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The Long Winding Road That Leads To NYC Wi-Fi

May 29th, 2017 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Coffee Shops · Hotels · Music · Wi-Fi

4TH Big Flag

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all who have served and especially for those brave souls and their loved ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

With all due respect for the holiday, PingWi-Fi.com is open for business and blogging …

On the second free day in Manhattan, I blogged for a couple of hours in my favorite Bryant Park, south of the mammoth green footprint of Central Park.  Then I ventured to Times Square.  More than anything, I wanted to see the tribute for the victims of the insane car/pedestrian attack … that atrocity on the very day I arrived in New York.

 

Empire Clear

Empire

Hmmm … I can’t think of many other reasons to do Times Square, other that to blog that you did.  It is a mass of the darker side of humanity — where even civilized people resort to more animal instincts to push and shove.  Sure, the people watching is fascinating, especially if you like immigrants who have yet to assimilate into American society … you know, mixed with tourists taking photos of advertisements … Ok, ok, I have taken some shots of the huge format ads in this market too … but anywho.

Man … I just heard Stevie Wonder’s classic commentary on inner city New York — “Living For The City.”  Such social commentary, voiced in a positive, musical way … and now my new theme song for this trip. (Heard on Classic Long Island Radio … available anywhere on the Internet, btw.)  Oh wow.  Classic Long Island just played my favorite Aretha Franklin … evah!  “Sparkle!” (Do you know it … one in which Curtis Mayfield influenced her to sing and showcase that voice, rather than yell … )

Back to the streets … It was with misguided farmboy pride that I took note that the Ping had the longest hair of any man in Times Square, barring one.

Yep … The Naked Cowboy! … Ha, the fellar is getting up there in years but still draws a circle of women, desperately holding on to every note from the Fruit-Of-The-Loom crooner’s guitar.  Yes, captain undies is aging a bit.  Have you seen him?  Do you admit it?  One has to wonder if he will soon hang up his briefs and let the next generation of naked cowboys serenade the women of Manhattan.  Will the Naked Cowboy 2.0 trade in those tighty-whiteys for boxers? Will there be alternative Americana skivvy skiffle bands?   Will this tripping troubadour prance around Time Square forever?  I digress …

 

Coke Adds Life

Coke Adds Life

Yes … about an hour of holiday overflow at Times Square was about all I could take.  There wasn’t a single thing that warranted removing the Nikon from the backpack, in my opinion … including the hefty ladies painted red, white and blue accompanying an old man in a blond wig impersonating what the lost left think of President Donald Trump.

Oh … but the architecture of this city … and the people watching up and down 5th Avenue, The Avenue of The Americans, Broadway, 42nd Street … the subways! Priceless.

 

East River

East River

Priceless, unlike the free CDs some rap “musician” pressed into my hand, as he guessed that I am from Australia.  Great gimmick.  They find out your name, personalize and autograph the CD sleeve, and ask for a donation so they can “go on their world tour.” Ha … “Go … fund me, buddy.” The psychology … they have written your name on the cover, so you feel bad and buy the thing.  Ha … he didn’t realize he was dealing with a disaster-cleaner-upper (see Dirty Gig throughout this site) and I advised him that cleaning chemical compounds AC12 and/or OC24 will kick that sharpie’s ass.  And I handed it back. Wished him luck.

The Eastern version of the rapper’s scam was perpetrated around the streets by Buddhist monks. The grimy, orange-robed “holymen” get up in your grill and force a thin, shiny, gold-colored medallion into your hand, and pretty much force you to take it as they grab your hand to bless you with a handshake from a very grubby hand … just before lunch time, I might add … and they say “Take … and take eternal peace.” Finally, you accept the piece of junk so they will leave you alone.  Then they say eternal peace will be $3.29.  You can guess where — in my mind — I told the monk to put his peace token. I much prefer the yellow-robed Buddhist beggars in Asian who sit outside McDonalds, stoically and humbly, with a metal pan for you to offer up alms … guys who live in spiritual, poverty bliss … who can glean the Egg McMuffin remnants off a discarded wrapper like a Dyson in a whirlwind … I digress.

