NYC, nothing is certain but death and taxes, and book is still on the shelf

Well it’s been a month since NYC so all my experiences have had time to ruminate and I’ve had time to download all Troy’s pictures.  All photos herein are courtesy of Troy Taylor.

So we left out of O’Hare at 6:30 August 25th and as soon as we got the shuttle from LaGuardia to the hotel they let us do an early check-in and we were grateful.  We stayed at LaQuinta in Korea Town (32nd and 33rd Streets off of Herald Square) and it was an excellent hotel!  Free coffee and cold water in the basement, excellent maid service, wonderful concierge who got us tickets to Dave Chappelle at Radio City.

We walked through times Square and stopped at Shake Shack along the way for hot dogs and bacon cheese fries.  Chappelle must have been recording the show because they made everyone put their cell phones into these tamper resistant pouches.  I’d never seen anything like that before.  Unfortunately, since there were 3 comedians and a music act (one was a guy from Chappelle Show who was known for saying, “I’m rich, bitch” and the music act was Solange), we were so tired we fell asleep through Chappelle.  Most of the jokes were about Trump but I couldn’t tell you what they were.  But watch for it, I bet one or two of the shows will be on Netflix.

The next day we went passed the Empire State

on the way to a diner on 38th.  It was called Moonstruck On Madison and the Western Omelettes were really good.

So was the coffee.  🙂

Later, we met my friend Sasha at Grace Coffee next door to the hotel.  (I’m a writer in AA, can never get enough coffee.) Was good to see her and hear her news.  Troy was feeling kinda sick so I walked from 32nd to 18th to my old job, Academy Records while he naped.  No one remembered me but it was 2000 when I worked there and I was about 200 lbs lighter and had long hair.  I bought a Jeff Buckley rarity, a Meat Puppets album and Billy Bragg and Wilco’s Mermaid Avenue. All of which I should have owned already.   Conor Bezane recently looked through my CD collection and said I owned some amazing music.  So there’s an endorsement for you.

Troy was tired that night so we ordered a pizza.  Then we went to VU, the rooftop bar at LaQuinta which is where the shot of the Empire State at the beginning was from.  Bartender was super nice and didn’t charge me for water so I tipped her one or two bucks a round and brought her the rest of the pizza we ordered.  She was touched I thought of her.  Her coworker ate both huge slices on her though, but said she didn’t mind cos the poor girl was really hungry.

The next day we met my friend Mark in Central Park.  Before that we took a walk by my old school, Fordham University. The Ram Van which I used to drive still operates!  We had corned beef and pastrami at my old haunt, the Olympic Flame, then walked up to meet Mark.  Here are some photos Troy took while we waited:

You know you can’t smoke in NYC parks anymore?  No one gave us trouble for doing it, so I think it’s a nudge, nudge, wink, wink kind of thing but, man.  We used to smoke all kinds of things in Sheep’s Meadow and even celebrated a 4/20 there, followed by High Fidelity at the nearby theatre.

It was so good to see all my NYC friends, but especially Mark.  He moved from Chicago in 2012 and had to leave the restaurant business he loved for reasons I can’t disclose here.  He now sells some of the best pianos in the world and I loved seeing him.  He called us kindred spirits, which I love because it’s an L.M. Montgomery term.  You may not know this but I was obsessed with Anne of Green Gables as a kid so much so that my parents took me to Prince Edward Island for my 8th grade graduation.  It is beautiful so if you ever get a chance to go, do it.

But NYC has a beauty to it as well.  Some people think it’s harsh and unforgiving, but as I wrote in Scenester Gatz, “there is a nature to it which is feminine, cyclical.”  You have to go with the flow in NYC.  There’s surprises everywhere.

Mark treated us to a cab up to the Met, but it was almost closing so we just went to the gift shop where I bought my mom a Tiffany window scarf.  It matches the lamp in her bedroom.  She was happy with that and said it was versatile.  She gave me $150 so thanks, Mom!  And yes, if anyone wants stained glass done, hit me up here, my mom does it.  I’ll give her your info.

