Saturday, November 23, 2019

Hunting Duck, Finding Love

We hunting duck in Central Park. No go. But we found a sailboat race and afterwards Charlie met Mr. Picklepants at the fountain. No first name given. But plenty of kisses.

Here is a link to an album with lot more photos.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Duck Hunting With Charlie

Charlie went duck hunting this morning in Central Park. 

No luck. But she had generous opportunity to check out potential targets down the road.

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. The book has 132 Amazon five star reviews out of 132 total reviews posted. Pitching a perfect game! 

My old world echoes TV's "The Wonder Years" ~ just add taverns, subways, nuns and Checker cabs.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Yorkville Summer 1965

"Yorkville Summer 1965" my story was published today. 

Read it at the Mr. Beller's link right here. Thank you, 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. The book has 130 Amazon five star reviews out of 130 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.

Friday, October 4, 2019

St. Francis, The Pope & The Devil Dog

On October 4, 1965, the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Stephen of Hungary's student body marched up to Third Avenue to wave to Pope Paul VI driving by on his way to Yankee Stadium in his limousine. This was important to me on a few levels:
We were getting out of sixth grade early. 
The New York Yankees stunk in 1965 and having the Pope say a Mass on their home field should help the team.
I'd have free rein to look at all the older girls in the school, and they couldn't do anything about it.
"What are you looking at?"
'Ha, ha,' I'd think, not say.
The Franciscan priests in our parish were good guys and the nuns and the students got into the spirit of the day each year, whether the Pope showed up or not. Plus, I loved the guy. St. Francis was cool. I loved animals and he blessed them. Unlike Doctor Doolittle, St. Francis could really talk to them. And, St. Francis was in my grandmother's holy trinity along with St. Anthony for lost objects and super duper St. Jude for hopeless cases ~ a biggie for our family.

Every two years, the school ran a movie of the Life of St. Francis in the auditorium getting us out of a class for a Friday afternoon. The movie wasn't bad, and I admired the comfort of only wearing a robe with a rope belt, best uniform every invented, and Italy was beautiful and I considered it a place I definitely would visit down the road. After lunch, we lined up outside the school and like a gaggle of 300 geese we waddled up 82nd Street to the avenue, where we stood against police saw horses on the east side of Third between 81st and 82nd Street.

Earlier that morning, I served eight o'clock mass with a guy in my class, Michael Toth, who was a big pain in my ass. One of those guys that always had to be first in everything: out the door, on line for the water fountain, first at bat in punch ball. Toth located a Siamese pipe connection right behind us against a building, and used it to sit on, its shape perfect for a kid's bottom. We waited a long time, and Toth also planned on standing on it when the Pope went by for a better view. Toth kept coming over and telling everyone how comfortable it was and how he was going to have a perfect view, and if anyone tried to sit there he'd run over and throw them off. We all wanted him dead.

While he's doing this, I'm eating a Devil Dog the long way, taking the two cake parts apart and starting to lick the crème out of the middle, when Toth comes over to tell Freddy Muller, "Ha. Ha, I've got a great seat," While he's yapping to Freddy, I slip one half of my half licked Devil Dog onto the Siamese connection, crème side up. Toth satisfied with himself, sits on it and he's so caught up he doesn't notice, the nun, sick of Toth popping up and down moves over to straighten him out, Toth pops up again on his way over to brag some more. The nun notices the Devil Dog sticking to his pants and smacks Toth in the head thinking he's an idiot. After she hits him she says, "Wipe yourself off, wood head."

Toth puzzled about everything, reaches behind and grabs most of the cake, and I could tell by the look on his face he was praying it wasn't dog crap. Meantime, the Pope's a half block north of us. I missed him, Toth missed him, and the nun hit Toth again because she missed him, too.

I returned my focus to the older girls.


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 130 Amazon five star reviews out of 130 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.

Praise for the book:

“Thomas R. Pryor has written a sweet, funny, loving memoir of growing up old-school in a colorful New York neighborhood. A story of sports, family, and boyhood, you’ll be able to all but taste, smell, and feel this vanished world.”
Kevin Baker, author of the novels “Dreamland,” Paradise Alley,” and “Strivers Row,” as well as other works of fiction and nonfiction

“Tommy Pryor’s New York City boyhood was nothing like mine, a few miles and a borough away, and yet in its heart, tenderness, and tough teachable moments around Dad and ball, it was the mid-century coming of age of all of us. A rousing read.”
Robert Lipsyte, former city and sports columnist, The New York Times

“Pryor could take a felt hat and make it funny.”
Barbara Turner-Vesselago, author of “Writing Without A Parachute: The Art of Freefall”

“Pryor burrows into the terrain of his childhood with a longing and obsessiveness so powerful it feels like you are reading a memoir about his first great love.”
Thomas Beller, author of “J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist”

The Jean Shepherd of Yorkville has a book - you should get! -Adam Wade, winner of 20 SLAMS at The Moth (18 StorySLAM victories and 2 GrandSLAM Championships
I've been a HUGE fan of Thomas Pryor's stories for a long time. It's so great to read so many of them in this fantastic book. Pryor pours his heart and soul into each and everyone of them. Some gut wrenching, others laugh out loud funny. And you don't have to be a NY Giants fan or a Cowboys hater to enjoy this book (though that will help). You just have to have a heart and love fun, authentic stories. Buy this book, I promise you'll enjoy it!