However, I am not always as patient and kind, as with the reverence I showed to this man of the cloth (probably a plumber from Queens, moonlighting in a toga for a little extra coin).

Because … it seems … Pretty sure my transformation into a curmudgeon is near complete.  I find myself increasingly blurting out the things that previously were safely contained in thought bubbles above my head.  Ha … is it age? Turrets?  Is it road weariness?  Common sense in a counter-intuitive, rude, president-bashing world?

I don’t know, but these off-the-cuff remarks have helped me cope along the way and you are invited to used them whenever applicable. For the sake of other travelers, this is a compilation of polite little Ping-isms that will assist you in navigating New York, or any city for that matter:

  • “This is a bottleneck (in the grocery aisle).  Move.”
  • “This is called a bottleneck situation (at the velvet rope in the museum). Move.”
  • “Move your cart or arse to one side of the sidewalk as you read a text.”
  • “Stopping your baby carriage at the foot of the escalator to change that dirty diaper may be a bad idea.”
  • “If you aren’t courteous enough to avoid me when you walk, I do throw elbows.”
  • “You know, if I twist just right, my backpack comes up just to your face level.”
  • “Couldn’t you have waited to expel that after the short elevator ride?”
  • “You do know there is a tiny bathroom on the plane, right?”
  • “Move at least six feet from the breakfast buffet if you are going to continue to pick your nose.”
  • “Yes you can sit your plastic bag on any table in the cafe, except for this one.”
  • “Hostess, could you choose a table for me a little bit closer to the foul bathroom?”
  • “Sure buddy … no better place to blow your nose than the condiments counter at Starbucks.”
  • “Yes I ordered something else off the menu, but  somehow I feel obligated to eat and pay for the wrong item you brought me.”
  • “Well thank you for coughing on me, because merely burying your head in your sleeve is so anticlimactic.”
  • “You won’t mind if I neglect to shake that hand you just coughed into … will you?”
  • “What a great strategy to get smoking outlawed universally … your standing in the door opening to blow smoke back into the hotel.”
  • “It is cuter when your kid’s fidgety spinner toy flies into your stack of waffles, not mine.”
  • “Thank you for hitting me in the back of the head with your coats again, as I sit on the museum steps.”
  • “Exploding things in your microwave at home — cool.  Hotel breakfast buffet — uncool.”
  • “You know, that device around your waste, the one holding up your trousers, will curtail that rude misbehavior in you 5-year-old … in a flash.”
  • “If you roll your eyes one more time at that young mom doing her best to quiet an infant — just being an infant — I will twist your ear off.”
  • “By all means cut in line, you are obviously much more important than everyone else.”

Ooh … so much bad karma.  Good thing I believe in the Living God and not karma. And yes, I could use much more kindness, joy, humility, thankfulness and brotherly love as Jesus taught … but I am trying … forever a work in progress, we Christians …

Sunday, I did stream my home church, back in Texas, to my hotel in New York  … maybe Ted’s message on “eating spinach” … taking the bad things in life to experience joy when you might not expect it … will prevail in me …

ChristChapelFortWorth

Ha … Do you know the old joke?: “Your karma ran over my dogma.”  Love it … I digress …

As I passed one of several obnoxious, booming sound systems of people chanting sophomoric ghetto/jumprope cadence poetry, with aggression, attitude and a monotonous beat (hip hop/rap artists), mentally, I thought back to the wonderful musicians from the day before … playing for donations all over Central Park.  Musicians who have practiced and slaved and practiced for years to perfect their creativity and musical artisanship … Throughout Central Park these guys select the alcoves under arched bridges for the awesome acoustics.  I threw a few bucks here and there into their accordion cases, their guitar cases and their hats as I listened and even recorded a few musical passages.

