Thursday, August 23, 2012

What A Commute!!!!

So I leave early in order to take the kids to Momma-San. My first leg goes as smooth as a gravy sandwich. The Bx5 is flawless as I get to Simpson Street. Even my coffee was made to order at the Dunkin Donuts without too much of a hassle. We let a #2 train go by because it's full and catch the next one with more than enough room to sit comfortably. Now, even though I haven't complained much about my commutes as of late, all these steps working in sync is a little too good to be true. It was.

We get to the Jackson Avenue station when the conductor announces that there are extensive delays in Downtown #2 service due to a train stalled at 42nd Street and Times Square. It is now 4:45pm at the cusp of evening rush hour. This is not looking good folks. So the train moves into the next stop which is 149th Street and 3rd Avenue.

At this point the conductor now says there are delays in Downtown East and West side service because some #2 trains are running on the #5 line which does not help me out in the least. Momma-San is on the West side. So off the kids and I go to the street to catch a cab.

If you don't know the area, traffic on 149th Street and 3rd Avenue is usually hectic. It was abysmal today. Fire trucks on one corner. Cop cars on another. I finally catch a cab and tell him that we're going to 72nd Street and Broadway. Remember that intersection. It's important to the story.

So as we navigate through the Bronx in the abysmal traffic I mentioned before, we end up on 161st Street near Yankee Stadium where the corner of the Crown Diner is tapped off, full of cops and crowds of onlookers. That usually means one thing: Shootout. The cab driver put on 1010 Wins and on cue the story pops up.

Apparently a man approached the newspaper vendor on the corner, whipped a gun out, filled him full of bullets. Instead of running, the shooter dropped the gun at the spot, raised his hands in the air and WAITED for the police to arrive so he could be arrested. And this was a few minutes before we drove by the scene. Talk about a WOW moment. But the commute gets better folks.

Remember that intersection I mentioned earlier? Yes, 72nd an Broadway. Apparently my African driver misunderstood my request and even after I reminded him where we were going he took me to 172nd Street and Broadway. LOL.

Luckily today is a nice day and we had a pleasant breeze coming through the windows AND that I am quite relaxed with the drive. When the driver realized his mistake he apologizes profusely for his error. All I can do is laugh. It was an honest mistake. I try to reassure him that it's ok and that we just need to go to 72nd and Broadway.

He jumps down the Henry Hudson parkway and we zip down to 72nd and Broadway. We're in the clear. Right? Nope. The driver has no change. So he jumps out and asks the cab driver next to him for change. He doesn't have any. My driver drops stuff from his pockets which he is now fumbling to pick up as the light on Broadway turns green causing a cacophony of car horns to be heard behind us. Sweet NYC music. He jumps back in. Pulls over and runs to the hot dog vendor on the next corner to get change. I just sit there laughing kid of feeling like the guy sitting in the yellow cab in the beginning to Airplane.

He comes back, opens the door for us gives me my change and again apologizes profusely and hopes that God Blesses me for my patience with his mistake. I guess I maxed out my commuting adventure meter since the rest of my commute was flawless, even getting to work ON TIME. Let's hope the rest of the night stays nice and smooth.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

What Is My Purpose For Working In A Bar

Sometimes I have to wonder if I am placed here in the bar for a reason. Did my path in life lead me here to aid people both strangers and friends. To listen to people's problems and issues. To advise them on what they might possibly need to do with their issues.

I know I always mention that we here in the bar business are "Bar Shrinks", "Bar Counselors" and "Bar Advisors". But sometimes I wonder if there was a divine reason for my being here. And I'm saying this without doing any shots. LOL.

Who knows. I just try to do my best each and everyday. If I help someone's day improve with my ear and words. Then so be it. That'll be enough for me.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Epilogue To The Boston Trip

I had an awesome though brief time in Boston. One day trips are what I seem to be able to fit into my busy schedule. Boston is a nice small city. But I have to admit to something to you all, there is a reason why NYC is NYC.