Dave Hill "The Goddamn Dave Hill Show" ~ WFMU radio
I wasn't alive for the New York Thomas Pryor writes about, but thanks to his brilliant, honest, and hilarious book, I feel like I was there."

Great writers are supposed to transport you to their world -Nicole Ferraro, writer, N.Y Times & Editor-in-Chief, Webby Awards
Thomas Pryor is one of those unique writers who can grab your heart and make you laugh and cry in a single sentence. The portrait he paints of growing up in New York City -- in Yorkville, specifically -- in the 60s is so vivid that you'll feel yourself there with him in every single scene, and every single memory. Great writers are supposed to transport you to their world, and Thomas Pryor does this exceptionally well. You'll walk away from this book feeling like you know intimately every butcher and bartender in town, every Sister at St. Stephens, and certainly every member of Thomas's family. Even more than that, though, this is a book about being a kid, growing up, loving people and losing them, losing people and loving them even more, and finding one's way. Basically, it's a book for anyone who's ever experienced the sheer pleasure and pain of being alive and growing up. Buy it today. It will leave you feeling enriched, touched, entertained, and eager to turn to page one all over again.

Wonderful Storytelling with a Time Machine Effect! - Leslie Gosko, entertainer, storyteller, comedian, "Funniest Woman in NYC"
Heart-warming, hilarious, and wonderfully quirky, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys" has something for everyone. Thomas Pryor does a fantastic job of transporting you to 1960's New York where you feel like one of the characters in his Yorkville neighborhood. Stylistically reminiscent of Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story," this book, too, becomes an instant classic!

David Terhune The Losers Lounge, co-founder
After reading "I Hate The Dallas Cowboys", I felt as if I had grown up with author Thomas Pryor. His stories of a childhood in New York City, punctuated by family photographs, drew me into his world and took me on a personal tour of the streets and neighborhoods of his youth. Living there were a host of vivid and eccentric characters - his parents, brother Rory, grandmother Nan, Joe from the candy store, Sister Mercedes, stewardesses Marie and Justine, and his many friends and co-conspirators with whom he shared his adventures and dreams. Mr. Pryor’s humor is gentle and infectious, his memories animated and engrossing. These essays are both historically valuable as well as entertaining in a way that befits the unique voice of New York City.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Meet The Flintstones

s/e cor of York&86st @1953

Friday, early 1960s, food shopping with Mom at Sloan's on 86th and York. I looked forward to it. I had two ridiculous supermarket addictions: grape jelly glasses and giveaways in detergent boxes. I never liked jelly, still don't - but that never stopped me from needing the glasses the jelly came in.  A glass with Fred Flintstone or Barney Rubble on it after you dumped the jelly?  Seemed like a no-brainer. Mom caught me slipping it in the grocery cart. “Put it back, you don’t like jelly.”
“No, no, I do.”
“Liar, do not.”
“No, I like jelly now.”
“No you don’t.”
“Yes I do; and Rory loves it. Rory, you love it, right?”
Mom took one jelly glass and threw it in the cart to shut us up.

Next day at breakfast, I’d said, “Mother dear, would you like a crispy English muffin?”
“Yes, thank you, Master Thomas.”

I’d toast her muffin and glob half the jelly jar onto every nook and cranny, earning Mom’s pathetic look, the one that said, “Tommy, I have nothing left to give.”

Detergent makers gave away drinking glasses. I became obsessed with them, too.  I have no clue why. Maybe because I was always thirsty and the glasses in TV commercials made all beverages look better.  When Mom wasn’t looking, I’d grab one of the detergent boxes and hide it in the middle of the shopping cart. We’d go to the register and I’d start passing items to the cashier.
“Mom, let me do it. Why don’t you rest over there on the window ledge?” 
Rory was climbing over the empty egg boxes piled up in the store’s front window, I figured she'd chase him. This worked a few times until Mom got wise. Getting caught didn’t matter. I was deemed hopeless. Emptying the cart herself onto the conveyor belt she saw the unwanted box of soap “How did this get in here?”
The cashier made eye contact with Mom and nodded toward me. I began moving toward the exit, a fresh TV Guide in hand getting ready to plan my viewing week. When we got  home, Mom and I unloaded the bags and Rory onto the hallway floor.  Then we carried the stroller down to the
cellar, parking our family car for the night.