 

Central Accordion

My favorite of the day was an old gentleman of color, small, bandy-legged, cotton for hair and beard, and one booming diaphragm firing up some of the sweetest trombone love I have ever heard.  And I hate the trombone … or at least I thought I did because my parents forced me, unsuccessfully, to try to play the thing in grade school … Ha! I ended up cutting the slide off the thing and making a bong from the instrument in college, with a carburetor from the “spit valve.”  Don’t tell anyone.  I digress …

For the record, these days I don’t even drink alcohol, so it is doubly quirky that I need a wineglass in my hotel. It seems, I so enjoyed wine in a wine glass in the old days, that is the way I now enjoy tamer fruit juice.  So, when my hotel didn’t have a loaner glass, the other day, I walked to a nearby bar and offered to buy a wine glass … if the price was right.

“That’s a new one!  You want to buy a wine glass!?!  How ‘bout I sell you a shot and I just give you a glass?” the young bartender said, scratching his head.  I said, I don’t drink so he turned to the manager, who went in the back of the bar to bring the owner in on this negotiation.  Ha … alone … the bartender asked me what I bid.  “Well a wine glass is about a buck at Target, but I don’t have a Target … so two bucks,” I said.  “Make it three!” he countered.  I was pulling out three greenbacks, and snatched up the stem, when the manager returned.  “Ten dollars.”  Well … see you later Mr. No-Fun Bar …

So anyway about the Central Park musicians, as I walked up, this ‘bonist was playing the sweetest, mellow brass version of “TheTheme From ‘Exodus.’” Do you know the old instrumental classic?  This perfect musical moment was bordering on spiritual … and then boom … just like that, he morphed the song into the theme from “Mary Poppins” … “chim-chim-cheroo” and all that … a few seconds later, he attacked and won with his version of Chicago’s 25-or-6-2-4.  And then after a few seconds, back to his signature tune … the instrumental version, emulating “Good luck will rub off when I shake hands with you.”  (Hey! That was pretty much the same thing the monk was selling.  Wonder if Buddhists believe in Mary Poppins???)

There was a cool jazz trio, with a sax and a stand-up bass at the park trail where I took lunch, on a bench under a canopy of green.  Ha … I washed essence of monk from my hands, ate, gave them a few bucks, and then pulled off my glasses and popped in my contact lenses as the band played on.  The band didn’t stop to tell me so, but I bet they were thinking “you know, this is the first time we have ever played for a guy putting in his contact lenses.”  Bar mitzvahs … maybe … but not this.

Another park bridge featured a tiny, ancient Asian man, playing an even more ancient stringed instrument — lets just call it a FOO … an unknown instrument From Oriental Origin. You would know the sound, and perhaps the name of the instrument … prolly has Kyoto in the name … It is that more squawky cousin of the violin … more tinny … but also played with a bow.  Metaphorically, his sweet music transformed the under-bridge “amphitheater” into the underbelly of some Chinese junk out on the open seas … or a an opium den … or whatever Asian cliche setting come to mind.  It was excellent.

And then there was the mad Pole playing some pretty mad polka on his accordion … I threw down my back pack a few feet away to enjoy the billowy wailing of his keyboard … when I was subtly accosted by some older cougar in those cataract-easing oversized, dark shades.  She read my t-shirt as her ice breaker.  “Triumph … that’s a motorcycle right?”  She had me at “motorcycle.”  No better way to engage a scooter guy than to startup a chat with motorcycle talk.  Our ensuing conversation was a New York combo of weird, perhaps creepy and also kind of interesting — talking to her for 10 minutes or so … ha … mainly listening … as she told me of her 35-year career as a chef and her exploits with Euro tourists on the back of a BMW bike roadtrip … and her plans to also someday start a blog.  I listened, politely, secretly glad that this professional cook’s fingernails were much more clean than her toenails protruding from flipflops … I guess we all have our quirks … I liked her.  I am sure she just goes to the park for conversation and is very nice.  I thanked her for an unusual, but pleasant New York moment.

Meanwhile … Travel blogging is happening.  The Dirty Gig in Queens (working on a huge transformer/power substation for a railway system that go toasted) took a three-day holiday.  Some co-workers flew home.  Me?  A three-day “shore leave” in the Big Apple?  I take that.