Things close early in Boston. By 6pm the gift store in South Station was closed. So any hope of getting something there went bye bye. Now take the example of NYC. I get off the train at 2:10am at Penn Station and at least one of every shop and or eatery was open. You could even get "I love NYC" hats and shirts 3 for $30. That's how you make money folks. There is a reason why this city has the moniker of "The City That Never Sleeps". It doesn't.

There's not much of a feeling like stepping out of Penn Station on 7th Avenue and 31st by Madison Square Garden, getting hit by a wall of humidity while looking north up 7th and seeing the bright lights of Times Square turning night into day.

Yes, Dorothy was right. There is NO place like home.


In Boston Part II

Sharon was right when she told me on FB that the atmosphere around Fenway before the game was a blast. It was. You had kids playing catch with a performer on stilts, brass band musicians, face painters and balloon clowns could all be found entertaining the Red Sox Nation. The two New York teams could stand to learn a lesson here on providing for fun entertainments BEFORE entering the stadium aside from beers at Stan's and the Yankee Tavern.

Now to be honest, the closest that I have ever been inside a stadium like Fenway was Wrigley back in 1999. Fenway evokes a sense of history and intimacy that is lost in the new parks no matter how "retro" they build them. My reaction at walking through the dark tunnel into the bright daylight and seeing that beautiful field of bright green grass and dark brown dirt was akin to what it was the first time I did the same at old Yankee Stadium.

Even with the recent improvements the Red Sox have done with Fenway, there is no denying its place as the grand-daddy of all Baseball Stadiums. Let's compound that with the seats we had.

Harper said the tickets were a gift. Well folks, that was one helluva Birthday gift he got. Sec 30, Box D73 Row 2. ROW 2!!!!!! Right behind third base a few boxes away from the Texas Rangers dugout. Insane. Made even better when the family seated in front of us left and we moved on up to the 1st Row causing a chain reaction of people behind us upgrading their own seats just like the good old days at old Yankee Stadium I've had good seats including 8 rows behind home plate of old Yankee Stadium but those were nothing like these.

The stadium seemed cosy and I know people talk about the obstructed sight lines due to the exposed beams from the old construction (new stadiums have modern methods of construction which provide for clear sight lines). It really is a way that a Baseball game should be watched and enjoyed. Plus the company of Harper, Megan and Dan only made it better. Thanks guys.

The game itself was a high scoring 10-9 affair that was an exciting roller coaster ride won by the Rangers. I guess technically I'm 5-0 for the season. ;) Sorry, had to get that dig in. LOL. I can see why Fenway is an imposing place to play for visiting players. Everything seems like you can reach out and just touch it with your fingertips. Simply amazing. I truly felt like a little kid out there. I told Harper at one point: To get a week to live like those guys on the field. The dream of becoming a professional Baseball player never dies, even here at my fast approaching 40-years old. It's why in my opinion, Baseball is the greatest team game in the world.

After the game we rushed back to the hotel where Harper and co. were staying and cabbed it back with them to South Station. Since I had a reservation for Amtrak at 9:30pm, I decided to head back to Fenway to get some souvenirs. Now here is where NYC separates itself from other cities.

The bars and restaurants were still open with post-game drinkers and diners. But all the team shops were closed. It was barely 7pm and the game wasn't even 2 hours old. So that made getting stuff a little difficult. I don't think that I would have had that problem around Yankee Stadium. Luckily for me I just started to walk in the direction of Boston Commons and remembered that Boylston is a very busy street with many restaurants and shops. Very trendy. Wish I had a street like that in my neighborhood. But I digress. Harking back to my San Francisco trip of last October, I remembered that Walgreens sold tourist items. And why do I see approaching me as I walked but a Walgreens with Boston hats and shirts in the window. The day was saved somewhat. You guys didn't really think I was going to buy Red Sox gear for the momma-san and kids. The got Boston city shirts and other knickknacks.

I finished my Boston excursion with dinner and a few cocktails at Clarke's in South Station. It was a very nice and cosy pub whose food was substantial and prices very reasonable. I highly recommended.

Finally I boarded the train at 9:20pm for the long four and a half hour ride back to the city so nice they named it twice: New York, New York. Off the train rocked to a Jazzy, Mambo and R&B playlist courtesy of my iPod.

