Moving Day...

I don't have much time for a post today, the movers will be here shortly. Kind of odd to see 19 years of my life packed up in about 15 little boxes. I'm checking into a budget hotel for a couple of nights and then I'll be live-blogging my journey back to Peoria on Thursday. Check that out if you feel like it, if not, have a sandwich or something. Happy Monday!

Further reading: Allied Van Lines, Moving On Up and Move On Up.

 I hope tomorrow you'll find better things.

Surprise link, click on it...I dare you!


A Walk To Midtown To Visit With My Mom And Dad

Before I begin today’s post, I want to thank my friend Claire who wrote a really cool post about a subject that’s near and dear to my heart: ME! Claire took the time to wrie up a post about my time in New York City and it’s beautiful, check it out at her blog here: My Private Coney Presents: It Was Her New York. Thanks Claire!

My parents came to New York last weekend for what will be our last time on the town with me as an official New Yorker. So let’s go back in time to last weekend and take that long walk to midtown and go and say hello to my mom and dad.

And here we go, headed up 6th Avenue to Midtown. It's a nice day for a walk!

And only a block into our walk and hats appear! I love it when that happens!

One of the things I'll miss about New York is stalking pretty women on the sidewalk. I've been following these two for a few blocks now.

Well, the stalking ceases here as I spy a hot dog cart. I'm having dinner with my folks, but I haven't eaten all day, so time for a tubular appetizer.

This gentlemen is preparing the hot dog and I'm a little horrified with his sloppy approach, you'll see the results in the picture below.

Look at the way he fucking slopped the mustard all over the place! And the bun was stale. I should stick to the Papaya King! Which reminds me, I need to stop there before I leave for a final dog or two.

Here I am in Herald Square, trapped in time by these two slow-walkers. Ugh.

And now I'm drowning in a sea of slow-walkers. God, I fucking hate midtown and this is one slice of NYC I will not miss at all!

No news is good news! I'm cracking myself up over here!

Why, hello Joan Rivers!

Shit like this drives me crazy. If they're redefining the word, "craftsmanship," then that means it doesn't mean craftsmanship anymore. They don't tell us what their new definition of "craftsmanship" is, so for all we knew it could mean, "cookies." And who wants to walk around with cookies on their feet? I hate these people and wasted a good five minutes staring at this sign and obsessing over it. Time to move on.

Hey look, more hats! I would tell you that I love it when this happens, but you already know that. Okay, let's move on, we're almost there.

And here we are in the elevator of my parents hotel. Well, it not their hotel, it's just where they're staying for the weekend.

We're getting close, I think their room is right down the hallway.

Okay, here we are at the door. For the last 19 years, I've been doing the same trick. I cover up the eyehole on the door, then knock. Then my mom asks who it is and I say, "Police, open up!" It never gets old, I tell you!

Here's my mom at the door! My dad is looming in the background in a chair.

And here they are, the world's cutest couple, Anne and Gerry Wombacher! My brother Tom also came along and we met up with his daughters, Cara and Caylin and Cara's fiancee, John and Caylin's boyfriend, Greg. I didn't want to bug them with photos but we had a great time and some great meals. It was great to see everyone before I depart New York City!

One of the things my mom and dad and I discussed was when I broke the news to them that I had decided to move to New York. I wrote those memories up and you can read them below.

Taking My Parents Advice, 19 Years After The Fact

My parents are great people. When I decided to move to New York, I did it in the fashion I have lived most of my life. Kind of on a crazy whim. I’ve written about this before, but in a nutshell, in April of 1993 I discovered I had a pension fund of over twenty thousand dollars from a job I had worked at for over 13 years in Peoria. I decided that night to move to New York City to pursue my writing. I had only been to New York four times in my life and knew about five people and had no job opportunities. Not exactly a recipe for success in the Big Apple, but I had made up my mind. The first people I was going to tell about this decision of a major life change was my parents.

I was a little skittish about telling them my plans because on the surface it kind of seemed like madness.
And then when you peeled this onion of an idea a few more layers in, it seemed like flat out insanity. So I had my butterflys in my stomach as I drove out to my parents house for dinner.

After we ate a dinner of salad, round steak and Tater Tots, we were sitting around their oblong wooden dinner table and I uttered the fateful words, “Um, I’ve got something I want to tell you...”

My parents both leaned in to listen to this news I was going to report. Then I outlined my plan of quitting my job, yanking my pension plan and moving out to New York in hopes of getting some sort of a writing job. Although there was no writing job looming, but I had met Dick Stolley and he told me he might be able to get me an interview or two at Time, Inc. I had also met a few people at Spin magazine and I was certain these contacts could lead me to a bright future in New York City. But I knew most people would think I was out of my mind for yanking my retirement fund and moving to one of the toughest places in the world to live. I had no idea how my parents would react.

After I told them they looked a little surprised and then one of them said (I can’t remember which one, this is so many beers years ago), “You know, if you don’t do this now, you’ll probably regret it later on in your life, so you should really do this. If it doesn’t work out, you can always move back here.”