Here we go! (When did “Here we go” become a thing, that most bands say it at least once on stage???)

 

Trump Tower

So … as you probably know, when in New York just hop on a train, and head into Midtown, choose north or south and walk.  You will happen upon all the hotspots.  Perhaps none more timely than my first stop in Manhattan.  I saw police barricades, which caught my attention. I looked up and I saw gold.  Ah … Trump Tower!  This is the second time I have “stumbled” on Trump’s place.  The first time, a few years ago, I noticed a very nice tour bus parked on the street.  Then I noticed a 7-ft, 4-inch German dude with a Dallas Mavericks bag climbing aboard the bus, followed by a bunch of 6-8 dudes.  What were the odds, for a Forth Worth guy to happen upon The Mavs in Manhattan after a road game?  I guess that was when The Donald and The Cuban were on more amicable terms.

This time, the secret service and police officers and anti-terrorism squad and what-have-you made it even easier to find the 14-karat skyscraper.

You bet I checked the Wi-Fi inside and grabbed a couple of Trump shirts.  I was kind of hush-hush about the the shirt grab.  I didn’t want to be inundated with souvenir requests … sorry.  Ha … some of you think I am kidding.  Even more than I expected, business was booming at Trumpville.  The lower levels of the tower were crawling with excited tourists from all over the world.  Don’t believe every negative thing you hear on a biased evening newscast.

Oh … the Wi-Fi I used at The Trump was provided by my good friend Starbucks.   It was typically good.  They tend to standardize their offering, dontcha know?  I supposed the coffee giant has no problem making money off the folks who visit and/or work in Trump Tower … despite their whacky politics up in the PacNorthWest.

Safety is what we do.

No Donald or first family spotted, or it may have been a perfect score of seven pings.  Good hotspot, great souvenirs and people watching with machine guns ready … six pings!

Any time I visit New York, I hit The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Fact checkers check me, but I believe that is where I saw a great exhibit of weaponry throughout the ages, just a few years ago … hmmm or was that The MOMA? … complete with decorative, gold-inlayed hand guns.  Uncanny, isn’t that … in crime-ridden, misguided, gun-fearing New York?

2 Egyptian, Temple sized

The ancient Egyptian stone temple, reassembled in a huge, naturally lit wing of the museum, I love most (written in the vernacular of Yoda for no apparent reason).

But regardless, The Met is a central hub of activity, and a nice reward for my three- or four-mile trek through Central Park at this point.  Hmmm … I wasn’t feeling the Wi-Fi love in Central Park, and I find that surprising for this advanced city.  I digress …

The Met had quick, easy and smart Wi-Fi … There was no password required per se, however they asked my e-mail address, which I readily donated to their cause.  (The next day I got an invitation to join as a member or to browse their Monet poster prints and such online.  Smart.

 

Met Sailors

The Met

Also interesting and you may know, The Met displays a suggested admission price for various age groups.  But, they accept whatever donation you wish to give.  Anyone bid $1 like on Price Is Right? I stepped up to the plate, and suggested they put $5 back on my debit card, since we were again in a “Go-Fund-Me” frame of mind.  Just kidding … I gladly donated what I determined to be a working-journalist contribution … Somewhere between the going rate of eternal peace and the senior citizen discount price.

Back to Central Park for another walk and soon I poked my head out of the trees to check out The Guggenheim Museum.  I have never visited it before, having had a previous bad experience there.  Ha … the bad experience was walking all the way there and finding it closed for renovations … years ago, but it left a big “closed” sign in my subconscious.

The Guggenheim Wi-Fi was a similar sign up to The Met hotspot.

 

3 Guggenheim Spiral sized

Guggenheim

Love it.  The Guggenheim is an architectural masterpiece, and totally out of this world … unless you have ever walked up the circular path of a parking garage … relax New Yorkers … I was only joking.  The Guggenheim is roughly 10 stories of art gallery, with a circular ramp that corkscrews around the open atrium.  The atrium has a colorful, static sculpture dangling … the “trademark” of Alexander Calder.  (Hey by the way, anyone know what happened to the monstrous, red, steel, Calder piece that used to be in Downtown Fort Worth???) The Guggenheim’s spiraling ramp has a wall on one side — or otherwise you would be outside … and the wall and its nooks are covered with masterpiece after masterpiece from the worlds of painting as well as various sculptures.  There’s Degas, Picasso, Manet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Pollack, Kandinsky, Chagall  … shall we go on?

