Monday, June 20, 2016

And When You Wake Up, It's A New Morning


Tommy & Rory on subway platform going to Freedomland @ 1962

Rory loved adventures. He joined Freddy Muller and me on one in 1966. Not sure who first discovered it, but starting at 70th Street near the FDR drive down by the East River, you could enter the New York Hospital complex down a flight of stairs into a sub-basement that had a series of walking tunnels that led through many areas of the hospital. The hair on the back of our necks stood up when we passed through the pathology area where every conceivable human body part was floating in liquid in huge glass jars. At first we went down the eerie tunnels because we could, but eventually found they led to the sub-basement of Olin Hall at 69th Street and York Avenue where we found a regulation size wood floor basketball court. This made Freddy and I very happy and Rory indifferent. Rory liked getting spooked and had no interest in sports.

Next time Freddy and I brought a basketball and Rory wandered around until it was time to leave or we got chased by doctors playing a pick-up game. Eventually, the whole neighborhood found out the secret of the buried court. That blew it for everyone, security started keeping an eye out for us. Looking back, this was the best time of our lives together.

Rory Pryor @ 21 years old
Rory's Mom & Baby Ellie for Uncle Mommy's  Bday

Rory was born 60 years ago today, and died at 42. He was a fine artist but left little of his art behind because he gave it away to his friends. The three pieces shown here are Rory's. Happy Birthday, Brother.

Here's lyrics from one of Rory's favorite songs, "Baker Street," by Jerry Rafferty.

And when you wake up, it's a new morning
The sun is shining, it's a new morning
You're going, You're going home.


Harold and Maude plant a tree for Rory

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD5fMMXwZs8&feature=related



My passion for New York City and it's neighborhoods developed a long time ago, when Dad and Mom dragged us all over town walking, biking, subways, boats and buses.

We had no car so we never got anywhere quickly. This left a lot of time to think about what we were seeing and where we were going, and view things more slowly than if you flew by in a Buick. As a kid you tend to pick something visual to focus on to avoid boredom and my brother, Rory, and I had lots of targets.

Add Dad's obsessive photo taking, and I ended up with a broad pictorial record of most of our trips around the city in the 1960s. In most of these photographs, Rory is front and center, the lead player in the scene.

Looking at these photos, Rory's engaged photogenic face always makes me think we had a better time than we really did. I never mind this delusion.


Rory Pryor at lake 1962

Rory at Central Park, nice hat!


Rory Full Moon Collage with birds


Rory's Chalk Orchestra


Rory with his girls at Queen of Angels 8th grade grad in Sunnyside @1970


Rory sipping milk in 1st grade St. Stephen's Nov 1962

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I Could've Died Right Then and There ~ Jints ~ Yankee Stadium 1970


Ron Johnson scores winning TD vs. Skins Nov 1970
Best live "Old Yankee Stadium, we were there," sports days ever with Dad.

New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins 35-33 ~ Nov 1970 ~ Jints came back from 19 points down with a quarter to go. Tucker Fredrickson's best game as a pro. Ron Johnson scored winning sweep right in front of Dad & me seating behind Yankee dugout. The Stadium rocked like it was a Rolling Stones concert. Dad and I hugged as if we were going out. The concrete below our feet was going up and down, up and down.  I didn’t care if the Stadium fell in on us. I could’ve died right then and there.

Dad’s gone fourteen years, when Dallas loses, I feel his smile. When the Giants win, I feel Dad’s hug and kiss.

At one point, (maybe they still do) the New York Daily News Sports Department sold prints of photos to the public. In the early 1980s I went down to their 42nd Street building with old dates in mind. Special Mickey Mantle days and terrific Giant victories. The photos in the papers from those special days were tattooed to my brain. I asked for the 1964, 1967 and 1970 files. 

I found Mickey Mantle’s 500 homer, Mantle’s homer off Barney Schultz breaking Ruth’s Series record. Tarkenton rolling out in a win against the Cowboys, Bob Tucker in same game and the crown jewel, Ron Johnson scoring on the sweep against the Skins in 1970. Doug Van Horn, Willie Young, Willie Harper and Don Hermann blocking efficiently on the play.

