Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Someone Left The Cake Out In the Rain ~ 1968

June, 1968: Mom and Dad played pinochle up Nan's on York Avenue with Pauline & Charlie Hannah following St. Stephen of Hungary's eighth grade graduation in the church.

Nan had a bandanna around her neck to catch sweat and drank chilled ginger ale. “Cut the shit, cut the cards.” Nan said to Dad who was farting around.

A miserably hot day, Rory wore my grad cap, then we ran out to put the fire hydrant on at the corner of 83rd Street and 1st Avenue.
Mickey Mantle hit a homer against the Angels. George Chapman had sunburn on his back from Rockaway Beach. Unknowingly, I slapped George's back after Mantle's homer. Apology not accepted.
Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don’t think that I can take it. ‘cause it took too long to bake it. And I’ll never have that recipe again. Oh, no!
"MacArthur's Park," was on the radio and Rory bought a pound of Oreos with the 45 cents he clipped off Dad's dresser. Afterwards we all sat on 403’s stoop and Herb Alpert crooned “This Guy’s In Love with You.”
We considered these songs nuclear weapons for attracting girls.
Here are the top 40 records from that June 1968 day.
  1. This Guy's In Love With You - Herb Alpert
  2. The Horse - Cliff Nobles and Co.
  3. MacArthurPark- Richard Harris
  4. Yummy Yummy Yummy - Ohio Express
  5. Look Of Love - Sergio Mendes
  6. Mony Mony - Tommy James & The Shondells
  7. Angel Of The Morning - Merilee Rush and the Turnabouts
  8. Think - Aretha Franklin
  9. Here Comes The Judge - Shorty Long
  10. Reach Out Of The Darkness - Friend And Lover
  11. Jumpin Jack Flash - Rolling Stones
  12. Mrs. Robinson - Simon And Garfunkel
  13. Grazing In The Grass - Hugh Masekela
  14. Licking Stick-Licking Stick - James Brown
  15. Lady Willpower - Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
  16. I Love You – People
  17. Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me - Tiny Tim
  18. Indian Lake – Cowsills
  19. Stoned Soul Picnic - 5th Dimension
  20. I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You) – Temptations
  21. How'd We Ever Get This Way - Andy Kim
  22. She's A Heartbreaker - Gene Pitney
  23. Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  24. Good The Bad And The Ugly - Hugo Montenegro
  25. (You Keep Me) Hangin On - Joe Simon
  26. Choo Choo Train - Box Tops
  27. Beautiful Morning – Rascals
  28. Tighten Up - Archie Bell & The Drells
  29. DW Washburn – Monkees
  30. Never Give You Up - Jerry Butler
  31. Man Without Love - Engelbert Humperdinck
  32. Yester Love - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  33. Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
  34. Sky Pilot - Eric Burdon & The Animals
  35. Like To Get To Know You - Spanky And Our Gang
  36. Pictures Of Matchstick Men - Status Quo
  37. Hurdy Gurdy Man – Donovan
  38. Master Jack - Four Jacks And A Jill
  39. Time For Living – Association
  40. Face It Girl It's Over - Nancy Wilson

Monday, June 27, 2011

Yorkville Swimming Options in 1960

End of June, I spy a newly filled pool. My heart, a tom-tom drum.
Water! Water! Water!
Nothing was more important between late June and Labor Day. City pools were essential, they gave great comfort, but I wanted lakes, I wanted beaches and I needed adults with transportation for each. My conniving was bottomless. Mom could page a calendar in February and start sweating freely when she got to June, July, August. Dad welcomed heat like an old friend, in the Navy he slept under a steam pipe for two years. He needed persuasion. Mom was always hot, but she had psoriasis all over and hated the beach, but tolerated lakes. Dad loved body surfing and could be conned into a beach trip but only if the temperature was headed over 90. I’d watch the weather praying for a heat wave so we could get to Rockaway Beach by bus, or if some relative felt sorry for Rory and me they’d take us to Davies or Sparkle Lake.
In short, I craved hot days as a kid; I craved 90 degrees, because that’s what I needed to motivate an adult to leave the island of Manhattan and take us on a water trip. On hot mornings I'd closed the windows of our air-conditionless apartment praying the stuffy heat would drive my parents to the land of impaired judgment where decisions were loose and sloppy. My track record in this area was iffy but I won my share of bouts. I remember the beach and lakes with the kind of affection usually associated with first loves.
On my bike ride today, I passed Asser Levy Pool which is ready for action. Though John Jay was blocks away in Yorkville we used to bike down to Asser on 23rd Street for a change of pace. Here are some pix from today's ride.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Purple Rain Falls On Losers Lounge Tribute to Prince