Until next time Boston. You were wicked fun. Peace.


- Click Here for my brief Epilogue bringing my Boston trip adventure to a close

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In Boston Part I

We arrive pretty much on time to Boston South Station and decide that since its been 12 years since the last time I was in Beantown I need to find my bearings. Keep in mind that I didn't bring a map or guide book with me. For one, I have no Idea where my old one is. Secondly, even if I had found it, it would probably be outdated.

The last time I was in Boston, the city was in chaos due to the construction projected dubbed the "Big Dig". I am happy to say that things in Boston these days are much less chaotic. . With that in mind I call Harper and decide to meet him and the crew by Fenway Park. Off I go to re-experience the "T". You would think that I am a veteran of the New York City subway system that I would be able to navigate easily in Boston's public transit system.

I asked one of the transit workers for the best way to transfer to the Green line which leaves you at Kenmore Station right by Fenway Park. He sounds like he tells me to take the Red line and transfer at Pahk Street for the Green Line. It took me a couple of seconds to realize where I was and that he had said Park Street. LOL. Ah, those Bahston accents,

So I get off at Kenmore and the area looks familiar from the last time I was in Boston. I end up meeting Harper and the crew at the Cask and Flagon. That bar was pretty awesome. TVs all over. It was packed to the brim with members of the Red Sox nation. Luckily for me I went up there incognito. No Yankee colors for me. LOL.
After a quick drink, off we went into to Fenway Park. Now I'll save my impressions of Fenway for my next post. But I will say this for our seats: WOW!!!!!!


- Click Here for Part IV of my Boston trip adventure

On The Way to Boston Part II

After a short two hour nap, a shower and a cup of coffee off walking I went on the road to Boston. Since I had a 6:55am train to catch I had more than enough time to make it to Penn Station. Or so I thought.

By the time I got to Parkchester (after a stop at Dunkin Donuts) it was almost 5:30am. I got to Grand Central Station it was about 6:10am. So instead of waiting for the local I decided to hoof it from GCT to Penn Station. Lucky for me the drinks that I had earlier in the evening no longer hampered my senses so I was quite able to walk at a brisk power walk pace. Walking the 1.55 miles in roughly 20 minutes got me at NY Penn Station by 6:35am. Consider that I had already walked 1.59 miles in my neighborhood. I'm glad all this walking I'm doing is working out. =D

Here is where I get a little ticked off folks. Getting on the train is a snap. Amtrak has really improved their trains. Now there are outlets by all the seats and they advertise that there is free Wi-Fi. Awesome right? Well, there's a catch. You can go online for free but there are limitations. Don't you hate that? So here are the limits:

- No offensive sites. Ok, I get that. Nothing worse than sitting next to a Grandma and she's watching porn. LOL. Not that there's wrong with that. Rock out Grandma. But I can see how that can be an issue.

- Blocking streaming video sites. Ok, it's a four hour train ride. Let me watch some Netflix or HBOGO. I understand that they want to save bandwidth for everyone. So have a separate pay one so we can access streaming services. Guess I'll just have to read and listen to my iPod. How mundane and pedestrian. LOL.

Enough of my bitching. Nearing Stamford while listening to some Louie and Ella. Check in later. Peace.


- Click Here for Part III of my Boston trip adventure

On The Way To Boston Part I

Well here I am on the cusp of the beginning of my Boston adventure. I am meeting the Harpers: Megan and Michael for a Red Sox v Rangers game at Fenway Park at 1:30pm. It's 1:57am. Less than 12 hours away. I should be arriving at South Station in Downtown Boston at 11:00am. Leave it to me to NOT make ANY trip easy. LOL. Refer back to my San Francisco and Portland trips for a little background reference.

Actually, chalk it up to four loads of laundry with my kids, numerous post laundry cocktails, a little fun with Momma-San ;) and an impromptu movie night with Bruce Willis, Samuel Jackson in Die Hard With a Vengeance and the aforementioned Momma-San.

Let's see how I feel in two hours plus when I wake up to leave for my trip. Stay tuned true believers.


Click Here to read part II of my Boston trip adventures