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 130 five star reviews out of 130 total reviews on Amazon. If you do read it, please leave a few honest words about the book on Amazon & B&N. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Two Tickets To Paradise

Eddie Money will always remind me of my best times in my twenties. In the late 1970s a New York city boy rocking hard lit up the radio. 
I played rugby at St. John's in Queens. We rocked hard. One thing we had in common, Eddie Money. Two brothers on our team, Ray & Kenny were in a terrific band called "Rocks." They were good at picking up new numbers for their sets and Eddie's music even got the terrible dancers (like me) up where ever we were. 

You know couples have a wedding song and carry it for life.  Individuals can have one too. Takes them directly to fond memories of the best years.  "Two Tickets To  Paradise" does that to me. Wherever I am when I hear it my inclination to move starts. "So Good To Be In Love Again" is right behind two tix for a trip back to East Quoque rugby houses, Mickey Mantle diner, Citgo gas station, OBI, crashing Old Blue parties, The Pub, any of many apartments in the Kew Gardens rugby ghetto. Summer rugby on Thursday nights on Randall's Island, Grundy's and a dozen other places to hear the band play each weekend.  

The only time I saw Eddie Money live was 1979 in Central Park at the Doctor Pepper Festival. That night involved rugby related business. I worked with a guy who played for the Long Island rugby club. He worked at the show as a bouncer at a side gate. The moment people were allowed in me and any body with me would slide five dollars to Tony when we shook hands, run inside and always get a third row seat behind the first two rows for press and big shots.  It gets better. Opening act for Money, The Kinks. This pleased me.

Eddie Money, your voice always take me to a double feature in my head.

Rest in peace, Sir.

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 130 five star reviews out of 130 total reviews on Amazon. If you do read it, please leave a few honest words about the book on Amazon and B&N. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Bruce August 21, 1978

Yesterday, I linked to Don McLean, "American Pie." It's opening lyrics reflected my mood related to seeing live music in 1978, when I was 24.

A long, long time ago...
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

Early that summer, I went to a Bad Company concert, and

sat through it like a work meeting. Bored. I was leading up to that, because the last few live shows I went to made me feel the same way. Empty. I thought I'd lost my musical inspiration.

(Bruce pix by Jeffrey Havas)

That August, my girlfriend, Yvette & I went to see Bruce Springsteen for the first time at Madison Square Garden. We got there two hours early and split an eight pack of Miller nips, watching people traffic and scoring the winners.

Inside, the energy was electric but I didn't know why yet. Then the band took the stage and ripped into "Badlands." I found religion in that four minute song. It felt like 1964, I was ten years old again, watching all the girl groups on the Clay Cole Show, watching Roy Orbison singing "Crying," and "Pretty Woman." It didn't matter it was a crappy little TV, those artists week after week tore my heart open, moved in, bought furniture and never left. Springsteen woke everybody up in there, and they haven't left me since 1978.

Laurene, Yvette, Tommy
The next night, I went back to MSG alone, and bought a $6 ticket for $15 from a scalper. Starting from my blue heaven seat I ended up in the third row in the orchestra by the third song and stayed there crouched on the floor between two girls for the entire show including the three encores.

Tons of great shows followed: Garland Jeffreys, John Hiatt, J Geils Band, Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin, Lucinda Willams, Mary Lee's Corvette, Losers Lounge, and on... When I die, tickets for my next live show will be in my dresser. Somebody pick them up, don't waste them!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

My Kingdom For A Muumuu!

Powerful Storytelling tonight 
@ 7pm sharp (REAL START 7) 
with a super-duper line-up! 
@ Kraine Theater  ~ 85 E. 4 St. 
west of Second Avenue.

TaleFest presents: the return of "It Came From New York!"

"My story: a quest for a throwback old lady muumuu."

Monday, July 1, 2019

Spicks & Specks

Every time I see the Losers Lounge At Lincoln Center Summer Swing another event comes to mind... March 1974 @ Avery Fisher Hall @ Lincoln Center @ the Bee Gees. Great show. Their final tune, "Spicks & Specks." 
After Barry sang:
"Where is the girl I loved All along
The girl that I loved She is gone
She is gone."
A young teen girl behind me shouted:
"No I'm not. I'm right here."

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Jones Beach ~ Land Of The Pharaohs

In the 1960s, each time we approached Jones Beach by car and I saw the Needle at the roundabout and walked through the bathhouses and pool I imagined I was in the land of the Pharaohs.