Last night, The Losers Lounge paid tribute to Prince at Joe's Pub in the East Village. A terrific show with the usual suspects treating the sold-out crowd to a non-stop Prince lovefest. Nut jobs need not apply, no short supply last night starting with Michael Cerveris, Nick Danger & Tammy Faye. Cerveris, the Tony Award winning actor brought his stage outfit directly from the asylum costume party. He brought his own purple rain tucked away in a plant sprayer that he showered everyone in reach with including the band. Joe McGinty & The Kustard Kings closed the show with "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man." A good time was had by all.

Four more Losers Lounge Prince shows at Joe's Pub. Two tonight, two tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Chrysler Building From Two Vantage Points

Last night, I attended an event at 42nd Street & Fifth Avenue. A great spot to view the Chrysler Building. I also photographed it a few days ago on a gray day. Some pictures below.

The event I attended: We Are Booming created by Ann Fry is a project committed to changing the conversation about aging. The topic attracts me. I consider myself in the bottom of the sixth inning with three more ahead and I'm pulling for extra innings. We Are Booming presses folks to consider giving something back before you exit. In my home, I'm surrounded by my Dad, Mom & brother's art. For that, I'm blessed. They are always with me, and inspire me to do the same with whatever I do best. I'm working on it. I believe in karma, I believe the love you give comes right back to you. One of my greatest gifts was having all four grandparents until I was 10, and they lived literally around the block and two blocks away. I saw them every day, and I loved their stories, I loved their generation and those slight and huge differences in ways they grew up versus how my parents grew up, I soaked their memories up.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rocket Summer: Solstice In the Manhattan Sky

The Manhattan sky is magical the week of the Summer Solstice. The setting sun suspends in the air hitting clouds with strange light like no other time of the year. It reminds me of the sky's description in The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury. Look up tonight and over the next few days, you're in for a treat. Pictures below are Upper Eastside (camera) and Astor Place (cell phone, camera battery died). I tie the solstice to the end of school and "Don't Worry Baby," to the beginning of summer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stoops to Nuts Served at Cornelia Street Cafe

Storytelling unfurled Tuesday night at Cornelia Street Cafe at the monthly “City Stories: Stoops to Nuts" show.

June 14th being Flag Day, Nicholas Zaharakos proved he’s as “American as Spinach Pie,” with a story about his Greek born father's ingenuity securing a well balanced meal under surveillance. Nicole Ferraro nominated her grandmother as the woman most likely to get you out of the supermarket with a full cart of stuff, most of your money still in your wallet, and a package of frozen chicken cutlets slid inside your raincoat. Don Piper & Edward Rogers sung of the city’s forgotten souls, isolation and the redemptive pleasure of connecting with friends in the neighborhood. Francesca Rizzo’s yarn let it be known that she holds the international record for dating coincidence and that her mother’s strength is not picking out puppies. Thomas Pryor told a cautionary tale for the kids out there about “Murder by Dusting.”

The place was packed with friends, fans, and the entire 4th grade from St. Stephen of Hungary. Led by Sister Adrianne and two chaperones, the kids had a ball and their ears only had to be covered for a few moments during one story. They returned to school immediately after the show in their Wayback Bus.

Thank you, Nicole, Don, Edward, Francesca & Nicholas for a great show. Thank you, Steve & Tiffany for keeping the customers satisfied. Angelo & Robin, thank you for letting us play in your sandbox. Barbara Aliprantis, thank you, for letting me hold your curating candle.

Carrying on a fourteen year old tradition, storytelling is alive and well at Cornelia Street Cafe on the second Tuesday of each month. Our next, “City Stories: Stoops to Nuts,” storytelling show is July 12th at 6pm at the Cafe.

All photos on this page were taken by Danielle Samantha Marks, except for the sidewalk shot taken by Thomas Pryor.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Saint Stephen's Class Trip to Cornelia Street Cafe

Sister Adrianne trying to come up with a "fun but educational" class trip has decided to take her Saint Stephen of Hungary's 4th grade to Cornelia Street Cafe tonight to see the "City Stories: Stoops to Nuts" storytelling show.

Mister Varga will drive the kids down on the school bus and Mrs. Otis and Mrs. Varga have volunteered as chaperones. All students bringing their 4th grade report cards showing a 90 average get in free, all others pay $7 with one free Mission soda or adult drink if you sport facial hair.

