First, I have to say that I really enjoy going to New York. Any reason to go is good enough for me. Last year I went more than ever and really learned my way around. I saw New York from a helicopter, from ferries and from the top of the Freedom Tower. I took quite a lot of pics along the way which I begin to show next month.
Back to this weekend”s ARTventure, I took Scott Fagan to play at a “cafe.” I was expecting a place with food, maybe not too big. He said it was a really “hip joint.” Scott has lived in big cities and I have only ever lived in small town, so I don’t really know what that might mean.
We find this place in a modest Brooklyn neighborhood with a nice park across the street. The outside of the building may have been new in the 50’s, I’m guessing. I asked Scott if he thought is was safe, lol. And what is the first thing you do after a four hour drive, the last hour which was taking the long shortcut, where there were lots of traffic lights but at least I wasn’t sitting in traffic on a highway. At least sitting at red lights, I can take more pictures:)
The door to the cafe really doesn’t look like a door that should be opened. It wasn’t clean or freshly painted with a nice window curtain. The curtain actually was a nice sheer, but the window had a rather large crack which had been taped, and taped over. I opened the door and walked inside. Yes, this place must have been new in the 50’s. It certainly wasn’t new now. There was paint pealing off the ceiling which revealed in some sections a copper colored “tin” ceiling. You know the ornate sort of design that I imagine must have really been beautiful at some point in time. There was a counter with built in stools. They appear to have been used well over the years. The sign outside also said “fountain” so it definitely was reminisce of a once upon a time soda fountain.
The floor is very well worn and I begin to regret wearing lite colored clothing. There are booths on the wall which are covered with now cracked vinyl. There is a panel of mirror around the wall which has those old mirror spots that make it difficult for you to actually see yourself in it. Above the mirrors hang bookshelves which sag like they may fall off the wall at any moment. They don’t have a lot of books on them but there is a projector on the top shelf pointed toward a screen that hangs over the kitchen area. I’m sure it is well secured or they would have taken it down, right? I just have to relax and know that it will be dark soon and nobody will see the dirt if any gets on my clothing.
The door has been shut so the place smells like a greasy spoon sort of place and the others think they smell gas. It turned out that one of the burner knobs was turned on slightly so I guess the stove works but nobody cooked that night. As I approached the bathroom door, it had a big sign on it which read KNOCK FIRST, door does not lock. Thankfully once inside, the toilet looked fairly new. Next to the toilet was a utility sink, which was sufficient. It didn’t have to be pretty. This was simply functioning as a place to gather and listen to music tonight.
Pizzas were brought in and shared among the room which became rather packed with people of all ages but mostly a younger crowd and a dog. Family of Scott’s from New York City came to see him. Musicians who have heard of Scott and played in Europe with the same band he toured with also came to meet him. As the door hung open for a while and people filled the room, the greasy smell disappeared and the tatteredness of the room was replaced by an enthusiasm for creativity and music.
People bought Sock Monkey Boy books and a woman who is getting ready to open a book store wants them in her store. This was an exciting encounter! Now, I have another excuse to come to New York:) And the dog made friends with all. I never heard him bark. You would not have even known he was there. Everyone was friendly and as far as I could tell, a good time was had by all! By law, the music had to stop by a certain hour, so it was a relatively early evening. But til we talked and packed up to return, we weren’t leaving New York until midnight. We could have stayed with my friend in the city, but we had a rental car to return in the morning. The next time, I will plan to stay a little longer.