Well, nineteen years later, I’m taking their advice and moving back to Peoria.
It’ll be nice to be living closer to my folks who have always been so supportive of me and to the rest of my family, relatives and friends in the River City. And it’s not that it didn’t work out here in New York, it’s just my time to leave. I have great memories and have made life-long friends out here that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

Further Reading:, Leaving New York and City of Peoria.

It’s a family affair.

Surprise on it, I dare you!

Bonus Photos!

I've been having farewell drinks with friends for the last couple of weeks, yes, I'm stretching this goodbye thing as thin as one can play it! Last week I met my friend and artist, Jason Andersen, who's been a guest star on this blog several times. Jason made me a really cool piece of art for a going-away present and it's pictured below along with a NYC key chain, bottle opener that Goggla gave me. Thanks to both of them, it'll give me good New York memories when I'm back in Peoria. Jason's art is pictured below with Goggla's key chain to the right.

And speaking of Jason, he's part on an open studio art show coming up on October 20th. It's in Passaic New Jersey and lasts from 2 to 6PM with over 26 artists participating. In addition to the fantastic art and studio tours, there's wine and live music and an after party. The tour takes place at NP Art Studios, 183 Monroe St., 2nd Floor in Passaic, NJ. I'll be gone by then, but you should stop by, it's an easy train ride and sounds like lots of fun.


Kenny's Castaways

Tonight’s the last night that the legendary club, Kenny’s Castaways on Bleecker St. in Greenwich Village is going to be open. The club has featured free live music nightly since 1967. Some of the bands that have graced Kenny’s stage in the back room include Blondie, The New York Dolls, Aerosmith, The Allman Brothers Band, Doc Pomus, Johnny Winter and of course, Willie Nile.

I had been planning on stopping by and getting some pictures before it closed, but hadn’t gotten around to it. A couple weeks ago I was having some drinks with my friends Goggla and Ed and they told me that they had stopped in Kenny’s and asked the bartender when it was closing. He told them that Monday, October 1st would be the last night, but then he leaned in and told them that Tuesday, November 25th was a night that they should definitely try and attend.

When they told me this, one word popped in to my fermented brain: “BROOOOCE.”
Kenny’s Castaways was the first venue that Bruce Springsteen played with The E Street Band. Goggla, Ed and I discussed how it must hold a ton of memories for The Boss and the next day I got an email from Goggla saying that she looked at his touring schedule and he wasn’t playing a show that night.

We were certain he’d be showing up at Kenny's and so we met there to witness this historic event. And you’re welcome to come along too! Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for Tuesday, September 25th!

Thank you Sherman and Mr. Peabody, here we are at Kenny's Castaways last Tuesday, September 25th.

Live music, seven nights a week, always hate to see a live music venue close. Oh well, let's go in and pay our last respects to the joint.

Here's the bar, with some regulars propped up at it.

A brightly lit chandelier illuminates the front room, hanging from the black tin ceiling overhead.

Here's the original sign for Kenny's that hangs in the middle of the bar.

Small wooden tables and wire chairs line the wall opposite the bar.

Obligatory Kenny's Castaways mirror shot! And if you look to the right of the photo you can see Goggla and Ed, who thought they were safe from the TWM camera. You can run, but you can never hide!

You gotta love that old cash register.

The specials for the night are posted on this chalkboard behind the bar.

And here's where the magic happens, the back room where the bands play. I couldn't wait to see who showed up on this night and courtesy of the magic of the internet, you don't have to wait long.

First up was a band called Four Jacks and a Jill. The played a five and a half hour version of "Proud Mary." I know that sounds like a long time to stretch out that song...

And it really was. Thankfully there was plenty of booze to be had while enduring this marathon jam session.

And now, the surprise guests have started filing in. First up, the legendary Shaggs! A rare treat as always!

Next on the bill was the giant floating head of Bill Cosby. This was a little frightening. Oh and those claims of Bill that he doesn't work blue...

Is total bullshit! Go choke on a pudding pop, Bill, you're creeping us out over here.

Wow, look, it's Richard Nixon! Living up to his nickname of "Tricky Dick" he sang and tap-danced the song, "Me So Horny." I loved this long time!

The word in the crowd was that Bruce was about to come out, but instead they teased us by bring out this chair from Flooring From Bruce. What a gyp!

And of course when you've got an empty chair on stage, this guy is going to follow. Please, someone put another Dirty Harry movie into production and give Clint something to do, it wasn't funny the first time and now it's beyond pathetic.

Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for, Sonny and Chair. (Rimshot.)

And finally it happened. Bruce Springsteen comes onstage and the crowd goes wild. He did a ten minute medley of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band songs and cited them as his greatest influence. A touching moment and I was happy to have witnessed this historic moment in time at Kenny's Castaways.

I read once that in the early days of Saturday Night Live, if they couldn't think of an ending from a sketch, they would drop down an inflatable elephant to end the skit. I don't know if that's really true, but look, it still works! Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

P.S. Thanks to all of you for the nice wishes and words about my move back to Peoria, Illinois. It looks like I’ll be taking off on Thursday, October 18th. Look for two more Monday posts and then on the 18th I’m going to live blog my move back and that will be the final blog for TWM, so mark it on your calendars, if you so desire!

Further Reading: Lost City, New York Blues Legends and Brooklyn Vegan.

I’m just around the corner from the light of day.

Surprise on it, I dare you!