 

5 Paris Through The Window - Chagall sized

“Paris Through The Window,” Chagall

Next rant … Bryant Park … contagious.  You know how someone sneezes or coughs in the coffee shop or conference room then the sniffles and coughs and such reverberate around the room?  Or when people yawn, all of the sudden everyone is stretching their faces and arms at the same time.  Well, in Bryant park where everyone is hanging with family, friends and lovers I noticed a trend circling the park not unlike the wave at a sporting event.  A young couple kissed, and lo and behold the couple at the next table kissed … then another … then another … I mean, I worry about so very few original thinkers in this world today, but at least if you are going to trend, a kiss is a nice way to get on board. I took action to make sure I wasn’t sitting too close to any strangers … I digress …

 

NYC Skyscrapers

Yes, I took a chance on the free Wi-Fi at Bryant Park.  It had all the looks of a municipal Wi-Fi hotspot, with a splash page, requiring that I claimed I read the disclaimer, before I selected to join.  Ha … I don’t think phishing schemes bother with the fine print acceptance form, but I don’t know.

pingx6-score

 

 

Bryant Park has superb people watching, lots of sun on a cool afternoon, decent Wi-Fi — heavily tilted toward the locals, rather than the tourists encountered at the museum.  Most of this blog was written at a tiny table, sitting in a very uncomfortable, yet nostalgic metal and wooden fold-up chair … (pretty sure I now have “BRYANT PARK” waffled into the skin of my back from the engraved label … six pings.

Hotels … let’s talk hotels.  Rising out of the metropolitan sameness like a magic castle and/or military fortress was The Plaza Hotel.  Anyone old enough to remember the ups and downs of Leona Helmsley?  … Her place, R.I.P. But, my “travel agent” somehow left me off the guess list at The Plaza.  I marveled at it as I walked by, wondering how much they must charge for wireless Internet.

My slightly more humble accommodations started in Queens, close to The Dirty Gig at an older facility, now branded as a Holiday Inn Express.  I am not too choosy and thought it was fine.  Interesting that it apparently was affordable enough that some peopled actually lived there full time, while we were only guests for a week.  As mentioned previously in the blog, The HIE has good Wi-Fi, but it did that bothersome thing where it asks for the passcode EVERY time you log on … even if you power down and back up in the same day.  Hate that.  And then there was the unannounced password update.  Being the detective type that I am, I knew this to be the case when I couldn’t get on.  A call to the front desk, and I too was in on the secret … this new weekly passcode.

pingx4-score2

 

 

Nice staff at The Holiday Inn … a new friend from Azerbaijan … “Anna from Azerbaijan” she is now called.  Hard to believe the old Soviet block dissolved so many years ago that this young lady in her 20s was pretty much raised in the United States … hardly a trace of an accent.  We like Azerbaijanis because they rhyme with pajamies … 4 pings.

All around the Holiday Inn were The Poles.  Delis with polish sausages and polish pickles in brine … and churches dedicated to St. Stanislas … And new frozen treats from their homeland … which apparently must be awash in blond hair.  As I did laundry on Flushing, in Queens, a young Polish American was detailing his FWD Jeep out came over and stopped to chat for a while.  He even offered for me to use his Wi-Fi hotspot!  (I asked him if he was stealing my credit card numbers as I logged on …)  I really don’t expect people in a New York borough to be so nice.  Life is good.  He was a caterer, whose American dream started at minimum wage and had elevated to a couple of hundred dollars per hour for his catering expertise.  He said the three-bedroom apartment he shared with two women — also Polish — ran about $1500 a month … slightly less than what I expected, but he explained there wasn’t a mass transit stop in his immediate neighborhood.  Good to know.

