seats that faced them. That’s because for adults a Checker cab was transportation, but for kids it was an amusement ride and the bouncy pull-up seats were why. It was better than most rides, in fact, because there was nothing to strap you in. Deborah and I didn’t acknowledge each other. The cab made it nonstop from York Avenue to Fifth Avenue through a swirl of green and yellow lights. My head slapped the roof several times. The driver impressed me. Crossing Fifth Avenue, we dove into the Transverse through Central Park.

“You’re in second grade, right?” Deborah asked.
“Yes.”
“I’m in third grade,” she said, pleased as punch.
She knew what grade I was in. She continued talking while looking out her window. I tried ignoring her.
“What are you getting for Christmas?” she asked.

That was a dirty trick. It’s nearly impossible for a kid to stay silent when this subject comes up.

“Things,” I said.
“I’m getting a bike and an Erector set.”
“That’s nice,” I said.
“What did you ask for?” Deborah pressed on.
“I’m still deciding. I have a list.”
“What’s on the list?”
“Lots of stuff.”
“Oh, come on, name a few things.”
“That’s between me and Santa.”
“WHAT?” she said.
“It’s between me and Santa.”
“Well, good luck, dummy, because there ain’t no Santa.”

"Huh?"


Despite my lingering hope, I worried it was true. I wanted her dead. I tried to recover.

“I know there’s no Santa, stupid.”
“No you didn’t, but you do now.” Her eyebrows arched up and down.
“I play along for my brother. It makes him feel good. He’s just a kid.”
“Still believe in the Easter Bunny?” she said.
“Oh crap, him too?” I thought, then said, “No, of course not.”
I never realized until that moment how much detail there was on the stone blocks lining the underpasses through Central Park. The road was twisted and bumpy. My forehead banged repeatedly against the window’s glass. It felt good. It took my mind off the other pain. Silently staring out, I saw the glitter of the granite and the chiseled cuts where they sliced the stone to make the blocks. I imagined Deborah’s head being dragged across that rock as we drove back and forth through the park. Kaput!

“Johnny, leave us off on the near corner of 86th Street and Central Park West.” Dad’s voice broke my dream of vengeance.

The driver aimed for the curb. The air was frigid. I barely noticed. Normally, I would’ve run ahead toward the action, but my heart remained behind on the cab’s pull-up seat. I took Dad’s hand, even though I didn’t feel like a little boy anymore. We walked south to 77th Street in formation. Dad squeezed my hand. I weakly squeezed back.


“I don’t think we’re staying too long,” Dad said to Richie. “I think Tommy’s got something, too.”

We stood inside the park’s wall on the rocks. This allowed us to see the parade over the sidewalk crowd. Only because Dad announced the balloon names as they passed by, do I remember they included Underdog, Popeye, and Bullwinkle J. Moose from Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.

Part three of three tomorrow…



Do you like old New York City photos and street life stories? Then check out my 1960s memoir,"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."Available at Logos Book Store and online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The book has 121 Amazon five star reviews out of 121 total reviews posted. We're pitching a perfect game. My old world echoes TV's "The Wonder Years" ~ just add taverns, subways and Checker cabs.



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sister Lorraine Gave My Turkey a B -


It was Wednesday afternoon, the day before Thanksgiving 1961 in St. Stephen of Hungary’s second grade.

“Children, the Pilgrims had a bountiful crop their first year in the American colony. They arranged a peace treaty with the Indians. They celebrated together, and feasted on geese, deer, corn, and oysters.”

“Yuck,” said a few kids at the mention of oysters.

Sister Lorraine threw a look around the room then said, “… and President Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863.”

She cleared her throat, “Let’s move on. Everyone take out the hats, bonnets and headdresses we’ve been working on. Pilgrims, go over to the windows… Indians, stay on the closet side. Think about your lines, everybody.”

