Got in on Jet Blue red eye at sunrise. I never can sleep on planes, so got to my hotel at 35th and 6th Ave groggy and yes, a room was available at 7AM. Bliss! It’s the Hilton Garden Inn and I got a rate of $209 due to publishing friends’ corporate discount, it’s a place I would never have chosen, and it turns out to be perfect. Halfway between the Village and the park, nice room on 21st floor (window looks out at Empire State bldg.), cool staff (let me carry my own bags), Le Pain Quotidien for breakfast a few blocks away…
After showering and resting a bit yesterday, I headed uptown on 6th Ave. Got to Bryant Park, and the noise of birds in the trees was surprising. Hey, am I out in the woods or something? At the same time, cabs were hurtling down 6th, busses roaring.
San Francisco is my city and I love it for its beauty and variety and clear ocean air, but this here is the big daddy, the big sister, the Big Kahuna. Nothing like it. Something else fer shure. Each time I get here it grabs me.
I have with me in NYC, a K2 scooter, which I took out yesterday afternoon. (don’t understand why more people don’t get around this way.) I rode up to the park on 6th, then down to the Village on Broadway, using the green bike lanes in the street, or riding on the sidewalks. I can cover 2-3 times the ground I would walking, and it’s fun! Because of the handle, I’m a lot more secure than on a skateboard, plus it’s got a brake (press down on rear wheel fender). I fold it up to go into a store or restaurant.
Washington Square is really torn up right now; most of it is under construction and fenced off, but in a small section was an old guy on guitar, young harmonica player, sounding good. “Your mama can’t dance, and your daddy can’t rock and roll.” (Oh my!)
The city’s an energy infusion. Just walk out into the street, turn in any direction, and vwooom! The sights, sounds, smells, people, store fronts, the endless images — brain goes into overdrive. There’s a level of, what to call it? — maturity — here not found on west coast. Window displays, quality and variety of the shops, faces in the street, newspapers (Village Voice compared to SFWeekly), the CBS TV city newsroom anchors, the culture in general — it’s just the Big Time. There’s depth.
Elvis Costello is playing here the next two nights; so far I haven’t been able to get a ticket via dealing with the VR robot at Ticketmaster (hey will you guys get a few humanoids over there?), but will try again. Wednesday night I’m either going to see The Baby Soda Jazz Band at the Radegast Street Biergarten in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) OR Lee Fields at the Publishers Group West annual Book Expo party, still haven’t decided; tough choice since bass player for Baby Soda is my bass guru and manufacturer of my box bass (which I play almost daily), and PGW folks are my buddies.
Hey, in checking out Lee Fields on Amazon, I went from clips of James Brown to maybe my most formative musical influence, Fats Domino, to this rather remarkable bit of musical history: Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, James Brown, Bo Diddley, BB King (can you believe it?) jamming in the finale to “The Giants of Rock,” a concert in Rome in 1989. Do the Italians know how to throw a party or what? I’ve got it turned up max on my MacBook right now, the Empire State Bldg is shrouded in mist outside my window, there are traffic sounds and faint sirens. Shit, this is The REAL THING. These guys all are in their prime. They are having such a good time.
Live from New York City, watching this film clip for the 4th time, getting ready to hit the streets again, this is…