Entries in Upper West Side (3)

Wednesday
Apr252012

Roger & Me Screening At Lincoln Center

Filmmaker Michael Moore is a guy most people either love or hate, but I’ve never understood why or how anyone could hate his first film, Roger & Me. It’s basically the story of how Roger B. Smith, then the CEO of General Motors shut down plants in Flint, Michigan, moved the work to Mexico and  that move has cost about 30,000 jobs and pretty much ruined the town of Flint, Michigan. And the real kicker is that Smith shut the factories down and moved the labor out of the country when GM was making record profits. He didn’t need to do this, but he wanted to make even more money, so he destroyed an American city to do so.

Moore managed to document all this by filming the people left in Flint and by taking trips to try to get Roger Smith to atone for his actions. The film has equal parts humor, sadness and it shows how a greedy company just doesn’t care about the people working there who helped make it successful. It’s one of my favorite movies and I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it, but I’ve never seen it in a movie theater. So I was really excited when my friend and frequent TWM guest star, Shawn told me there was going to be a screening of the film at a theater in Lincoln Center and that Michael Moore was going to be there to speak about the film and answer questions. I plan my week’s worth of trips and had another plan for tonight, but seeing Roger & Me in a theater in Lincoln Center trumps that idea, so that’s tonight’s destination.

And here we are at Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

And here's the famous fountain in the center of it. But we're not here to see tourist attractions, we're here to see...

A film. And from the looks of that sign, by George I think we've found it.

Yep, this is the place.

And it's just a short escalator ride, nothing as traumatic as yesterday's ride.

Shawn and I agreed to meet at the box office here.

Here's my ticket, now where's Shawn?

Here he is, decked out in a vintage Roger & Me t-shirt. Shawn grew up in Flint, Michigan, knows Michael Moore and saw the premiere there.

And it's into the theater we go.

Time to get a seat. I've watched Roger & Me many times, but this is the first time I've ever seen it on the big screen.

It's the 50th New York Film Festival this year.

And the movie begins...

Roger & Me.

It's funny, I've never seen this at the end of the movie. Usually when the credits start rolling I shut it off at home. But tonight I watched it till the end and after the credtis it reads: "This film cannot be shown within the city of Flint."

"All the movie theaters have closed."

Afterwards there was an onstage interview with Michael Moore. It turns out he financed Roger & Me by selling his house, holding bingo parties in Flint and from grants from the city. It was a big gamble and it paid off big. Roger & Me was the first documentary film to reach a huge mass audience and paved the way for documentary films to be thought of as mainstream movie entertainment. And I've had my own Michael Moore moment and you can read  about that here. It was a great night and thanks to Shawn for the hat tip!

Further Reading: My Upper West, Top Documentary Films and rogerebert.com.

And wouldn’t it be nice to live together,
In the kind of world where we belong.

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

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Questionable Linkage!

Once again there's dueling questions between myself and DJ Gidget over at her blog, check it out, it's a lot of fun. And don't forget to tune in to the "Secret Weapon" on Woody Radio, where "Boris" picks the tunes and DJ Gidget spins them! It's on right now, so tune in! And check out the lawn jockey photo that Gidget sent in featuring her son Jack and the neighbors lawn jockey decked out for Halloween.

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'21' Club Photo From Biff!

Biff commented yesterday that she had lunch across from the '21' Club the last time she was in New York and here's a photo she took from the aforementioned lunch. Maybe on her next trip we'll have a drink in there together! Thanks for the photo, Bifferoonie!

Tuesday
Feb142012

John Lennon Walking Tour

Al Rizo, the man who was my co-pilot on the 365 Bars blog, gave me an idea about doing a post of going to John Lennon places in New York, back when I was doing MAD. I already had the idea for this blog when he told me, so I told him it would be better suited for this blog, since I could do it in the afternoon, as well as evening. And today’s the day. Here we go off on a John Lennon walking tour of New York City. Can you imagine?

Here's the apartment that John and Yoko first moved into when they first moved here in 1971, 105 Bank Street in Greenwich Village. This is when he was at the most political phase of his life and his neighbors on the block included Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin.

321 W. 44th Street is where John Lennon recorded many tunes when it was the Record Plant. Now it's the office for the New York Observer. They wrote about me back in my pre-blogging days.

Smith's Bar is down at the end of the block and I've read that John Lennon would come in here for a burger and a beer during a break in recording. I only eat a burger on Saturdays, but I could stand to take a beer break, so let's go inside.

Smith's used to be a pretty rough dive bar, but it's been cleaned up just like the rest of Times Square.

