Something magical's in the air.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Something magical's in the air.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Late December 1969, Sunnyside, Queens, I got off the #7 at the Bliss Street Station at 46th Street at 2:45pm on the afternoon going into the high school Christmas break. I was 15, alone, had zero to do and wished I was in Yorkville. I have no intention of going home to Sunnyside Gardens with the parents until much later and needed a plan.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
Think of those without and do something about it when you can.
Did you hear about the suicidal turkey on York Avenue? Mr. Beller's did, and here's the scoop.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
“Thomas, what are you doing?”
“What are you doing?” Sister Lorraine, repeated.
“Putting on stripes.” I said, standing in front of her desk working the ink out of her cartridge pen onto my hand.
“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.”
I had no mirror to work with, so I figured out two spots and wiped an inky finger across each cheek twice.
Sister Lorraine was giving us a short history lesson on the first Thanksgiving while she passed back our art assignments. My turkey got a B minus. I’d run out of brown crayon and finished his stomach off with green and red.
“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.”
We did our little Pilgrim and Indian “everyone be thankful” speeches, 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?”
“What happened to your shirt?”
Then she saw my face and her voice went up an octave.
“What 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.
"Take the shirt off and throw it away. Then come over here by the sink.”
At the sink, Mom put Boraxo scrubbing powder on a washcloth and began making little circles on my face.
“Ouch” I said pulling away.
“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 permanently embarrassed rosy red. My brother, Rory, mocked me, “ha, ha!”
I gave him a knuckle when Mom wasn’t looking.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
"Want a bite?"
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Excellent Student (early on...)
December 10th @ 7pm @ Otto's Shrunken Head @ Bag O' Chips & No Name Storytelling Extravaganza
(14th Street near Avenue A)
December 14th @ 6pm @
(bet. Bleecker St. & West 4th St, off most westside subway lines,
Tommy’s work has appeared on loose-leaf & construction paper (all colors) in P.S.77 kindergarten; St. Stephen of Hungary's classrooms, Yorkville streets & building walls (his wall art on 401 East 83rd Street earned a smack from his grandmother); L
Tommy performed in front of the St. Stephen’s student body and memorized and sung “Mindem Vagyam Visszaszall” in front of four hundred hooting Hungarians, Father Emeric’s favorite Hungarian Folk Song at his Silver Jubilee as a priest. Tommy’s made other appearances at Joe’s Candy Store, Spotless Cleaners, Parker’s Grocery, Reliable Meats, Loftus Tavern and other Yorkville gin mills.
A Midnight Mover, All Night Groover.
Happy Birthday, Ali, My Aim is True, love, Dad
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Defendant Exhibit #1 ~ The People of the State of New York vs. Patricia Pryor on the Charge of Murder
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The first time I kissed a girl I broke out in hives from my head to my toes.
Freddy Muller threw a party down his 414 East 83rd Street cellar shortly after New Year's Day in early January 1969. The party was un-sanctioned by his parents, Whitey Muller, a double for the little bald guy on the Benny Hill Show and Mrs. Muller who made a mean Sloppy Joe sandwich. Freddy's parents were the building's super.
Freddy caught crap all the time. Mr. Muller liked gathering Freddy's friends together and complaining about his son. We loved Freddy, so we'd humor Dad to keep him off Freddy's back. Most dads complained to your friends about you when they could, it was a standard Yorkville practice.
The day after the party, I snuck back to the cellar with a girl I liked from my St. Stephen's eighth grade class. We were freshman in high school moving in different directions but our flirting continued.
Aquarium dim light lit the damp cellar, we could smell the steam pipes and hear them sizzling. It was Sunday morning, everything else was quiet. We'd left our stereo equipment & records down there the night before. There was no furniture except the card table the music sat on. Everyone took home the folding chairs they borrowed from their houses.
I put on the Beatles White Album ~Long, Long, Long, by George Harrison, a close dancing song, I thought. I awkwardly moved into position, put my cheek against the nape of the girl's neck, slid my cheek up against her cheek and eased my mouth up. I blindly tried to find her lips, it worked. It felt amazing, my head spun, I think I temporarily lost consciousness, then my throat closed. I felt warm all over my head, neck, chest and arms. I was swelling up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Parade float. Then lumps appeared. My throat was on fire, not good fire.
"What's wrong with you?" The girl asked.
"I, I, I, I don't know."
"Well you're scaring me, stop it!" she said.
This wasn't helping, I needed someone to say, "You're going to be O.K." She was panicking, which is never one of my calm down triggers.
"Stop what you're doing!" she said.
This got me mad, but it worked. Whatever excitement I had over the kiss passed, my hives eased and my heart slowed down.
My next kiss was uneventful.
The piano on Long, Long, Long sounds an awful lot like, Go Now, by the Moody Blues but don't blame George, Chris Thomas, George Martin's assistant, is playing piano.
It's been a long long long time.
How could I ever have lost you?
When I loved you.
It took a long long long time,
Now I'm so happy I found you.
How I love you.
So many years I was searching,
So many tears I was wasting,
Now I can see you,
How can I ever misplace you?
How I want you.
Oh, I love you.
You know that I need you.
Ooh, I love you.
Listen to Michele Carlo & I talk neighborhoods & "Fish Out of Agua" on my Centanni Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts radio archive link below:
If you enjoy this blog please vote for it in Category #5 "Best Neighborhood Blog, " in the Village Voice 2010 Web Awards at this link:
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Having Michele Carlo on the Yorkville radio show tonight @ 9pm, reading Michele’s terrific memoir, “Fish Out of Agua,” brought back a strong Friday night memory.
Eddie Ekis’s mom worked at the local Five & Ten store, you know the ones with the mechanical jalopies and wild horses outside the store, a dime a ride. Friday night, Mrs. Ekis had to close the store at 9pm, that put Mrs. Ekis home at about 9:15pm.
Starting in 1969, every Friday the cocktail lamp was lit at 5pm and the first wave would roll in. There were eight to ten regulars, a poker game always got going, and the music blasted. J Geils, “Looking For a Love,” “Floyd’s Hotel,” Jeff Beck, "Truth," Humble Pie, “Thirty Days In The Hole,” Black Sabbath, “Paranoid,” Black Oak Arkansas, “Jim Dandy,” Jacksons, “Never Can Say Goodbye,” Led Zep, “Everything,” The Who, “Who’s Next,” “Quad,” Beatles, “Rubber Soul & Revolver”, Sly, “Everything, “Billy Preston, “Outer Space,” and every worth while 45 single from 1962 through the mid 70s.
Ekis had two monkeys, Chiquita & Toto. They loved beer and lived in the kitchen and had a terrace out the window when the weather was nice. Eddie fenced in the small tar roof of the beauty parlor under his second floor apartment that extended out the window about six by five feet towards York Avenue. A fine little terrace for everybody. If the weather was right we’d move the chairs out there and hang out with the monkeys, but if they didn’t like the music they went a little nuts and started pulling hair, so we had to watch what we played (they were not big fans of Black Oak
Most of the guys in the football team photo were regulars up Ekis’s. At five to nine everyone knew the drill. The brown bags came out, all the empties into the garbage, Ekis would move to the turntable for the “Go out,” song and we'd march out of the building on our way to somewhere never as much fun as Ekis's apartment.
I'm looking, I'm looking, I'm looking,
Somebody help me find my baby!
You go, Wolfman...