Mr. Pea Coat Goes to London

“I just can’t seem to get enough by Depeche Mode,” played in conjunction to my morning walk. This stroll was quite different from the norm. I wasn’t in America, but in jolly old London.

While I listened to the most British of new wave songs of the 80’s, I walked down the very British Mall. It leads to Buckingham Palace. Although this classifies me as a tourist, I found the walk quite refreshing and memorable.

In the grand tradition of London, the sky was grey. Color came through the beautifully manicured flower gardens and green grass, which accentuate St. James Park. The ducks quacked merrily away, while taking a late morning’s swim.

There stood Buckingham Palace, the tourists went mad snapping photos. “I really want a photo in front of Buckingham Palace. Gee, I know I’ll look like an awful tourist, but shit, I am one,” said I. I found a most splendid bench and took a photo of myself in front of the Queen’s magnificent residence. “This is much easier than, asking someone to take photo,” said I, internally. The photo shoots didn’t stop there.

“Oh look at these lovely red brick in South Kensington. I shall take a picture of myself in front of them,” said I. Snap, went my camera. ” Gee, the canals of Camden are grungy, but kind of cool, I don’t feel like asking anyone to take a picture of me, so here I go again, said I. As predicted, my camera went snap, snap, snap.

When the photos developed, I giggled. “Wow, I look silly taking photos of myself in London. I should’ve asked someone just to take the photos.

Years later, I found out my self portraits had a name. “A selfie? Is that what they call the process of taking a photo of one’s self? The selfies saw online, were typically folks taking photos of themselves in front of mirrors or with puppies. Either way, I like to think I pioneered the concept with all those selfies I took in London. Or should I say I like to think I pioneered the concept.

In tribute to the selfie, here’s an 80’s love ballad to ponder:

“All by myself. Don’t want to live, all by myself, anymore.”(Sang by Eric Carmen)

Always a Groomsman, Never a Groom

“I’ll have a martini, please,” said I. A few years back, I was fresh faced gay in his early twenties. On an average Thursday night, I enjoyed people watching with friends at Therapy bar in Hell’s Kitchen. Keenly, I knew Mr. Right was not in the room. Naively, my mind told me otherwise.

Like so many transplants, the city’s rich dating life seduced me. Thanks to Sex & the City, many flocked to New York, hoping to land their Mr. Big. Many came to the realization, dating was harder than finding a rent-controlled apartment on the Upper East Side. Hence, many of us, New York veterans, have come to find an alternative romance.

“Hi, I’ll have the chicken tika masala, garlic non bread and a mango lasse please,” said I, while ordering at my favorite East Village eatery. With years in New York under my belt, I have found pleasure in taking myself on dates.

I’ve been going to the same restaurants for years. The staff always knows my favorite table, order and even make wonderful conversation with me. It’s reminiscent of the cafe society (where regulars were always welcomed by their first name), which has inspired me to live in New York for life.

After enjoying the best Indian feast, west of New Delhi, I head for a slice of old Manhattan. While walking toward the Strand Bookstore, I became reminiscent on my early years in the city. “Gee, I am awfully glad, I don’t have that naive notion, that Mr. Right will magically appear at Therapy (the bar). How silly was I to think he was around? I know enjoy more literary endeavors, who needs a boyfriend? Asked I.

The doors of the Strand open wide. Aisles with bookshelves recreating a canyon of mightiness rise above the antiquated facade. The sweet scent of books recreated a bit of nostalgia. “Do I want to read Gertrude Stein? Or should I go with Edgar Allen Poe? Who am I kidding? I just really want that quirky book by John Walters.

In the midst of old books, walks in the world’s most adorable gay couple. Of course, I stare and in wonder. They’re cute. I nod my head, “no, no, must not feel like a spinster for being a singleton at thirty. It would be nice to go to the Strand with another literary nerd,” say I.

I purchase my book and walk toward Union Square. Although, I am surrounded by a freak show of people, I feel completely alone. Am I the only person in New York, who feels completely alone? Why am I still alone and completely dateless? Am I doomed for eternal spinsterhood? Asked I.

“It’s so hard to date in this town,” said my friend, Natalia. “Oh, I thought I was the only one, I reply with great enthusiasm. “It’s getting harder as time goes by,” she continued. We took a sip of our wine. “Do you want to go to dinner?” I asked. She replied, “sure.”

