Saturday, July 26, 2014

Salugi

Artie Peters & Tommy on #6 train, 1969
I thoroughly enjoyed many World Cup games this past month in Brazil. I was a big fan of the NHL as a kid and quickly understood the importance of precision passing, tight defense and sharp goaltending. A 1-0 game can be a brilliant contest if those three aspects of a hockey game were executed well. The same goes for soccer. A low scoring game does not necessarily mean boring. But an NHL hockey rink is 85 feet by 200 feet, and a soccer field can be as large as 300 feet by 390 feet. In hockey if you don’t have a man advantage it’s usually not easy to keep the puck away from your opponent, the size of the rink encourages engagement. In soccer, a sharp passing team with a goal or more advantage versus a weak defense well they may as well be playing Salugi. 

What’s that’s? Salugi is a keep-away game in which children throw around an object with the aim of keeping it away from a particular child (often the owner of the object).

In 1969, I was spending half my time in Yorkville, and half my time in Sunnyside, Queens. This was the same year Panasonic came out with a $39 portable record player/radio combo. Well, Tina Fridheim had one, and Artie Peters and I thought it was a great idea to play Salugi with it on 83rd Street. Unfortunately, we started the game near my curfew. I had to be home in Sunnyside by 11pm. We moved the game off the block and started working our way up to the subway stop on Lexington and 86th Street with Tina and her girlfriends trailing after us trying to get the record player back, but we’d have none of that. Throwing it back and forth, nice and high, over the parked cars we almost dropped it several times, impressing the heck out of each other with tremendous catches. 

Ginny, Norma, Sharon on 403 E 83 St stoop, 1969

At the subway station we went down the stairs to the local #6 level and I passed it to Artie one last time. After putting my token in the turnstile, I went down one more flight of stairs so I could be half way between the local and express platforms. Waiting there, I was semi-aware Artie was still playing the game without me - running away from the girls chasing him around the token booth. Once or twice, he faked throwing the record player down to me over the railing. And then he’d disappear out of my sight. I heard an express train coming and flew down the staircase. Behind me, I heard plastic and metal exploding  as the record player hit the concrete platform. Artie did not fake that time. What could I do?

Tina's record player
I caught the train, went to 42nd Street, got the #7 to Sunnyside's 46th Street/Bliss Street stop. When I walked into my Skillman Avenue apartment, Mom with a puss on was waiting for me with great news:
Tina called my grandmother from the Chapman’s house (the other girls with Tina), then my grandmother called my Mom and let her know what we did. The next Saturday, I worked 12 hours for free for Milton and Marty at the Corner Pharmacy on 79th Street and York. My earnings, twenty bucks, went towards half of Tina’s new Panasonic portable radio/record player.





Saturday, July 19, 2014

NYC's Bird: The Pigeon ~ Like it, Or Not

Before you complain about their crap, give the pigeon credit for dealing with our crap. Like noise and pollution. The pigeon didn’t crash the North American party. It didn’t get here on it’s own, an ocean is a long flight unless you’re made of metal and carry tons of fuel in your tank. Where would The New Yorker cartoonists be without the go to pigeon? Where would Oscar and Felix be without the Pigeon Sisters on The Odd Couple?

As long as I’m not sitting directly under one in the park while he’s reading a newspaper above me, I’m fine saluting New York City’s bird: the pigeon.

"My husband used to be the concierge but he's dead. Now I'm the concierge"

My book, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood," coming October 2014 (YBK). 

If you like TV's "The Wonder Years," add tenements, loitering and a subway - you'll slip seamlessly into my world.









Thursday, July 17, 2014

Baby Pigeons Love Thurman Munson


The last time I remember seeing baby pigeons was the day we moved into 83rd Street on Rory's first birthday in 1957. Well, I saw them again, last night and I knew that I would. 

I'm taking that excitement to Bergino Baseball Clubhouse tonight @7pm, and telling a Thurman Munson story at:

Baseball As Good Medicine©
Photo ID Foundation
Thursday, July 17 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Bergino Baseball Clubhouse


"Baseball As Good Medicine: The Amazing, Magical, Healing Qualities of Baseball - a unique variety of storytellers from sportswriters to rheumatologists to artists to umpires - each telling a story related to this theme in 5 minutes or less! An action packed fun evening of baseball, stories and judges all to benefit a cause.
The cause is a good one, offering kids with medical challenges cameras and other media tools to tell their stories. More information below. Please come out and support the children.
All proceeds from the event go to Photo ID Foundation. Our work puts cameras and other tools in the hands of young people with medical challenges/life threatening illnesses to enable them to create media projects to tell their stories and transform their experiences.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Have To Get That Darn Thurman Munson T-Shirt

Like I did in 1972 at this Carl Schurz Park checkers table, I'm telling a Thurman Munson story tomorrow night:

Baseball As Good Medicine©
Photo ID Foundation
Thursday, July 17 2014 @ 7:00 pm

"Baseball As Good Medicine: The Amazing, Magical, Healing Qualities of Baseball - a unique variety of storytellers from sportswriters to rheumatologists to artists to umpires - each telling a story related to this theme in 5 minutes or less! An action packed fun evening of baseball, stories and judges all to benefit a cause.
The cause is a good one, offering kids with medical challenges cameras and other media tools to tell their stories. More information below. Please come out and support the children.
All proceeds from the event go to Photo ID Foundation. Our work puts cameras and other tools in the hands of young people with medical challenges/life threatening illnesses to enable them to create media projects to tell their stories and transform their experiences.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Baseball As Good Medicine @ 7.17.14 ~ New Book's First Dance

This coming Thursday, July 17, I'm telling a Thurman Munson story at a terrific charity event, "Baseball as Good Medicine." It all takes place at  Jay Goldberg's cool spot, Bergino's Baseball Clubhouse at 67 East 11th Street.