John Lennon, this Bud's for you! And thanks to the New York Observer for the free paper from the lobby.

I'm heading to the Upper West Side and believe it or not, this guy is singing a John Lennon song in the subway. Well, actually it's a Beatles song, but one that Lennon wrote, "In My Life." This deserves a tip!

And when I go to throw a couple bucks in his case, look who's staring back at me! Crazy!

At first glance, this looks like a normal drug store, why would this be on a John Lennon Walking Tour, you wonder?

Because this photo is in the corner of the front window.

Along with this message and tribute to John Lennon.

Inside the pharmacy, there's a collage of some of the famous faces who have shopped and stopped in here.

In the center of it all, is a classic photo of John Lennon shot by photographer Bob Gruen.

This is the owner of the West Side Pharmacy, Dr. Said Saber. John Lennon lived a few blocks away at the Dakota and stopped in here frequently and the two of them became good friends. You can see Said talk about this below, in the "Further Reading and Viewing" section. Note the photo to the right of Said, it's him with another famous singer, James Taylor.

Here's Strawberry Fields in Central Park, an area in the park dedicated to John Lennon. Let me take you down...

Usually there's some yahoo massacring a Beatles and/or John Lennon tune in here, but there's not that many people here today, so thankfully it's yahoo free. Yahoo!

Here's the centerpiece in Strawberry Fields, a mosaic "Imagine" art piece. This guy is placing some flowers on it.

Adding the apple was a nice touch, especially if a homeless person wanders by. Free lunch!

As you walk out of Strawberry Fields, you can see the massive Dakota building, where John Lennon lived for his last seven years in New York City. This is also the building they shot the movie, Rosemary's Baby in.

Here's the front gates to the building...

And here's the spot where John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman. Okay, this is getting a little depressing, time for a drink!

Malchy's is a great neighborhood bar that's been on the block forever. I came here on my 365 Bars tour and I think it's time to check it out again!

It's still the same. This is one of those joints that time never seems to touch!

I was hoping to see bartender/author, Dorian Yeager, who we met on the 365 bar crawl, but it turns out she only works weekends. I'll have to revisit this place for a Saturday Night Cheeseburger soon! Working the bar today was Anna and Billy, two fine and friendly people! I had heard that John Lennon used to stop in here occasionally and Billy said in addition to him, Ray Davies of the Kinks used to be a regular when he lived on this block and whenever he plays in town, he stops here afterwards. I'll have to come here next time he's in town!

Just like Rudy's, vintage lamps swing over and illuminate the bar in here.

There's photos and posters on the wall opposite the bar, hey, what's that...

It's the Fabulous Four on the wall! Okay, that seems to be the appropriate place to end this tour and settle in at the bar for a few beers.

And as I leave, night has fallen on the Upper West Side. I love it when that happens!

Further Reading and Viewing: CBS New York, New York Magazine and YouTube.

Up come a man with a guitar in his hand,
Singing, have a marijuana if you can,
His name was David Peel,
And we found that he was real.

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

Thanks to Al Rizo, for suggesting this idea, it was a ton of fun!

Al illustration by "Boris."

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Bonus David Peel Photo!
Here’s a photo of David Peel, the longtime Lower East Side resident immortalized in John Lennon’s song, “New York City," flanked by Shawn Chittle and Yours Fooly from last summer. I was going out to Coney Island with my friend Shawn and Shawn saw him in the subway station at Coney Island. We met and snapped some photos of him. and with him. A very cool moment in time!

Sunday
Feb052012

129 W. 81st Street

I thought it only fitting to start this day of Seinfeldian sights at the place where Jerry was the original master of his domain, his first apartment in Manhattan. The ironic thing about Seinfeld is that it was filmed in L.A. not New York, so Jerry’s apartment was actually on a set in L.A. But they used the address from his first apartment that he lived in when he was first starting out as a standup comic. The address is 129 W. 81st St., so that’s the first destination of the day.

And it's off we go.

Love the subway tiles!

And through the magic of the internet, here we are on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Here it is, 129 W. 81st Street, Jerry Seinfeld's first Manhattan apartment. I bet he didn't think when he moved in here that one day he'd be able to buy the building. And you know what they say about Manhattan apartments, it's all about the location. And that is certainly true here because we are just about a five minute walk to...

Gray's Papaya!

Hot Dog! This brings back some MAD memories!

I'm going to post a Seinfeld clip to go with each post, I couldn't find the clip of Kramer eating at Papaya Dog, so this is the best I can offer up! See you at the next post in about an hour.