The Empire State Building twinkled against the starless sky. We sat outdoors at a French cafe in the Flatiron District. While noshing on French staples, we celebrated our singleton status. “Hey remember, when we used to party?” she asked. “Yeah, this is as wild as might nights get these days,” I replied.

At that very moment, I realized that our twenties had officially ended. Late night drinking at the gay bar made me sleepy and I am a night owl. Now, we were now in our (relatively) laid back thirties. As I took the bite of Croque Madame, I smiled. “Sometimes, all you need a simple, laid back night out with beloved gal pals.

While venting, and talking about life, it made me feel a little less alone. My life isn’t “Sex and the City” and I am so glad it’s not. Like the old Beatles song goes, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” With that I truly believe loneliness is curable with a dose of laughter.

Gramercy Park

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The fog lifted subtly from the serene East River. A yellow boat steered elegantly against a backdrop of an industrialized, but bustling Brooklyn. The Chrysler Building was engulfed by an adorably fluffy cloud.

This spectacular show was witnessed from my bedroom window. I adored my bedroom and it’s view, which were on the 14th floor of a brick building on Manhattan’s East Side. Although, I didn’t have a doorman, gym or functioning laundry mat in my building, there was one amenity, which tickled my fancy the most.

An elevator building, oh boy. Ever since I was a lad living in a closet in Queens, I dreamt of being lifted up into the sky. More importantly, I strategically chose my location for one very important reason.

“I would like an everything bagel withe scallion cream cheese. Oh and a large coffee, please,” said I with my mouth watering. Throughout my years in New York, I always lived around the city’s best bagel shops. In my east side apartment, I lived dangerously close to Essa Bagel, one of the city’s most highly revered bagel shops.

One faithful morning, I finished my scrumptious bagel and headed toward Gramercy Park. Unexpectedly, I heard a classic New York accent garner attention from my eardrum. “Hi honey, question?” asked the voice. An elderly woman stood in all black. She was wheeling a granny cart. It’s the closest New Yorkers get to driving. Granny carts are ideal for loading up with groceries and laundry. Her cart appeared especially heavy.

“Can you help me take my cart up? I’ll give you ten dollars,” she said. I have always hated lifting anything heavy, but at that moment, I graduated to a “pushover” status and agreed to shlep the cart up to her apartment.

“Thanks dahling, my apartment is over there,” she said. The charming grandma lived in an enchanting apartment block in Gramercy, an affluent neighborhood in Manhattan’s east 20’s.

I entered her building’s lobby, which looked like every other New York walk-up building. “My apartment is on the sixth floor. Remember, drag, and don’t lift the cart up the stairs. I’ll wait down here,” she said. “Oh, the Karma Gods better serve me up something wonderful for this one,” said I, internally.

The voyage up commenced. Instantly, I hated having to drag that heavy cart up the stairs. Also, I wondered, how old people survived in a walk-up. “Are you okay up there? Remember drag, don’t lift,” said, our lovable senior citizen. Her New York accent intensifying. Even on a winter’s day, the sweat poured. Every set of stairs was even more daunting than the last.

Eventually, I reached the top. I was awaiting a medal for my courageous voyage up. Exhaust-idly, I walked down the staircase. I reached the lobby. “Hey you looked stress,” she commented. “I am fine, thanks,” I replied. “Here’s ten bucks, thanks so much dahling,” she said, after going through an archaeological dig in her purse.

I really wanted the ten dollars. My conscience took over. “Look, it’s fine. I have a full time job. Consider it a favor,” said I. “Buy yourself a coffee or something, she said. I still wanted the ten bucks, but I walked out. “No, it’s really okay. Lovely to meet you. Have a great day,” said I. “Thanks again,” she replied, while cracking her coconut exterior and revealing a sweet smile.

I stepped into the bitter winter cold, which was quite refreshing after that work out. Passing the beautifully guarded and very private, Gramercy Park, (the actual park, which the neighborhood derives it’s name from) I thought to myself, “gee, must be tough being old and living in a walk-up, glad I could help that nice old lady out.”

Months later, I traded my elevator building for a fifth floor walk-up in Harlem. After dragging that granny cart up sixth floors, I had proper training in maneuvering a walk-up. I do daydream of living in an elevator building again. These days, I don’t need that gym membership, since every step up to my apartment feels like the equivalent of running the New York marathon.

 

The Blossoming Wallflower

Live from my modest New York apartment, it’s another trip down memory lane.