If you tire of Poles … there’s always TV … Weird to watch portions of both Dallas’ Byron Nelson golf tournament and Fort Worth’s storied Colonial from my hotel room in New York.  No coverage available, that I could find, of Big 12 baseball, despite the high national rankings of that league’s teams.  Ha … but women’s software was everywhere on the telly.  Anyone else notice the urgency with which the sports channel is wooing women and alternative lifestyle viewers in the selection of what they choose to cover?  Look for the FFL soon … The Flag Football League, where there are no head injuries and hitting below the waste is encouraged, ever so gently. I digress …

Back to hotels — the group consensus among my co-workers was that we deserved better than the aging Holiday Inn Express with its many many security guards (you know they have to be there for a reason).  So, while some coworkers were back home for the holiday, my friend Brent and I moved, seperately, to a newer, more swank, boutique hotel — The Home2 Suites by Hilton.  We are closer to the city with an awesome view, though still in Queens near the Queens Plaza area, so immediately we noticed more parking hassles.

Oh the hassle of storing a car, having to get someone to go get it … to hop in the car, drive it with my own natural intelligence (don’t get me started on the science fiction evils of letting cars drive themselves …) just to go to a supermarket … if you can find a supermarket.  Sure I love the neighborhood deli for smoked meats and a cold pop … but you cant do any serious shopping there.  You have to carry if for a few blocks.  And, my family has strict instructions to just go ahead and shoot me if I ever succumb to using a little luggage cart for a small bag of groceries, a laptop or my carry-on case.)

I think our team may have to flip coins to see who gets to park their rental car at night and who gets to drive around all night, hoping to park.  The Wi-Fi seems to be excellent at Home2, with a definite upgrade at the buffet breakfast … a more upscale gourmet approach to waffles, fruit, pastries, oatmeal with some gouda to accompany the sausage buns this time.

Jessica

Jessica

I have no idea where my new friend Jessica, at Home2, is from … but she is already one of my favorite people in New York since she texted me the street address of the hotel, when I told her my e-mail itinerary had an errant link to the address.  She also tried her darnedest to upgrade me to a nicer room with an even better view.  Still working on a top floor space, but meanwhile, my sixth floor space affords a nice enough view of Manhattan … not bad for night photography and a little blogging too.

pingx6-score3

 

 

Jessica could have 7 pings on her own for her attention to detail and superb customer service … but alas the parking situation — a fact of life in New York — deducted one point — 6 pings.

Fun game going on at the breakfast buffet … a huge, trash-dumpster variety of fly (not everything is bigger in Texas) has learned exactly how the automatic doors work … and he buzzes in to check out the buffet, goes outside for some stagnant air … comes back in to land on a croissant … flies out to see if people are curbing their dogs … yes … ooh. Swish. Buzz.  Swish. Buzz …

For something entirely different, the other day, I also checked out a kava bar in Brooklyn, House of Kava.  Nice place. HOK is much smaller than the kava bars in Austin, Texas, but then everything is bigger in Texas … wahmp, wahmp wahmp … I remembered tweeting about this New York kava bar when I first learned of it opening … two-three years after SquareRüt in Austin.  But I liked HOK, on my first visit.  I didn’t even check to see if HOK has Wi-Fi.  I was busy listening to the enthusiastic spiel of the cafe’s owner, a New York transplant from Florida (where most mainland Americans first discovered the drink from the South Pacific).

