Saturday, October 15, 2016

Reminiscing: New York Days Part 2

There was a time when we ran some street tours in New York City. It was called “See New York on $20”. These were off the beaten track tours where we had the Rock ‘N Roll Tour, the Movie Tour, and so on. These were essentially walking tours (although we also took the subway using tampered subway cards. Yes, I know it was a risk because if we got caught we were staring at some jail time. Nevertheless we ran it for a few weeks, me and a friend of mine from Tibet named, Sirene, until we nearly got caught. Yep, we decided to do something more legal after that without using tampered subway cards. 
We posted our tours on Craig’s List. For example, for the Rock ‘N Roll Tour we took tourists to the Brill Building in Times Square where composers like Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Burt Bacharach, and others wrote pop classics. We took them to CBGB’s that was at that time still open. There was the Chelsea Hotel where Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious murdered his girlfriend Nanc Spungen. 
One of the more favorite places we’d go to was the Queensboro Bridge and while sititng on the benches we’d play Simon and Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge song (Feeling Groovy)” that has to be one of the happiest, hummable, sing-alongable, and did I say happiest songs ever? That sure was fun. 
And now I’m playing “The 59th Street Bridge Song” and reminiscing. Them golden days. And yes, I am feeling groovy.

What a memory! What a time! What a song!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Reminiscing: New York Days Part 1

There was a time I was doing a lot of odd jobs just to eke out a living in New York. One of my dad's classmates from the Ateneo, Fil-Am writer Ronnie Alejandro had this lovely flat in Greenwich Village. I did odd jobs for him such as cataloguing his massive book collection of which he paid me $50 for several hours of work. Once I was done with that, I'd move over to SeƱor Swanky's (a bar) for the late afternoon up to 10pm where I got to serve Matt LeBlanc one time. 
If you want to know, I was a fucking terrible bartender. And that bar along Bleecker Street is now closed. 

Amyways, when I didn't have a sked, I'd play hoops at West 4th. I did so a couple of times in one of the most famous playgrounds. Had to shift to playing the PG position cause I was small. And I wore those K-Swiss high tops, man. For real! Those days were golden!
Around this time of the year, I oft think of the times Tito Ronnie helped me out or when I hung out in Greenwich Village. There was this one time, he moved flats and me and two other dudes had to physically carry all his stuff to the new apartment. I think I hurt my back because I was so skinny at that time. 
Around the time that we had completed the move, he treated me out to dinner at a nearby bar and you'd never believe who was performing! It was Tears For Fear's Curt Smith! Turned out that he moved to NYC at that time (this was before the reunion with Roland Orzabal that begat the album Everybody Loves A Happy Ending).
Curt performed all the TFF classics and his solo hit, "Calling Out". That was an amazing show. And a few nights later, the LA-indie band Ivy performed there too! It was a small place like the old Club Dredd along EDSA.
Why did I suddenly remember all of this? Tito Ronnie passed away on October 11, 2009. And today's his death anniversary.
He really helped me out during a very difficult time of my life. At this time, I was working three jobs a day and writing an endless number of short stories and comic book scripts (Yes, I used to stalk Joe Quesada outside the corporate offices of Marvel Comics along Park Avenue). Hell, I even had a letter printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer! Fortunately, there was this convenience store in Trenton that sold the Philadelphia Inquirer and I clipped it and showed it to Tito Ronnie. Anything to get published!
Thanks, Tito Ronnie. You were and are a lifesaver. Keep writing up there in the Great Beyond.