High Five

Got to Citifield this weekend, the last day of the Subway Series, and the first time I've been to the new Citi Fiield. It's still "Shea" to most of us Mets fans, but damn, the new stadium is really pretty.

The Mets had been trounced by the Yankees both Friday and Saturday, and while I didn't have high expectations, especially with 9 Mets on the disabled list, I was hoping for at least a respectable showing.

When you're a Mets fan, it pays to be an existentialist.

You kind of know when the first pitch is hit for a double (Derek Jeter, of course) that this does not bode well for the rest of thee game. Three runs in the first inning. I was hoping that we would not be tortured like this throughout the whole game. And my, those Yankees fans can be smug.

But the Mets defense for the next 6 innings was hot, truly beautiful to watch. If they could only hit and pitch!

... all hope died when they walked Mariano Cabrera in the top of the 9th with the bases loaded... ouch... an AMERICAN League pitcher. How can they walk an American League pitcher? What do those guys have, like a .126 batting average?

I got out of the Astor Place subway, holding my Citifield program, sporting my Shea Stadium memorial T-shirt, and I was stopped in front of Cooper Union by a young, blond-haired, tee-shirted fellow who said to me, "High five!"
I stopped, my weirdo radar triggered, scanning for incoming. He was a bit inebriated but otherwise seemed to know where he was, and had probably bathed in the last 24-hours. The conversation went like this:

"Where you coming from?" he said.

"Uh..." I was about to say "Shea." "Mets game."

"Oh. You're a Mets fan?"

What? Oh, yeah. Inebriated. "Well, I'm wearing the shirt..."

"Who were they playing?"


"Oh. So they lost, then."

There are days when I'd have gotten mad at this statement, but this time I laughed. "Yeah. They put up a fight, though."

"So... You married?"


"Oh. Well... High five!"

I high-fived him again.

"Hey," he said. "How old are you, anyway?"

I laughed. "You're not supposedd to ask a lady her age..."

"Oh, c'mon. I'm 31. You like 31, too, right?"

"Something like that. A bit older."

He high-fived me again, for good measure.



The bowels of Brooklyn... or maybe it was the gall bladder

Sunday morning, Father’s Day, I’m in the Telephone Bar with my computer. The music on the restaurant stereo is a 60s compilation: first up “My Girl,” now it’s “Build Me Up Buttercup.” Even though this music’s original intention was to be played through tinny AM radio speaker the stuff sounds really good.

Now “Stand By Me.” Yes, songs were short back then.

The older British dude that comes in here on Sundays just walked in. He’s customer 3, Customer 1 left just before I got here. It doesn’t get busy here until 2p or so. Right now, everyone is either at Café Orlin or the Mud Café.

Last night, D, my partner-in-crime, and I went out to the middle of nowhere that is "East" Williamsburg (!!!! I know: what the heck is THAT?) to see a band called the Reveling. Their claim to fame, or at least, the reason one would hunt them down if one weren’t a friend or a relative, is their drummer, the phenomenal Jay Weinberg, son of the famous Max. Happily, it turned out the band he's in is just as good as he is.

After a confusing ride on the J train – normal people don’t take the J train unless they can’t avoid it -- we got out at the scary-looking Lorimer Stop, an elevated stop that was begging to be renovated, much like all the other stops on the J train. We followed a terminally hip couple down one of the staircases to the street; we figured they must know where they were going. They didn’t. Besides, it turned out they weren’t going where we were going, anyway. We had a map we printed out from HopStop.com, and managed to find the right street, and even the address, but there wasn’t a club there.

Now what?

There was still some daylight, which was good, because the neighborhood seemed a bit sketchy. In front of the address, a band was unpacking their gear. The Reveling. We were in the right place. But where was that?

The band was very nice, and pointed toward a door.

“Is this someone’s apartment?” I said.

“Kind of. It’s a recording studio.”