While I was looking through the photos I received a bonus.  A guy came into the empty side room where I was looking through the photos.  He leaned over me and asked, “What cha doing?”

It was Bill Gallo the News sports cartoonist.  He sat with me for a half hour shooting the breeze, getting a kick out of my intensity and knowledge of his old hero & goat photos from past World Series. Bill was very nice to me. The 6 photos I bought cost me $95. It was a good day.


Yankee Stadium 1962

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ryan's Daughter Rocks In Story & Song

Joe
Where's Poppa? ~ Thomas Pryor's Stoops to Nuts Father's Day Show... 

Thank you, Colin Dempsey, Joe Dettmore, Nicole Ferraro, Tim & Una McGillicuddy for your wonderful songs & stories last night at Ryans Daughter. Thank you to a knockout audience who rooted us on. Walter, you are the best host on earth, thank you, Buddy, and thank you, Jim & Mick, for letting us play in your home. The spirit of the neighborhood takes up steady residence inside Ryan's Daughter and we are all lucky for that. hugs, Tommy



Colin

Wednesday


Tim

Una

Happy Couple

The Man That Makes It Happen

My Agent, Milo, on the carpet
If you like my work check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." Available at Logos Book Store or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The book has 119 Amazon five star reviews out of 119 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, June 16, 2016

Celebrating Fathers Tomorrow @ Ryan's Daughter @ 7-10pm ~ FREE SHOW

Dad & Tommy on way to Bear Mountain @1963
Quick nudge, pardon me please...

"Where's Poppa?" ~ Thomas Pryor's Stoops to Nuts Father's Day Show ~ TOMORROW NIGHT, Friday, June 17, 2016. @ 7-10 pm upstairs at Ryan's Daughter

S2N artists: with Colin Dempsey, Joe Dettmore, Nicole Ferraro, Tim McGillicuddy & Una  McGillicuddy.

Thomas Pryor's your host, it's a cuckoo crazy nuts FREE S2N event. Bring your Pa, Da and all your  recollections of Poppa. I'll be doing Yorkville stories about Daddy O'Pryor from scenes in my  upcoming solo play, "City Boy" (Feb 2017.) 


Doing these shows at Ryan's Daughter (Thank you, Jim, Mick & Walter!) we hope to preserve our neighborhood's character  and texture through word and song and raise the alert on our diminishing street light and vanishing stoops.



Colin Dempsey is an Irish singer-songwriter, writer and storyteller based in New York. He is also the singer and guitarist for Indie-Rock duo Supersmall. Their debut album Silent Moon was recently released to positive reviews and is available everywhere. Colin is also part of the Heavy Mental Neuroscience folk rock duo So We Are. Rosanne Cash described “So We Are” as a kind of “post-modern Everly Brothers.” Colin has performed on NPR, SiriusXM Radio, Dublin City FM, and various east coast radio stations. He performs every first Monday of the month at The Four Faced Liar in the west village as a regular on the NYSolo6 songwriter series.

Joe Dettmore is the Creative Director of The Daily Show for the past 11 years. Mr. Dettmore sung "California Girls" with The Losers Lounge at Joe's Pub. He also acts, performs improvisation and is a wicked storyteller. On the side he makes professional quality stain glass windows.

Nicole Ferraro is a writer, editor, and storyteller living in NYC. Her personal essays have been published in The New York Times, Story Collider Magazine, The Frisky, Mr. Beller's Neighborhood, and elsewhere. Nicole is also the cohost of New York Story Exchange, a monthly storytelling series at Cornelia Street Cafe. Her first solo show WHY SO MUCH SHAME? debuted at the 2016 FRIGID Festival to rave reviews. By day she works as the editor in chief of Netted, a publication by The Webby Awards. t: @NicoleFerraro e: ntd.ferraro@gmail-dot-com

Tim McGillicuddy is a poet and playwright born and raised in Yorkville. He has four books of poetry Tomorrow Never Comes, Saratoga Here I Come, A Music Box and In the Soil’s Reach,(Shires Press, Manchester, VT) and has had individual poems published in literary journals here and there. His comedy The Irish Play was produced at the Irish Arts Center in New York City in 2007 by Theodore Mann of Circle in the Square Theatre, and later in Burlington, Vermont as part of the Irish Arts Festival. A play for children, The Sparrow with a Clipped Wing, was first produced in Burlington and later in New York at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He currently resides with his family in New York City and is in the process of having a book published about the messy business of construction.