I preface my opinion of House of Kava — in full disclosure — by saying my family owns SquareRüt and I have a hand in the Texas kava brand.  However, that being said, I found the Fijian strain of kava served in Brooklyn to be less earthy (a good thing) but perhaps less potent than the drink I am accustomed to back in Texas — the latter being a strain of kava from Vanuatu. In addition, instant powder kava was not available to take back to the hotel.  Bummer … Lastly, there was a major difference in philosophy between the New York kava joint and those back in Texas … kratom.  Kratom is an additive or optional ingredient in kava in Florida and in New York, for example.  The owners of the SquareRüt locations, chose not to go down that road, due to some controversy.  Google it … you decide.  I almost deducted a point because the kava tender forgot about me for a while … but he earned the point back when he told me that he too was a Ween fan.  Ween was playing that night in Brooklyn at a new venue called Brooklyn Steel.  Didn’t get to go, to either of the two Ween shows on consecutive nights … but I so want to check that concert place out.

pingx5-score1

 

 

House Of Kava is tiny, and after a quick sales pitch to accept kava, although I have dabbled in kava for years … I felt stranded at the bar … perhaps it is a New York thing … five biased pings … even though the Yankee kava and the Southern kava forces are following each other in social media.

Hmmm …. What next?  I headed out to Battery Park the other night, but just drove around and went home after finding no place to park.  In retrospect, I think the GPS took me to The Battery rather than Battery Park.  I have seen the park before, but it has been years.  I thought perhaps the changes after 9-11 may have made it less accessible.  I will try again.  It offers a great view of The Statue of Liberty without leaving Lower Manhattan.

I always marvel at the number of tourists who travel to Lower Manhattan to make selfies at the bull statue on Wall Street …

Bullish Showdown On Wall Street

The other night, after Central Park and the two museums, I headed south in Queens, along The East River, enjoying the urban renewal or gentrification starting to sweep Queens, with its close proximity to pricey Manhattan.  There are lots of high rises going up and an eclectic mix of young urban professionals (if they still use that term), affluent immigrants and the previous predominant demographic groups still holding on to their foothold as a wave of new blood moves in.

The Gutter, Brooklyn

The Gutter, Brooklyn

Excellent.  I saw a redbrick warehouse of a building — as I walked near the river — with a new sign: “The Gutter.”  “I know this place …”  No wait.  The Gutter I know from this blog, a few years ago, is in Brooklyn.  So, I poked my head in.  It turns out this gutter is the sister of The Gutter in Brooklyn. It is a very hip little bar and grill, retrofitted with four or five bowling lanes.  How fun.  This Gutter just opened.  Sorry to say, The Queen Gutter doesn’t have live music like its Gutter sister.  (Something sounds really wrong with saying “queen gutter” and “gutter sister” … I digress.)

The Gutter Brooklyn

Random, recurring thought as I walk and/or drive just about anywhere in New York.  I noticed this three years ago when I worked on a different New York job … and it is even more prevalent now that medicinal marijuana is acceptable in The Empire State.  There must be a lot of ailing people seeking medical relief.  The smell of ganja is EVERYWHERE in New York, from the sketchiest public housing project to nice revitalized brownstone neighborhoods, to hotels of all calibers.  And believe you me, this is not the grassfire variety at the concerts of my youth.  There is this ever-present aroma of The Garden of Eden … everywhere.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that …

 

The Beatles

Final thought.  My “sponsor” normally doesn’t spring for Sirius satellite radio in my rental car.  But this time, either through oversight or luck of the draw, I have great tunes!  You’ve “heard me talk” of the wonders of good music to provide the soundtrack to a great road trip … Well … I am convinced there is no better soundtrack for New York City than the All Beatles station on Sirius radio.  Visualize the historic television footage of the live performances on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York … or the footage of The Beatles rocking Shea Stadium, the boys almost audible above the shrill cries of tens of thousands of insane fans … All those masterpieces: I Want To Hold Your Hand, Help, Love Is All You Need … The Walrus Is Paul … While My Guitar Gently Weeps … Penny Lane … Helter Skelter … Yesterday … Get Back … and of course Strawberry Fields Forever … a must when you cruise around Central Park and its tribute garden to John Lennon.  That, to me, is a New York State of mind. Have you tuned in? … The playlist is comprised of The Beatles recordings … the Beatles later solo projects and even some pretty interesting covers and/or songs by artists connected with The Beatles … perhaps most notably Bad Finger, McCartney’s proteges — the first non-Beatle act on Apple Records … I digress … Hmmm … wonder if there is a Sirius channel for The Clash.

Here we go …

Know what I sayin?