After walking through a hallway of what looked like dorm rooms, we got to the room where the bands were setting up. It was one of those lovely unfinished spaces that has multiple uses. There was a card table set up that was the “bar,” and the “stage” was a throw rug. There was graffiti all over the walls, not the spray-can or air-brush variety, but the kind you might see in a men’s room stall, executed in red and black Sharpie. (Yes, I have been in a men’s room stall, Go ahead and come to your own conclusions.) I didn’t realize that there was any significance to it, other than self-expression, until I noticed the large red letters that were prominent just behind the stage that read, “Kidney Cancer.” Oh. Of course. These are all band names. The Rodeo Bar in Manhattan has a similar thing, with their bar covered with stickers from various bands who have played there over the years.

We were late; the show was supposed to start at 8p, and it was well after that, but it turned out we were actually really early. It kind of felt that we had come 3 hours early to the prom, and they were still putting the streamers up in the gym. The long-haired dude who was manning the door told us they would probably be starting around 9p, so we went to Bushwick Avenue to get coffee.

They started at 9:30. There were about 12 people in the audience, but somehow, with the lights out, it seemed like a club.

The first band was Aquadora, fronted by the aforementioned long-haired dude. He explained that he usually plays guitar, but both of his wrists were injured in a car accident, so he was just singing tonight.  The music was fast, melodic, kind of psychedelic, rock and roll, and it was quite good. Our frontman sang the whole set with his back to the audience, which I thought maybe was his signature pose, but we found out that my friend D was right: he was being shy.

“I’m usually holding my guitar,” he later explained.

Unfortunately, the mics were not working properly, and the vocals were barely audible, almost completely drowned out by the bass and drums. Now I understood why my ex-insignificant other used to obsess about the volume of his vocals.

At one point, a tall, friendly, red-headed guy caught my eye and said – well, yelled, “Are you excited yet?”

Rather than yell back, I gave him a thumbs up.

 "I'm excited," he said.

 D informed me that this was the Reveling’s bass player, Dennis,

The Reveling was next. While the other band was clearing off the stage, and Jay and his girlfriend were setting up his drums, Dennis was going around offering ear plugs.

“We’re okay,” I said. “That wasn’t that loud.”

“It’s going to be,” Dennis said. We took the earplugs.

Their music was a mix of the Ramones and the Cure. This was their last night of ten-straight nights of gigs, and their front man’s voice was shot. No problem; the band that would follow them, the Young Hearts, all surrounded him and joined in on the vocals. Seven guys singing. And we could just about hear them.

Jay Weinberg was a man possessed, a thrill to watch and a bigger thrill to hear, but that doesn’t at all take away from the other musicians in these three groups, all of them madly energetic, wildly proficient musicians. The Young Hearts had a similar song style to the Reveling, maybe a bit less melodic, but, hard to tell when all you’ve got is the rhythm section. But great energy, and I look forward to hearing these songs with the lyrics and everything.

The Reveling will be playing at the Ace of Clubs at 9 Great Jones St, under the Acme Bar and Grill, on September 18th. That’s a Friday, so if you’re anywhere near New York City, you should check it out.

The Reveling website. If you get on their mailing list, you can download some of their songs for free.

Aquadora on MySpace.

Young Hearts website.

I would like to add a link for the venue, as well, but I have to double check that I have the right information. (I was told to list it under a different name than what we were originally told.) Stay tuned.



Lost Tunnel of Atlantic Avenue

It's hard to believe that I've lived in New York City for three decades and have never climbed down a manhole.

Until yesterday, when my friends K and V and I took a tour of Brooklyn's first subway tunnel. Of course, one doesn't have this kind of adventure without it being photo-documented.

The next tunnel tour will be on July 19th
, 11 am and 1pm. It's BYOFL (bring your own flashlight).

UPDATE: For some reason, the LA Times had a story about this. Link is here.



New Yorker, Cooler

Add this to the New York Cool list:

Article from EW here.


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