Sister Adrianne picked a winner. It's a great show with terrific tellers and songsmiths including Nicole Ferraro, Don Piper, Francesca Rizzo, Edward Rogers & Nicholas Zaharakos. Tommy Pryor will host the show then immediately return to his seat on the bus for the trip back to the school or suffer Sister Adrianne's consequences.

Tonight: City Stories: Stoops to Nuts @ Cornelia Street Cafe @ 6pm

Located at 29 Cornelia Street (between Bleecker & West 4th Street, just west of 6th Avenue).

ps don't forget today is Flag Day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gully's Guppies Graduate LaSalle Academy: June 12, 1972

39 years ago tonight, 208 seniors graduated LaSalle Academy at the Seaman's Institute in Chelsea. Thanks to Patrick Cullinan's photography, below are a few black & white pictures of the event. For me June 12, 1972 carried additional significance because my parents had not seen each other in over two years. Forced to be in the same space for the first time they took photos with me. After the ceremony and the picture taking, they talked in the back and my father approached me and told me they were going to dinner. I had mixed feelings.

406, our class, was known as Gully's Guppies. We were in a constant state of possibly having us asses kicked by the other five freshman classes. We loved every minute of it and welcomed the insults. The nickname was a tribute to Brother James Anthony Gully a man we all loved, a great teacher.

Gully's Guppies broke up during a teacher's coup that transferred several students in the middle of our sophmore year. The class of 1972 co-mingled well, fights were infrequent. We shared a common love for school sports & music and shared an intense curiousity for the world exploding and expanding right outside the doors of 44 East 2nd Street, LaSalle Academy, our school in the East Village.


I absolutely, positively, you bet, should've failed Geometry at LaSalle in June 1970 and spent my 16th summer in a hot 2nd Street classroom exploring my corollaries. My teacher, Patrick Cullinan, recognized the astronomical odds against me going to Cooper Union, and let me slide. Thank you, cool Pat, the summer of 1970 was a keeper.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ain't Nothing But a House Party: Central Park 1979

Peter Wolf is sensational. The J Geils Band is one of the top live acts ever & Peter solo blows me away. Bruce Springsteen, Garland Jeffreys, John Hiatt & Peter send me home with a shit-ass grin every time I see them perform. Each one, inspiring in countless ways.

My favorite J Geils memory: In 1979, my friends and I struck gold in Central Park. A group of us played rugby for St. John’s, we were good friends with one of John Scher’s bouncers at the summer Doctor Pepper concerts in Central Park’ skating rink space. Tony rucked for the Long Island Rugby Club. The deal: we met Tony at the VIP gate and as each of us shook his hand; he palmed the five dollar bill we each gave him. This was simultaneous with the entrance of the general admission crowd giving us access to the third row in the orchestra right behind the press and special guests. Unfortunately, this routine was cut short when Tony relocated in fall 1980. But for two years we had boss seats for all concerts.

J Geils was our band. They played Central Park the summer of 79. When we vamooshed a cocktail hour inside an apartment before the parents came home, “I’m Looking For A Love,” was our go out song from the Lp “The Morning After.” Important element for beginning a solid evening.

It rained weakly for an hour before the J Geils show. Since it was a sprinkle they let us in at the normal time. In the third row, we used our shirts to dry the rain off the seats. As I turned to sit down over the Plaza Hotel I saw a breath taking cloud racing towards us and a minute later it dumped buckets of rain. So intense, I laughed and let it run over me. A stream from my head to my chest to my lap to my feet. My Converse sneakers were squeaking, my tee-shirt and shorts were attached to me like suction cups. After a “It’s never going to stop,” ten minutes suddenly the sun burst through and pushed the cloud away. It was over but there was three inches of water under our seats.Canceled I thought.” We sat there waiting for them to tell us to leave.

Two minutes later, Peter Wolf came out on stage looked us over and the less than half filled place and started laughing then the band joined him. He looked down at us then out at the audience and directed us to do the canoe, and his arms went back and forth like he was traveling upstream without a paddle but thought he had one. So we did the same thing and Stephen Jo Bladd banged the drums and the band went into “Ain’t Nothing But A House Party.” They played for two hours and forty minutes. We did The Canoe. Life is good.

I have no J Geils button from that year but I do have The Cars & Southside Johnny buttons below. Here's Evelyn Champagne King for nothing. 1978 was pretty good too.