Last night I had to get out. I had barely left my chair and was losing weight because I was so adrenaline hyped. The thought of being in Kinko’s on West 72nd Street, at night has haunted me for years. The modern subway station morphs into Needle Park, a place that I and most people walked a bit too quickly by, though the most beautiful bank in New York, the old Apple Bank for Savings, is on the East Side of Broadway.
Bells Pharmacy was near the corner of the west side of Broadway on 72nd Street. Anybody could buy ludes there. While I never saw the attraction many of my friends did. There was a Kosher diary restaurant, the bar where Looking for Mr Goodbar took pace and my friends walk up across from the diary restaurant.
I was only eighteen and it amazed me that people two and three times my age wanted to know me. They had come to our school to help the theater department put on more professional plays and just liked some of us. I was too shy to act, and too awkward to do anything else, but the theater people, kids and adults, claimed me as their own.
That was good as I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and wasn’t very good at faking it. Did end up in an underground film festival at school with in the original King Kong with me substituted for Fay Wray Though I was mortified, everybody else liked it.
Officially I lived in my college dorm on the Island. Most nights I could be found in a North Shore sound town, in the East Village where my own age friends lived or more exotically in The Upper West Side. I had always associated it with IB Singer stories and old Jews in cafeterias or the German Jews with numbers on their left arm who owned the mom and pop stores on Broadway.
This was an edgier even more dangerous Upper West Side yet somehow it always felt like home.
There’s something about going to Kinko’s at night that brings those years back. Several years ago I covered an event and was on deadline. Came home at Midnight to no cable service, a not infrequent occurrence then. For a hot second I thought about going to Kinko’s but that seemed so forlorn and for losers and true loners and an occasional tourist or person without cable service.
What good are best friends if I can’t call and ask to use the computer at 12:30 Am? It was summer and I had taken Little Luce with me. She’s always been incredible company; gets it from her mom with whom I have shared many a nocturnal adventure.
I was spared from the desolation of Kinkos and my filtering the present day reality of Urban Outfitters and the Alexandria, a a way too large modern faux-elegant condo that is totally out of scale with the other buildings. I like townhouses and pre-war apartment buildings.
Last night I went to fax something and the subway station became the locale of Panic in Needle Park one of the best New York and/or drug movies ever made. I saw Requiem for a dream twice so I am hard core. It’s an equally or more brilliant book by Herbert Selby Jr
One of the two fax machines was out; the other didn’t seem to be working. I couldn’t leave as these were important papers but the machine wouldn’t let it out of its grasp. I called for help, and ten minutes later, somebody came sauntering over. It was of course my fault until he checked the machine and something wasn’t working right. Somehow then it went through twice and had a completely wrong time. This angered me as a fax is a legal document, as did paying for the extra copy. But it was only $3something, and I paid it willingly, glad to be getting out a place filled with workers with tudes that could make time stand still.
A woman was anxiously trying to Xerox some tax documents. Anxious wasn’t quite the word for it; she looked ready for a full nuclear meltdown. A clerk shook his head back and forth as he went to speak to the manager. The manager immediately assumed that it was the woman’s fault. Though the clerk kept saying that the machine had jammed the manager would only give her a store credit.
The reality turned out to be worse than my imagination. It’s not a place I would want to be stuck writing in.
Today I finally went out in day light. I brought my laptop to Starbucks, and rearranged the people sitting in the three tables closest to the electrical outlet so that I could sit near it. Don’t think the 350 pound woman who was sitting knitting nearest the outlet took it too well, neither did the 250 pound woman at the next table who was eating very stinky tuna fish salad she had brought in.
I love fresh tuna, but abhor canned tuna except for a certain brand packed in water, and then I still have to keep it refrigerated and wash it for awhile in ice water. I don’t take to bad smelling foods well. They left, I became engrossed in what I was writing, and smelled a very familiar smell that couldn’t have been coming from Starbucks or Broadway 2006. No it couldn’t have been that smell; it was so Broadway 1970-94
Lucia called. She was coming over with uh, a stack of Long Island Presses. When she walked in she couldn’t stop laughing.
“it’s like the 1960’s out there. Everybody on the subway and the street is in tie dyed tee shirts.”
We talked about dirty scummy hippies as if we had never been hippies. We hadn’t been that type, but clean and usually without the glazed look in our eyes. We had never gone over a certain edge. The people attending the Bob Weir and the Rats Dog concert, just weren’t our type of hippies though I do remember liking Bob Weir.
They looked like relics, and why bother living if you’re going to be a museum piece? Not for the first time but for about the 500th since 1974, I have understood why people didn’t like hippies.
Truthfully it felt more like Needle Park days than it had the night before.
Bone is somebody I probably would have never become friends with, had we not met through blogging. Bone’s 33. single straight, lives and comes from a town in Alabama he describes magnificently, loves sports, Seinfeld, eats in restaurants with strangely American names, can’t get Won Ton or Hot and Soup delivered when sick, and has more sides than glass freshly created from sand. I have been watching him mature as a writer and he hasn’t even begun to hit his peak.
And Esoteric Wombat, so wonderfully quoted in my Press article, once again proves that he is everything I have said about him plus more. He will finally be 20 next month, and is as I constantly tell him, wiser than most people two or three times his age.
I plug for money. No, I plug people because they have something to say and say it well, whether it be personal stories, political rants and/or analyses, do great definitions, or challenge you in their contests.
If any of us did Fun facts for Fridays it would be with an edge, a twist, true sarcasm not snarkiness–there is a difference. It would be something that would make you laugh or think or want more.
I plug because blogging takes the loneliness out of being a writer. Sometimes a bit too much, but…