While the kids got into place, I put on my Indian headdress and snuck over to the teacher’s desk. It was the only one with a cartridge pen. Second graders worked in pencil. Sister Lorraine, distracted by the two herds moving to her left and right, missed my pre-show make-up application. I had no mirror to work with so I figured out two spots and wiped an inky finger across each cheek twice. Sister Lorraine gave us a short history lesson while she passed back our art assignments. My turkey got a B minus. I ran out of brown crayon and finished his stomach off with green and red. Eventually she saw me upfront.

“Thomas, what are you doing?”

“Huh?”
“What are you doing?” Sister Lorraine repeated.
“Putting on stripes.” I said, standing in front of her desk working the ink off my fingers onto a piece of loose leaf.
“Why, God Almighty are you putting on stripes?”
“I’m an Indian. If I’m an Indian, I’ll need war paint. It’ll look good, promise.”
“Do you ever listen to me?”
“Yes, Sister.”
“Didn’t I just say the Pilgrims and Natives declared a peace treaty?”
“Was she nuts?” I thought.
“You’d trust an Injun? I watch a lot of movies. Believe me; Sister, peace treaties are broken all the time.”
“This will be a calm re-enactment of a peaceful gathering. Thomas, the war paint is not necessary.”
“There might be trouble.” I said.
“You have one minute, mister. One minute, that’s it. Go to the bathroom and wash the ink off your hands and face. And don’t touch your shirt again. Your mother is going to kill you.”

Disgusted, I ran off.
“Don’t run,” she said.
“Make up your mind,” I mumbled.



I learned a valuable lesson that day. Cartridge pen ink doesn’t wash off well with cheap school soap. The nun sent two boys to get me. My head was buried in the sink.

“Sister told us, ‘Get him back in here if you have to drag him by his feet,’”  Joey Skrapits said to the back of my head. “She’s not happy. What’s up?” Leslie Henits added. I turned around and showed them. I held my hands out. They were beginning to look white; my face, however, had an even blue tan. It seemed the washing, rather than taking the ink off, just moved it around.

“I can’t get it off,” I said.
“Holy crap, forget your face, look at your shirt. Joey said. It’s a gunshot wound.”
I looked down and moaned.
“You’re going to need Lava Soap to get that off. Come on, dry up and let’s go.” Leslie said. 

As I crept through the classroom door, the entire class laughed their heads off. I tried to bury myself in the middle of the Indian tribe. I thought of opening one of the coat closets and spending a little time in there. My first stage appearance as Injun Joe was ruined. The only good part was: Sister Lorraine was laughing too. I was more afraid about her being angry than me being embarrassed. Once I saw her laughing, I calmed down. I almost forgot that my mother was going to murder me.

We did our little Pilgrim and Indian “everyone be thankful” speeches, and then we started singing, “Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go…” I stared at the clock over the alphabet cards lining the top of the blackboard. The clock said, One minute to three.

Pop! My Mom’s incredibly angry face flashed over the clock’s face.

When I got home, Mom pounced. “What the hell did you do?”
“Nothing.”
“What happened to your shirt?”

Then she saw my face and her voice went up an octave. 

“What the hell did you do to your face!”
“Two sixth graders started a fight in the schoolyard at lunchtime. I was leaning against a car right next to them. One of them had a box of pen cartridges in his shirt pocket. They were wrestling, two of the cartridges were crushed - and the ink flew all over. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt, but the ink got me in a few places.”
“A few places?” Mom said.
“Are you sure you weren’t refereeing the fight?
“No, Mom…no, no, no, I was doing nothing. Just standing there.”
“Where? In the ink factory when it exploded?”
“Take the shirt off and throw it away. Then come over here by the sink.”
Mom knew second graders weren’t allowed near ink.
“Thank you, God,” I whispered.

At the sink, Mom put Boraxo scrubbing powder on a washcloth and began making little circles on my face.

“Ouch” I said pulling away. “My face is being ground with sand.”
“Well, what else can we use to get this ink off? Stop fidgeting and stay still. If you let me work, it’ll be over one, two, three.”
“Big fat liar,” I thought.