We sat and talked outside the Met with Mark for a while, then he had to go so we took the M1 bus down 5th Ave so Troy could see the Plaza and all the ritzy shops from the window.  He enjoyed that.  Think we went to an Irish pub that night, nothing special.

The next day I was up in the middle of the night writing a journal (pen and paper) entry and went back to bed so we got a late start to Coney Island.  Yes, we had a Nathan’s hot dog and rode the Wonder Wheel.  Troy rode the Cyclone.  I’m too fat for it.  Lol.

Then we went to a freak show which was fascinating.  They had a small person getting out of a straighjacket, a man put a drill bit and a spike up his nose, a sword swallower and fire eater, and the most interesting part was a man in a wheelchair who did a segment called “Ask Me Anything.”  He had a degenerative bone disease which meant he had broken over 100 bones in his body.  So the questions ranged from, “Did you attend a special school?” to “Are you married?”  He was wearing a wedding ring and he was married.  I asked him how he takes the subway and he says he doesn’t and “NYC needs to step it up.  Get it, step it up?”  He played guitar after that and the guy who put a spike up his nose showed us how the old sawing someone in half works.

Then we went to the famous Katz Deli and had corned beef and pastrami and a plate of pickles.  There we met Adam Harrington of CBS News and he got a sandwich and had to carry it around cos they wouldn’t let him eat it at the rooftop bar at our hotel.  We had a few drinks up there then walked him to the train and on the way back got a snack of Korean fried chicken.  OMG Katz was great, but that just capped off a day of eating.  Nathan’s, Katz, discovering Korean fried chicken, which Mark recommended.  It tastes like honey butter batter with cayenne and cumin.  Sounds weird but delicious with just a tiny bit of heat.  If you’ve never tried it, treat yourself.

The next day we had to leave so we had the hotel store our bags and went to the Staten Island Ferry so Troy could see the Statue of Liberty.  He said it was cool but he wouldn’t go again.  Besides we went Saturday so a lot of tourists figured out you could ride the ferry free and see the statue just as well as paying to go to Governor’s Island.  So Troy couldn’t get a good shot, but he got a good shot of the city from Staten Island.

So we got back to the hotel just in time to catch the shuttle to the airport.  Flew out at 7:30pm and my sister Eileen kindly picked us up.  Rested the next day at my mom’s condo and caught up with all my friends, telling them about the trip and saying home safe and thank you to NYC friends.  I miss NYC, and here are some of my reflections on it.

Adam said the population had stayed the same since 2001 when I left, but it seemed like there were 1 or 2 million more people there than I remember.  May have been all the tourists in the city because the real New Yorkers are in the Hamptons in August.  I mentioned how you just have to go with it, and we did and we had a wonderful time.  Regret not seeing Mike Meunier but next time.  Troy sees now why I love NYC and wants to do a layover there on our way to Paris next year.  Will be great to see more of the city, more friends, more old haunts.

So the real reason Escort is delayed is because my student loans got forgiven a couple months ago which means the IRS considers that income.  So I’m going to have to pay between 3 and 4k in taxes to the IRS and keep up on the payments or they can garnish my SSDI check.  I have a little money in the bank right now (very little) and we are planning a trip to Florida in November for my birthday and Troy’s relaxation vacation away from the hell of Mariano’s overnights so no, no book for a while.  I read about a poetry prize today I might try for, $1,000 and publication, so worth a shot.  Really need to get to submitting cos it drives me nuts I always get rejected it makes me not want to submit anymore.

In craft news, I have 3 new hats made that aren’t going anywhere but Etsy.  So expect some things on there once my eyes clear from staring at the computer for this endless entry.  Some jewelry I made for my sister Mousey’s birthday to leave you with:  Go Cubs!