Through the darkened canyons, I drove. 80’s music blasted. I was a man on a mission. Along with my gal pal, Holly, we took the spontaneous voyage to Palm Springs, where gay happens.

The eerie darkness of the canyons gave way to a scattered city lights. Mountains were hidden in the darkness. Signs for Target, fast food restaurants and a casino, reminded us, that indeed this is not the barren desert. Windmills boogied to the rhythm of the wind. After another round of darkened canyons, we arrived in kitschy, Palm Springs.

“Gays, so many gays,” I declared. The sweat ran down our faces, even at night. However, the liveliness of Palm Springs was simply invigorating. The restaurants were bustling. There were plenty of interesting art galleries and shops selling knick-knacks. We had a most splendid dinner, at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Las Casuelas.

We skipped dessert, in favor of quality time with my people on Arenas Road. Cher impersonators, senior citizens and gym bunnies come together on the town’s main gay drag. Want a new speedo or the latest gay news? Arenas Road has it. The music was thumping, especially at Hunter’s nightclub, which is the grand dame of Palm Springs nightlife.

Only one obstacle stood in my way. “Shit, I am not twenty-one yet,” said I. Rather than sobbing, I asked Holly, ” Hey, I wanna meet a guy. Can you let me know how much approach is?” Officially, she became my love therapist. “But, which fellow should I approach?” asked I.

Predictably, I found two handsome fellows, who converged on the sidewalk. One guy was blond and classically handsome. The other fellow was a raven-haired Adonis with a slight resemblance to Zachary Quinto. I swooped in with Holly was my wing lady.

“Hi, I am Anthony, nice to meet you,” I said. They politely made conversation with us, but seemed disinterested. Rather than call defeat, I kept the conversation going. Holly seemed less than impressed with the boys. I was too, but they were so cute.

“Oh, this is I, improving my self confidence. I get nervous meeting guys, but here I am,” said I. Holly gave me an awkward smile. “You did alright to me,” said the blond guy with a cold expression. “We’re going to Toucan’s. Nice meeting you guys, enjoy Palm Springs,” said, the raven-haired Adonis.

“You shouldn’t tell a guy, that you lack self-confidence,” said Holly. “You’re right, I messed that one up,” said I. “They were kind of cold. You could do better,” she said with a smile. We headed back to Riverside (where I lived at the time).

That night in Palm Springs taught me a lesson, not typically grasped in musical theatre. Indeed, one must not put a hot guy in a pedestal; we must value our own self worth first.

Although, I’ve been rejected a ton, I still look on the bright side. Stories on rejection are often times more interesting and relatable, since it delves into the very core of our own insecurities. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go back to finding dates on Tinder.

 

 

Boy Crush

New York in the middle of summer, it’s hot and sticky. On weekend afternoons (in the summer), the city empties out. New Yorkers find refuge in beaches outside the concrete confines. There is one kind of New Yorker, who sticks it out even in the muggiest of situations.

“I am the weekend homeless?” asked I, while on the phone with Ben. “It’s the folks that stay in the city. They don’t have a weekend house share on Fire Island  (the gay New Yorker’s favorite summer spot),” he said. As he uttered those faithful words, there was truth to the term. According to social media, most everyone had congregated on fabulous beaches, while taking photos of their newly sculpted physiques.

“I feel like a rebel staying in my city, ” said I. In summers past, I very rarely left the city. I lingered on the pavement, schvitzing (sweating), wondering if relief from the heat was in sight. One afternoon typified the New York weekend summer experience.

“Shit, why do I always insist on wearing all black in the summer?” asked I, while strolling down Christopher Street. Sweat dripped from my head. My rosy cheeks turned a harsher shade of neon pink. The intense weather forced me to ask myself, “fall, where art thou? You lovable season of pumpkins and cardigans.

A soothing wind dried my melting skin. “Hello, gaydom,” I proclaimed. Even in the easy bake oven, which is New York on a summer’s day, something refreshing and gay was in the air. “Oh that’s right, there’s always Christopher Street Pier, said I. Crossing the West Side Highway, I locked eyes with imposing Hudson River, and (of course) Jersey in the distance.

Christopher Street Pier is located on the Hudson. As the name suggests it’s a pier, which is filled with gay patrons. It’s a slice of Fire Island, sans the remote location.