Una McGillicuddy hails from Dublin's Fair City, where she grew up on a rich diet of songs,stories and live theater. While there, she performed in both the Dublin and Edinburgh Theater Festivals, playing roles from Stoppard to Shakespeare. Since coming to the States in '85, she has been acting, telling stories and singing songs to all who have an ear for them ... not least to her 7th grade students of American history! 

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). 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. For five years, Thomas curated a monthly storytelling show, “City Stories: Stoops to Nuts,” at the Cornelia Street CafĂ© 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 play about the neighborhood, “City Boy” will preview in February 2017. 

I'm raffling off something good. I swear on Daddy O'Pryor's grave. 

Tommy courtesy of David Stewart


If you like my work check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." Available at Logos Book Store or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The book has 119 Amazon five star reviews out of 119 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, June 14, 2016

At The Polo Grounds

"Where's Poppa?" ~ Thomas Pryor's Stoops to Nuts Father's Day Show 

Friday, June 17, 2016. @ 7-10 pm upstairs at Ryan's Daughter

S2N artists: with Colin Dempsey, Joe Dettmore, Nicole Ferraro, Tim McGillicuddy & Una McGillicuddy.


Thomas Pryor's your host, it's a cuckoo crazy nuts FREE S2N event. Bring your Pa, Da and all your recollections of Poppa. I'll be doing Yorkville stories about Daddy O'Pryor from scenes in my upcoming solo play, "City Boy" (Feb 2017.) We work to preserve our neighborhood's character and texture through word and song and raise the alert on our diminishing street light and vanishing stoops.


Loftus Tavern 1962

"Hey Dad, who were you just talking to down at the end of the bar?"

"Oh, that's Al Dorow, the quarterback for the New York Titans."

It was fall 1961, Dad and I were in Loftus Tavern after throwing the ball around outside on York Avenue. My two teams, the New York Giants, football, and the Yankees, baseball, were playing well, the Yankees won the World Series in October and the Giants were on their way to the NFL championship game. The Titans, in their second year in the new American Football League, were barely catching my attention at 7 years old. But Al Dorow was a professional football player, and he did talk to my Dad, so that made him important in my life.

"Dad, will you take me to a Titan game?"

The next Saturday, Dad took me to the Polo Grounds where we saw the Titans beat the Oakland Raiders. That was my first time at the Polo Grounds, the Natural History Museum of ballparks compared to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yankee Stadium. Even at 7, I recognized I was in a place like no other, and it was going to go away forever, you could see it, smell it, hear it, feel it. Being small, only emphasized how outsized the space was, first time I saw a picture of St. Peter's Basilica I thought of the Polo Grounds.


The next year, 1962, was the Mets first year. I punished my father for not taking me to New York Giants football games, so he made it up to me by taking me to many, many baseball games. When the Yankees were out of town it was only natural that he would take me up to the Polo Grounds for a Met game and he picked a beaut for our first outing.

Friday night, June 1, 1962, the New York Mets versus the San Francisco Giants. The first New York appearance by the Giants since they ran away from home with the Brooklyn Dodgers after the 1957 season. Even though there were nearly 45,000 people there, Dad found us two seats high up in the grandstands right behind home plate in Section 1. The crowd's energy felt like they just left Circus Maximus, saw too few Christians die and wanted blood, now!


Dad did a score card in pencil, and I remember getting excited about three names, Paul Pryor, the third base umpire had the same last name as mine; Augie Donatelli, the head umpire behind the plate had the greatest sounding umpire's name I ever heard; and Willie Mays, in my mind Mickey Mantle's arch rival, was starting in centerfield for the Giants.