I love the Clubhouse, here are two of my Bergino's pieces: one on Mickey Mantle and one on Gil Hodges.


Thursday, July 17 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Bergino's Baseball Clubhouse

"Baseball As Good Medicine: The Amazing, Magical, Healing Qualities of Baseball - a unique variety of storytellers from sportswriters to rheumatologists to artists to umpires - each telling a story related to this theme in 5 minutes or less! An action packed fun evening of baseball, stories and judges all to benefit a cause.
The cause is a good one, offering kids with medical challenges cameras and other media tools to tell their stories. More information below. Please come out and support the children.
All proceeds from the event go to  Photo ID Foundation. Our work puts cameras and other tools in the hands of young people with medical challenges/life threatening illnesses to enable them to create media projects to tell their stories and transform their experiences.

Hence the theme, "Baseball As Good Medicine©"

This is the second in our series - if you CANNOT attend this event but would still like to make a donation, we would be most grateful! Please Click Here



Storytellers include umpire Perry Barber, Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame artist Dick Perez, SLAM Editor-in-Chief Ben Osborne, Dr. Jonathan Samuels, WNYC reporter/writer Jim O'Grady, writer/storyteller Thomas Pryor who appeared in PBS' "Baseball A NY Love Story". With special guest Rabbi Sirkman featured in HBO's Curse of the Bambino. And our exciting panel of judges including performer/writer Mary Brienza and communications wiz John Beilenson!

Among our attendees will be Marty Appel, New York Yankees historian and author of Pinstripe Empire.






We had fun at Eric Vetter's No Name show at Otto's Shrunken Head last Friday night. It was my first public reading from my forthcoming book, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." 
(Oct. 2014, YBK)

Thank you, Eric Vetter for inviting me to a swell time, and thank you, Gordon Balkcom for the photos of me reading.








Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Stoops to Nuts in Song & Story on Cornelia Street

Nicole Ferraro
Oh boy, if you weren't there you missed it. You missed it good. Thank you, Joe McGinty, Andrea Diaz, Nicole Ferraro and Harry Rolnick for bringing the bacon home. Thank you, to a fine audience who stayed with us all the way, and thank you, Cornelia Street Cafe for letting us play in your yard. Thank you, Josh, Mike and Olivia for keeping the customers satisfied with your stellar professional service. One of my favorite Stoops to Nuts nights ever. 






Jennifer Barrett





Andrea Diaz & Joe McGinty

Harry Rolnick

Cornelia St Cafe

Nicole Ferraro
Andrea Diaz



Jennifer Barrett





Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sunset on the River ~ Stoops to Nuts Show Tonight

Spent a sunset on the East River at 86th Street on July 4th. This is what I saw.


Our "City Stories: Stoops to Nuts, show tonight, Tuesday, July 8th @ 6pm @ Cornelia Street Cafe is a big whoop.

Our stunning artists: "The Duchess and the Fox, aka, Andrea Diaz and Joe McGinty (standout and founder of The Losers Lounge), Jennifer Barrett (Living Loud), Nicole Ferraro (NY Times) and Harry Rolnick (WSJ). We're bringing the musical side of storytelling to our show in a big way with Andrea, Joe and Jennifer merging with two of my favorite tellers in NYC, Nicole and Harry.







Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Only Living Boy In New York

I love when New York empties for a holiday. As a kid, instead of being sad because I was stuck "in the city," I found good things that resulted from us not "getting out of town." Dad didn't own a car, our vacations were rare. Three. One week in Patchogue, one week to somewhere in Putnam County and one week in Point Pleasant. Dad stayed home for that one.

The best reason I was glad everyone left town and I was still there - me and whoever else stayed put could play in the streets freely. The cars vanished and give us double the space for touch football or whatever game we were playing. We even played a couple on York Avenue in between traffic light changes. Playing touch football on an avenue with that extra width made it feel like a real football field. Much better than the tight space touch games on the side streets were there were only five plays: button hooks, down and outs in between two parked cars, fake a button hook and go after the QB pumps, fake a down and out and go after QB pumps, and a fly.

Another good reason to not go away, it made the neighborhood spooky like a good Twilight Zone episode. Early in the morning, walking around, no cars, no people, just birds, you felt like the only kid on earth.



Here are photos from the 300 block on 85th Street, 500 block on 84th St Street, York Avenue between 83rd Street and 84th Street, and York looking south from 83rd Street towards the 59th Street Bridge. And one sunset.

A fine holiday weekend in The Twilight Zone for  The Only Living Boy In New York.


Our "City Stories: Stoops to Nuts, show is this coming Tuesday, July 8th @ 6pm @ Cornelia Street Cafe  is a doozy.

Our amazing artists: "The Duchess and the Fox, aka, Andrea Diaz and Joe McGinty (standout and founder of The Losers Lounge), Jennifer Barrett (Living Loud), Nicole Ferraro (NY Times) and Harry Rolnick (WSJ). We're bringing the musical side of storytelling to our show in a big way with Andrea, Joe and Jennifer merging with two of my favorite tellers in NYC, Nicole and Harry.