There are many gay subcultures, which frequent the pier. Twinks (skinny hairless gay guys), run around in colorful speedos. Bears hibernate along the sunny shoreline with their chest hair flowing freely. Muscle men become one with their yoga mats as their inner self abandons the gym for a more natural habitat. Silver foxes, regardless of body types, proudly show off their seasoned exterior.

Sitting on the grass under the sun, my cheeks were roasting like marsh mellows on a fire pit. I took a breath of Hudson River breeze and declared, “oy, this may not be my favorite season, but at least there will always be Christopher Street Pier,” said I.

The not so-starry night re-appeared. It was time for me to return to the humid concrete reality. “Oy, this little staycation was fun, but I don’t want to go to stand on the subway platform right now. I still long for somewhere gay and cool,” said I, walking toward Seventh Avenue.

Fortunately, I found my own rainbow colored and unicorn friendly oasis. Where did I end up? You ask; the Big Gay Ice Cream shop, naturally. I noshed away on the pecan praline ice cream sandwich. “Summer isn’t so bad, at times, proclaimed I.” Where there is ice cream, shirtless guys and a little bit of breeze, happy memories magically appear.  If only I could see a flying unicorn, then my summer would be complete.

 

 

 

Frolic on 72nd Street

“If my friends could see me now,” (from the musical, Sweet Charity) is my theme song for that most charming season, autumn. When the skies above New York City, morph into a spectacular golden grey, overwhelming humidity travels south.

My cardigans and I have always reveled in lightly chilled winds. Not only is New York is painted in dynamic hues of red and orange, but the city evokes a more romantic facade.

In the mystical land, Norah Ephron romantic comedies, a new kind of love was igniting. ” Let’s go see the beautiful fall foliage today, said my one of my best gay buddies. With that statement, he gathered up the troops for a field trip to Central Park. One troop was running fashionably late, which kept us gays, quite anxious.

As we chatted it up in the background of a friend’s cozy, Upper West Side apartment, the buzzer sounded. “Finally,” we all shouted. I was curious to meet this new troop.

The door opened dramatically. There he stood, Noah. He traveled all the way, crosstown just to see foliage with us. I took a gulp. “Hello, Noah, I thought to myself. My palms were sweating and caterpillars transformed into butterflies with his very appearance.

He had a classic intellectual look. With short dark hair, black-frame glasses and a fashionable black sweater, he was physically a charmer. I extended my hand to introduce myself. He turned his head, avoiding eye contact with me. The butterflies fell from the sky and returned to their cocoon. “Shit, he knows I am interested and gave me the cold shoulder,” I thought to myself.

I dusted the disappointment from my shoulders and we headed toward Central Park. The city was dusting itself from the reminients of a brutal summer. It was beaming with a renewed sense of self.

Even though, I felt slightly rejected by Noah, I decided to get to know him better. This time, I played calm and collected, strolling with the troops around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis Reservoir. We made good conversation, but the eye contact was perpetually non-existent.

” Gee, where is all the foliage?” cried one of the troops. Indeed the park was barely painted in orange and red. Miraculously, there was one tree toward Fifth Avenue, which drenched in red leaves. We all took pictures. “Mission accomplished, let’s go have a drink, boy,” I declared. Over margaritas and tacos, I wanted to uncover the mystery of Noah.

Even after a few frosty adult beverages, Noah turned his head, anytime we made eye contact. “Oh I hate the head turn, oy to the vey,” said a disappointed, I.

The troops decided they wanted to see a film at the local IMAX. ” Hey guys, I have a hard time at movie theaters, they make me sleepy. I am going back to my apartment,” said I.

With that I gave the troops a hug, goodbye. I reached over to give Noah a hug. ” Nice to meet you,” he said. “Thanks you too, said I. He kept an emotionless exterior and finally made direct eye contact.

“I think you’re absolutely adorable,” said Noah. The butterflies once again rose from cocoons. My brain swung to the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, singing, “Let’s call the whole thing off,” while orange leaves fell from the sky. “That means he’s into you,” whispered my friend into my perky ear.

“Back at ya,” I told Noah. I walked away. Then I thought to myself, “shit I walked away, rather than having the balls to ask him out on a proper date.” Rather, than dwelling on my lack of action, I utilized the experience to always seize the moment. With that said, I shall write the next fellow I fall for, a most wonderful poem. Who could resist a witty poem filled with romance?