By the time the game started, there were two ejections in the section next to us. By the third inning, Dad threatened the guy behind us, "If one more drop of beer touches my kid's head, you and I have a problem." The guy said nothing. I stayed dry. In the top of the fifth, Willie Mays hit a homer, the only homer I would ever see Willie hit live. The homer triggered fights on top of us, below us and to each of our sides. I spent the sixth inning under my father's seat watching the game from between his legs. Dad pressed me to leave and I agreed when the Giants went up 9-1 in the top of the 7th inning.

I held Dad's hand walking to the subway. I knew he liked that.


This story appeared first in Mr. Beller's Neighborhood


If you like my work check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." Available at Logos Book Store or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The book has 118 Amazon five star reviews out of 118 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.



Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hanging Out On The Stoop

Charlie on 511 E. 84th Street stoop
Hey Charlie!
Do Your Ears Hang Low?
Do They Wobble to and Fro?
Can You Tie Them in a Knot?
Can You Tie Them in a Bow?
Can You Throw Them Over Your Shoulder Like a Continental Soldier?


"Where's Poppa?" ~ Thomas Pryor's Stoops to Nuts Father's Day Show

Friday, June 17, 2016. @ 7-10pm upstairs at Ryan's Daughter

S2N artists: Colin Dempsey, Joe Dettmore, Nicole Ferraro, Tim McGillicuddy & Una McGillicuddy. 

Thomas Pryor's your host, it's a cuckoo crazy nuts FREE S2N event. Bring your Pa, Da and all your recollections of Poppa. I'll be doing Yorkville stories about Daddy O'Pryor from scenes in my upcoming solo play, "City Boy" (Feb 2017.) We work to preserve our neighborhood's character and texture through word and song and raise the alert on our diminishing street light and vanishing stoops.

Charlie on 511 E. 84th Street stoop

Charlie on 511 E. 84th Street stoop

Charlie on 511 E. 84th Street stoop

511 East 84th Street stoop here ~ my family almost bought this building in the early 1950s. My great grandparents lived in an apt on the first floor. Either my uncle or my father backed out, they were each going to take one of the floors. My father with my great-grandmother Rode in this photo in 1946.







If you like my work check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." Available at Logos Book Store or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

The book has 118 Amazon five star reviews out of 118 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.


as a boy on 83rd Street, I'd walk around the corner to the 500 block of 84th Street and make believe I had my own bedroom in one of the beautiful townhouses on that block instead of the top of the bunk bed I split with Rory and half a toy chest in our broom closet sized bedroom.

In winter I complained it was hot, Rory complained it was cold, the heat from the standing steam pipe rose up in our tiny room with the useless air shaft window. Then I met the Freehills on EEA, heard about their Archie Bell & The Drells "Tighten Up" sleeping spaces. I stopped complaining.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Two Guys Talking On The Corner



"Where's Poppa?" ~ Thomas Pryor's Stoops to Nuts Father's Day Show 

Friday, June 17, 2016. @ 7-10pm upstairs at Ryan's Daughter

S2N artists: Colin Dempsey, Joe Dettmore, Nicole Ferraro, Tim McGillicuddy & Una McGillicuddy. 
Thomas Pryor's your host, it's a cuckoo crazy nuts FREE S2N event. Bring your Pa, Da and all your recollections of Poppa. I'll be doing Yorkville stories about Daddy O'Pryor from scenes in my upcoming solo play, "City Boy" (Feb 2017.) We work to preserve our neighborhood's character and texture through word and song and raise the alert on our diminishing street light and vanishing stoops.
I wrote this story for Daddy O'Pryor.  Thank you, Mr. Beller's Neighborhood for publishing it.



Two Guys Talking On The Corner

Dad and I did four things together: play sports, attend sports, watch TV, and go to the movies. I liked movies the best; it’s much harder telling a kid what to do in the dark. You would have loved taking me to the movies when I was 6 years old. I was a cheap date, one box of Pom Poms caramels and a dime soda kept me blissful through the whole film and I shut up. Didn’t want to miss anything.

It was the fall of 1960, which I remember for three reasons.
Dad's sketch


I had just started first grade, the Yankees had lost to the Pirates in the World Series, and Dad was rooting for Nixon against Kennedy to spite my Irish grandfather. I still believed my father was infallible. He never had to use this line on me — “Are you gonna believe what you see or what I tell you?” He accomplished his goals without direct engagement. Looking back, I suspect he periodically forgot I was his son and thought I was the most intelligent dog in the
Xmas on 83rd Street, 1958.
world. But this day would be different.

