25 May 2007

A Manhattan Saga

It was about time for another trip to NYC, but this time we had a compelling reason. Marian's niece was performing with her high-school choir at Carnegie Hall, and we figured she could use a little extended-family support. Who wouldn't want a couple of cheering lunatics up in the nosebleed seats at Carnegie, shouting WHOOOO! and making colossal asses of themselves?

We booked Gomez for two days at a local cageless dog-boarding place, and we booked ourselves for two nights at a hotel within shouting distance to Carnegie, Times Square, etc. All set.

The train ride was deliciously, magnificently eventless. I got more reading done in those four hours than in the previous four months. Seriously.

We climbed to the surface at Penn Station and heaved a lungful of that familiar brine of human sweat, automotive exhaust, and roasted peanuts. Oh yeh...I remember this. Drag the suitcase a few blocks north to the hotel, check in, and INSTANTLY leave town for Brooklyn.

I had a little Bagel Education to inflict upon poor Marian.

When I used to visit my friend Egg in Brooklyn, the ritual was always the same: Get off at the Kings Highway station (B or Q lines), and march into a little, humid hole in the wall called HOT BAGELS near the corner at Ocean Avenue. It didn't matter what your favorite bagel was, just get whatever's hot. It seemed like a local joke: walk in, bark out to the guy behind the plexiglass:

What's hot?

And he'd invariably sweep his arms around, encompassing the whole place, as if to say Buddy, you couldn't swing a dead bishop in here without crashing him into something hot. Now whaddahell do youse want?

It was like a cave in there. Claustrophobic, filled with steam, and glorious. We'd get a couple of bagels and truck 'em back to Egg's apartment, where we'd listen to records and stuff face like starving people, laughing at the gluttony of it all.

I hadn't been back to Brooklyn in.... I added it up..... twenty years(!). Some preliminary web-surfing I did back home suggested there JUST MIGHT still be a bagel-shop on Kings Highway near Ocean Avenue. And it was, for crissakes, it was right there. Like stepping into a dream.

Except, wait... in the last twenty years, someone had enlarged and sanitized the dream!

It seemed like the place had taken over the next-door space and expanded. I asked the guy behind the counter if I was suffering from False Memory Disorder, but he'd just started there, and didn't know about the history of the shop. So the gritty poetry of the place was gone, but the bagels were still awesome. Maybe not rip-your-head-off awesome, but infinitely better than anything we can get in DC.

After inhaling the bagels and paying homage to Egg's old apartment building, we returned to Manhattan and got back to the serious business of shopping-until-dropping. Marian scored a number of great items at the various bead stores in the garment district, and I went completely insane in the East Village, as usual, with the music shopping.

Bleecker Bob's is still there of course, although the two adorable dobermans that used to sleep behind the counter are beyond long gone by now.

Other Music, on West 4th, was my nemesis this time. For such a small collection of vinyl, the pickings were insane. But of course, I had to keep my wits about me. We're new homeowners, what in God's name am I DOING?!?!? Must...keep...the money...under control.

So after all the internal drama, it was a moderate haul. The scores were as follows.

on CD:
Six Organs of Admittance: s/t
OM/Current 93: Inerrant Rays of Infallible Sun (Blackship Shrinebuilder)
Coil: Black Antlers
The Spacious Mind: Tonen (CD-R, outtakes from Rotvalta)
on LP:
Throbbing Gristle: The Endless Not (the new one, post-reforming)
Cluster: Cluster II (reissue of the 1971 album, one of the greatest ever)
Comets On Fire: Field Recordings From the Sun
Hawklords: s/t (mid-period, Calvert-era Hawkwind)
Seldiy Bate & Nigel Bourne: Pagan Easter, Ritual Music for the Spring Equinox (rarity on Psychic TV's Temple Records label)
Six Organs of Admittance: School of the Flower
Gary Numan/Tubeway Army: Replicas (used)

The sad thing is, much of that is stuff I used to have on vinyl, then sold, then re-purchased when such things became available on CD. Now that my romance is long gone for CDs, I find myself selling THOSE and re-purchasing the albums again....which is doubly hard now that everything is that much older, and impossible to find.

Afterwards, we got in a visit to our favorite Indian restaurant before starvation claimed our lives, and all was well.

The Carnegie Hall performance was fabulous, and during the show, I was reminded of what a gutless weenie Vivaldi was, musically speaking. Particularly when his material was followed by more punchy German stuff. I remember making a hushed comment to Marian about "that baroque Italian tripe" and getting flashed a rather unkind look from one of the other patrons... The truth apparently hurts.

But no matter! We were there in support of Marian's Niece, who from what I could tell, performed honorably (as it was a choir, we can assume...) But where were the bloody parents?!?! This was a huge gig for the young one, and yet we were the only family who could get up here?

ehhh. Pooty raspberries to all but us marvelous people.

We returned to old familiar DC, satisfied with the trip and, like always, feeling glad that we didn't end up moving to NYC, as we had discussed when trying to escape Maine. My god, that was ages ago. Now to play some of those albums...

1 comment:

epota said...

What a great haul you took in on the trip! A music purchase list that would make any REAL audiophile proud and envious.