Once clean, my face was a deeply embarrassed rosy red.

My brother, Rory, mocked me, “ha, ha!”

I gave him a knuckle when Mom wasn’t looking – a slight tap. He had a fever, so I held back a bit. I felt bad for him. On the verge of getting sick, there was no way Mom was letting him go with Dad and me to the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in the morning.

Part two of three tomorrow…



Do you like old New York City photos and street life stories? Then check out my 1960s memoir,"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."Available at Logos Book Store and online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The book has 121 Amazon five star reviews out of 121 total reviews posted. We're pitching a perfect game. My old world echoes TV's "The Wonder Years" ~ just add taverns, subways and Checker cabs.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pumping Up!

Rory & I are pumping up for Ryans Daughter tonight @ 7pm for Thomas Pryor's "City Boy"




"City Boy" my solo show,
This Saturday, November 19 @7pm
Ryan's Daughter.
Come on down to 350 E. 85th Street.
FREE SHOW
Thomas Pryor's "City Boy" is a love letter to street life in the 1960s working class Manhattan neighborhood, Yorkville. Devil Dogs were a nickel, Spaldeens flew, and the capture game, Ringalario, let boys put their arms around girls for the first time. Nuns slugged you for humming baseball’s beer jingles in class. And, like other fathers, Tommy’s took him to saloons, all day, and no one thought it was strange. In this funny and bittersweet portrait of family and life, Pryor echoes TV’s “The Wonder Years” - just add in taverns, subways and Checker cabs.



Thomas Pryor's work has appeared in The New York Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and other periodicals. His memoir, “I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood,” was published in 2014 (YBK). His short stories are found in Thomas Beller's, "Lost and Found: Stories from New York," Three Rooms Press, “Have A NYC 2,” and Larry Canale's, "Mickey Mantle - Memories and Memorabilia." Pryor’s blog: "Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts," was chosen by The New York Times for their Blog Roll in 2008. Thomas appeared on PBS's "Baseball: A New York Love Story," NBC’s "New York Nonstop,” “This American Life,” and TV’s “Impractical Jokers.” His newspaper column ran in Our Town and The West Side Spirit and his weekly radio show was featured on the Centanni Broadcasting Network. For five years, Thomas curated a monthly storytelling show, “City Stories: Stoops to Nuts,” at the Cornelia Street Café that Time Out Magazine, The New York Daily News and CBS News praised. His photography portfolio, "River to River - New York Scenes From a Bicycle," was published in 2012 (YBK). Cornelia Street Cafe hosted an exhibition of his photography. NBC TV, New York Press/Our Town Downtown and NY 1 TV highly recommended the exhibit and his portfolio. His passion is preserving the history of Yorkville and the Upper East Side through storytelling, writing and photography. His multi-media show about the neighborhood, “City Boy” in preview tonight. You can view and purchase his New York City prints online at Thomas R. Pryor Photography.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pot Belly Rory Wins Contest!

Rory wins race!
At the lake in summer of 61, Rory snuck many cans of Hoffman soda out of the giant Coca Cola cooler, and bet me he could drink more soda than me in fifteen minutes. Rory won.

Seeing my brother's belly, Uncle Mickey shouted, "let's use Rory as a float." Mom swung, Mickey ducked safely and all Mom did was muss up his carefully groomed hair. His comb flew out like a switch blade in a knife fight.
Uncle Mommy
Wise Guy Mickey

"City Boy" my solo show,
This Saturday, November 19 @7pm
Ryan's Daughter.
Come on down to 350 E. 85th Street.
FREE SHOW
Thomas Pryor's "City Boy" is a love letter to street life in the 1960s working class Manhattan neighborhood, Yorkville. Devil Dogs were a nickel, Spaldeens flew, and the capture game, Ringalario, let boys put their arms around girls for the first time. Nuns slugged you for humming baseball’s beer jingles in class. And, like other fathers, Tommy’s took him to saloons, all day, and no one thought it was strange. In this funny and bittersweet portrait of family and life, Pryor echoes TV’s “The Wonder Years” - just add in taverns, subways and Checker cabs.