Dad’s charm was in full swing as he pulled me along up 86th Street. I kept my eye out for friends. The last thing I needed were the guys giving me the business, “Daddy still holds ya hand, Tommy the baby!” Resistance was futile, so I decided to keep tight to Dad’s side so it looked like we were just walking very close together.

“So, what do you want to see?” Dad stopped at the corner of Third Avenue, moved the cigarette out of his mouth and looked down at me. “The Mouse that Roared, a very funny comedy, or that other film up there, The Time Machine?”

Up ahead of us on the north side of 86th Street were two movie houses, the Loew’s Orpheum and the gigantic RKO.
Pryors on 83 St & York Avenue, 1957.


“What are they about?”

“Well… The Mouse That Roared is about a tiny little country that declares war on the United States. The star of the film, Peter Sellers, is a famous English comedian. You’ll love him.”

I just stared at Dad hoping he’d move on. I didn’t like war. Finally he said, “The Time Machine is a science fiction movie I don’t know much about.”

“What do you know?”

“It’s about time travel.”

“I want to see The Time Machine.”

Dad stared down at me, holding the look, hoping I’d keep talking. I didn’t. Getting this look made me nervous and I usually blabbed on just like Dad wanted so he could carefully talk me out of something. But this time we just stared at each other.

After a traffic-light-missing pause, Dad said, “What???”

“I love time travel.”

Dad rolled his eyes. He had no clue how crazy I was for Mr. Peabody and Sherman on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, which I watched faithfully every Sunday. Mr. Peabody invented the WABAC Machine (pronounced “way back”), which allowed him and Sherman to time-travel to ancient Rome, the voyages of Columbus, the dinosaur era, you name it. I wasn’t sure what science fiction was, but I loved time travel.

Dad recovered. “Oh, I bet it’s going to be one of those talky films you hate.”

I said nothing.

Dad threw a wild punch, hoping it would land. “If we go to The Mouse That Roared I’ll take you to Prexy’s afterwards for a hamburger and a milk shake.”

I ducked his shot. “Why can’t we go to Prexy’s anyway?”

Dad’s shoulders rolled forward and his chest fell as he grabbed my hand. Swiftly, we crossed Third Avenue, sidestepping the spray from a street-cleaner truck, and headed to the RKO to see Rod Taylor, whoever he was, in The Time Machine.
6.12.72 LaSalle Academy Graduation.

12.19.81 Giants beat the Antichrist from Texas.



If you like my work check out my memoir, 
"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." Available at Logos Book Store or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

The book has 117 Amazon five star reviews out of 117 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, June 7, 2016

Yes, The River Knows

My family has lived near the East River in Yorkville since 1896. I own the 120 year old horse shoe my great grandparents, Antonino and Giovanna Cuccia, placed over their apartment’s front door for good luck at 1403 York Avenue, one house south of the corner of 75th Street. They operated a fruit stand on the corner (see pix below from June 1906) and Antonino made red wine in his building's basement to help support five of them.

I dream the East River and see the past when I stroll along it.

I saw a tug boat with a happy face headed towards the 59th Street Bridge, I waved to the river man. I discovered a chocolate Bundt cake water fountain, the Chrysler Building saying good night to the United Nations and Tudor City, and the Long Island City Skyline will lose its knickers soon and earn a pair of grown up pants after a few more skyscrapers.


Yes, The River Knows.
**************************














Thomas Pryor's Stoops to Nuts Father's Day Show: "Where's Poppa?" 
@ Ryans Daughter, 350 E. 85th St. 
Friday, June 17, 2016 @ 7-10pm 
S2N artists: Colin Dempsey, Joe Dettmore, Nicole Ferraro, Tim McGillicuddy & Una McGillicuddy. I'm your host, it's a cuckoo crazy nuts FREE S2N event. Bring your Pa, Da and all your recollections of Poppa.



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. The book has 117 five star reviews out of 117 total reviews on Amazon.  Thank you!