The Vacation

I’m on vacation next week. You know how you count the days before your vacation is supposed to begin? Not me. It totally blindsided me. But it’s here on Monday and I’m going to do what I can to make it relaxing one.

I have nothing planned and that is disappointing to me. It’s a catch-22 for me; I plan things and if I don’t get to them I get pissed off. If I don’t plan things and something happens then it’s epic and I love it. If I plan things and I do them, well, I planned them so naturally I got them done. I’m never happy.

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I’m watching The Rockford Files. I love Jim Rockford and James Garner.

I had an uncle once who was the spitting image of James Garner. He was my cousin’s stepfather. My cousin and all of us never knew his real dad so this guy (who was Uncle Mike) was his dad and our uncle.

Uncle Mike was a great guy. He worked nights as an orderly at a NYC hospital and slept during the day. We’d have to tippy toe all day at my cousin’s apartment when we visited. The living room TV was always barely audible. But since Uncle Mike was home all day he was tasked to pick me up from school every day.

One day, Uncle Mike and my Aunt Nelly broke up. Just like that. The last time I saw Uncle Mike was at my mom’s funeral, over twenty years ago. My cousin lost contact with him too. He just “went away.”

Today Uncle Mike is either dead or in his late 70′s. I hope he’s in his late 70′s. He was a good guy. He used to take me bike riding and to the park which was huge because I didn’t have a dad around. He was the only male adult in our family circle who acted like a dad for all us younglings.

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Forty years ago today and around this time, my mother and I walked over to our neighborhood newspaper stand to buy the early edition of the New York Daily News. That was something she liked doing. I had no opinion on the subject. I was seven years old.

A few hours later, on the evening news, this news broke. The next morning we walked over to the neighborhood newspaper stand we went to the night before and bought the final edition. This edition.

From then on, my mother and I waited to buy the final edition of the newspaper. Again, I had no opinion on the subject.

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Another trip down memory lane for me. I used to feel like such an adult when I visited the since-shuttered Garage Jazz Club in the West Village. It felt like such a classy joint. It was okay. It never had the beer I was interested in drinking. It was more a wine and cocktails sort of place.

The last time I was there I sat where that arrow is pointing. Sat there for about an hour and then left to go to another joint. Now it’s gone.

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Mr. Dennehy’s

I’ve been to Mr. Dennehy’s a handful of times. I love Irish pubs. The last time I stumbled in there was a Saturday night/Sunday morning about two years ago. I sat at the end of the bar and had some Heineken and a few shots of Jameson.

I met Mr. Dennehy once. He threw a few rowdy people out of the pub and then proceeded to buy a round for my friend and I for having to witness such debauchery.

Good times.

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Riviera Cafe Will Shut Down After 48 Years In The West Village


Riviera Cafe Will Shut Down After 48 Years In The West Village

If I was asked what my top ten NYC bars were this one would probably not make it, and yet I have so many memories related to it.

I first visited the Riviera Cafe in the mid-80′s. I wasn’t of drinking age but that didn’t stop me or any of the bartenders from serving me. In their defense, I always looked older than my age.

Despite not having a dance floor that didn’t stop me from shaking my ass and waving my hands in the air (wave ‘em like I just didn’t care) with a girl I had just met. It was closing time but the bartenders served us nonetheless and let us wiggle our happy asses. That was in the early 90′s. I didn’t get home until 9 AM the next morning. I had some explaining to do.

One night I took my ex- and kids there. I never took my family to a place that lay witness to some of my debauchery. It was 1998. The Yankees won that night. The game was playing on their TV screens.

My partner-in-crime seem to always end our drinking nights here back then. Their shot glasses were huge and they filled them right up to the brim. One night back in 2009, I needed my partner but he wasn’t around. I stumbled into the Riviera and downed a handful of shots while tweeting. I had just joined the social media scene and was still learning how to maneuver through it. After a few hours, I stumbled over to my regular pub a few miles down the road to charge my phone and finish my night.

The last time I visited was about three years ago. My partner-in-crime (who was my partner since the mid-80′s) commented how quiet it was on that Friday night. I didn’t care. I drank my beer and watched the ballgame. We were hellbent to bar hop and this was just one stop in what would be many. Gone were the dancing days, it seemed.

I have vacation time scheduled towards the end of this month. I think I might visit the old lady for one last time.

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My TV has been on the SundanceTV channel for days because I was watching Law & Order and I haven’t had the strength to change the channel since. This movie is on right now. Surprisingly good, I think. And Felicity Jones. Hubba-hubba.

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