Thomas Pryor's work has appeared in The New York Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and other periodicals. His memoir, “I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood,” was published in 2014 (YBK). His short stories are found in Thomas Beller's, "Lost and Found: Stories from New York," Three Rooms Press, “Have A NYC 2,” and Larry Canale's, "Mickey Mantle - Memories and Memorabilia." Pryor’s blog: "Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts," was chosen by The New York Times for their Blog Roll in 2008. Thomas appeared on PBS's "Baseball: A New York Love Story," NBC’s "New York Nonstop,” “This American Life,” and TV’s “Impractical Jokers.” His newspaper column ran in Our Town and The West Side Spirit and his weekly radio show was featured on the Centanni Broadcasting Network. For five years, Thomas curated a monthly storytelling show, “City Stories: Stoops to Nuts,” at the Cornelia Street Café that Time Out Magazine, The New York Daily News and CBS News praised. His photography portfolio, "River to River - New York Scenes From a Bicycle," was published in 2012 (YBK). Cornelia Street Cafe hosted an exhibition of his photography. NBC TV, New York Press/Our Town Downtown and NY 1 TV highly recommended the exhibit and his portfolio. His passion is preserving the history of Yorkville and the Upper East Side through storytelling, writing and photography. His multi-media show about the neighborhood, “City Boy” in preview tonight. You can view and purchase his New York City prints online at Thomas R. Pryor Photography.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

As a young boy, the two ram reliefs on top of the front wall of 427 E. 84 St. always caught my attention in late afternoon on a sunny day. My father told me the guy who owned the building was a ringmaster in the circus and the rams were his pets, Joe and Shmoe. Thereafter, I kept looking for the owner on the stoop in his Claude Kirchner outfit or at least catch a glance of his sidekick, Clownee.


"City Boy" my solo show,
This Saturday, November 19 @7pm
@ Ryan's Daughter.
Come on down to 350 E. 85th Street.
FREE SHOW









Thomas Pryor's "City Boy" is a love letter to street life in the 1960s working class Manhattan neighborhood, Yorkville. Devil Dogs were a nickel, Spaldeens flew, and the capture game, Ringalario, let boys put their arms around girls for the first time. Nuns slugged you for humming baseball’s beer jingles in class. And, like other fathers, Tommy’s took him to saloons, all day, and no one thought it was strange. In this funny and bittersweet portrait of family and life, Pryor echoes TV’s “The Wonder Years” - just add in taverns, subways and Checker cabs.



Thomas Pryor's work has appeared in The New York Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and other periodicals. His memoir, “I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood,” was published in 2014 (YBK). His short stories are found in Thomas Beller's, "Lost and Found: Stories from New York," Three Rooms Press, “Have A NYC 2,” and Larry Canale's, "Mickey Mantle - Memories and Memorabilia." Pryor’s blog: "Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts," was chosen by The New York Times for their Blog Roll in 2008. Thomas appeared on PBS's "Baseball: A New York Love Story," NBC’s "New York Nonstop,” “This American Life,” and TV’s “Impractical Jokers.” His newspaper column ran in Our Town and The West Side Spirit and his weekly radio show was featured on the Centanni Broadcasting Network. For five years, Thomas curated a monthly storytelling show, “City Stories: Stoops to Nuts,” at the Cornelia Street Café that Time Out Magazine, The New York Daily News and CBS News praised. His photography portfolio, "River to River - New York Scenes From a Bicycle," was published in 2012 (YBK). Cornelia Street Cafe hosted an exhibition of his photography. NBC TV, New York Press/Our Town Downtown and NY 1 TV highly recommended the exhibit and his portfolio. His passion is preserving the history of Yorkville and the Upper East Side through storytelling, writing and photography. His multi-media show about the neighborhood, “City Boy” previews tonight. You can view and purchase his New York City prints online at Thomas R. Pryor Photography.