Monday, March 16, 2015

My Favorite St. Paddy's Day ~ 1970

Buddy McMahon 1970
Just past noon, Buddy McMahon and I jumped into the St. Patrick Day parade at 61st Street joining our LaSalle Academy classmates and teachers marching up Fifth Avenue. This was non-regulation starting the parade late (we paid dearly the following day at school ~ brutal knucks to the head delivered with a smile by Brother Paul). At the Met Museum entrance we broke off and ran east to the river and spent the late afternoon enjoying a bucket of swill under the 81st Street staircase on the FDR Drive. Afterwards, five of us started a neighborhood walkabout. We ended up on the 300 block on 85th Street in front of a building where someone had thrown away a large couch, a straight up chair, and a refrigerator box.

Ekis turned the giant box into a desk, put it in front of the chair and Romano, Muller, Feldman, McMahon and I took turns hosting the Johnny Carson show, ~ Romano did a pretty good Ed McMahon. We invited people walking home from work and school to join us on the show; some did, most of the takers/guests were noticeably impaired walking back from the parade or a gin mill.

Muller was the best host. Romano served him clean “You are correct, sirs." Ekis tried to spin a plate on a stick but we told him it was the wrong show and threatened to send him over to a couple of drunks doing a Ed Sullivan Show on the other side of the street.

After we exhausted this routine and got sick of ducking crap people threw at us from their windows, we moved on. Between First and York Avenue, Muller found a standing lamp without a shade. It joined our group. Our first stop was Loftus Tavern on York Avenue.  Marching in, one of us dropped a quarter in the jukebox for two songs (a recent change from three for a quarter and one for a dime). The Beatles began, "this happened once before, when I came to your door, no reply." We sang along into our imaginary microphone on top of the standing lamp. Gathered closely around the pole in sweet harmony, we moved into the 45’s flip side, "I’m a Loser." Loose change rolled towards our feet from the bar. This was a good sign. If the coins were thrown at us, they didn’t like us, rolled meant we were entertainment (kind of). Someone fed the jukebox and we crooned Witchcraft and Night Day to our imaginary Bobby soxers before moving back into the Beatles catalogue. Done there, we pocketed our change and took our show over to Killarney Castle on Third Avenue where our reception was mixed but we blocked most of the coins coming at our heads with our arms thrown up. Erin Go Bragh!

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 atAmazonBarnes 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.

Loftus Tavern 1962

Loftus Tavern 1974

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