Old New Yawk

Keep New York old is my motto. A tear streams down my cheek every time another steel and glass box reaches the sky. In utter disappointed, I declare “oy, there goes the neighborhood, goodbye Breakfast at Tiffany’s, hello, Blade Runner.”

With the rise of hip hotels rooftops, condos for the rich and fancy gyms, I abandoned my architectural despair and found old New York in the most unexpected of places. In the midst of gentrifying Harlem, lies the West Side Bingo Hall. It’s a gathering place of feisty senior citizens, who opted to stay in Manhattan, rather than embrace palm trees and golf courses.
My New York gal pals and I just happened to be the youngest people at the hall. Bingo didn’t quite appeal to me at first, but I decided, “I may get lucky here.” Excitement filled the air, as everyone anticipated two hours of Bingo madness. The prize was $500.00, which made the idea of possibly winning, ever more exciting.
The girls and I began to play. We noshed on Little Caesar’s pizza as the numbers were called through a large megaphone.  I told myself “I am going to win. Damn it, I am going to win,” said I, with every number, matching my bingo sheet.
“Yo, shut the fuck up,” yelled one grey haired New Yorker to the other for talking over the game. My eyes widened. “Wow, I’ve never heard old people talk like that, ” said, I mentally. “The fuck you this and that “continued, every time anyone spoke too loudly. “I can’t wait to be a sassy old person in New York. It’s so cool, that everyone is straight forward and saying fuck and shit, is cuter when you’re eighty,” said I.
The adrenaline rush proceeded. I wanted to win the grand prize. I had four squares left on my sheet. “Bingo,” shouted an elderly gentleman. The crowd went into a loud commotion. Don’t worry they may have gotten a number wrong, said Kelly. The gentleman was indeed the grand prizewinner. “There goes $12,” I proclaimed.
Not all was lost, besides hanging out with some of my favorite gals, Bingo became more entertaining. I glanced to my left. There was a crowd of rowdy seniors anticipating bingo. There was also a bouncer trying to hold them back from entering the bingo hall too early. Note to self, when I turn sixty-four, I’ll be at the bingo hall, being Mr. Sassy Pants.
We left the bingo hall, empty-handed. I may have lost the game, but gained an evening full of laughs. My gal pals and I headed to legendary, Dinosaur BBQ for dinner. One bite into beef brisket sandwich, and I forgot about loosing the bingo game. Instead, I enjoyed an evening out and celebrated a new hobby, playing Bingo (naturally).

Chocolate Chip Cookies For the Soul

The fireplace roared. A winter fairy sprinkled icy dust on Seventh Avenue, transforming the gritty pavement into an inviting painting. Inside a spacious apartment, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies illuminate in the oven. The magical treats scent the Uptown dwelling with sweet perfume.

In a California king sized bed, sits an adorable gay couple. Both are quite witty and sip on matching coffee mugs. They watch Father of the Bridge (1991 Steve Martin version). “Oh honey, this will be like us one day, sans the neurotic father character, said one gay to the other.

That’s right, we don’t know any neurotic people do we? asked the other gay. They giggle and take a sip of their hot chocolate. The 90’s romantic comedy laughs continue.

This folks is another edition of “just gag me, but I secretly wish this was my life, sometimes.” As I always say, my ideal husband is out there. He’s just hiding under a rock. Now back to our regularly scheduled program, “Thirty, single & living in a New York City walk-up.”

“Damn, I feel guilty, having Chinese food delivered to my apt in this weather. Poor delivery guy,” I declared. I slurped on my Wonton soup, while sitting in the dark with my lap top glowing, I sang the “I feel guilty song.” It’s a little melody I came up with, while attending Catholic school for six years.

I then traded my guilty melody for something on the classic side. “Come on knock on our door. We’ve been waiting for you,” the Three’s Company theme song played. Naturally, I laughed at the antics of Jack, Chrissy, Janet and the Ropers. I uttered the infamous words, “wow, this is my life in a blizzard, old sitcom re-runs and Chinese delivery.

I glared at my window with the flashing lights of the deli across the street. I live in New York and can’t hibernate for the whole winter, like a bear. I long for a day of culture.

The next day was a particularly grey Saturday. “I don’t have a boyfriend, but it doesn’t mean I can’t go out on wonderful dates, by myself (that is),” said I. With my coat keeping perfectly roasty toasty, I set off for an exotic voyage. It would require me to pass a body of water. Naturally, I was jet setting to Brooklyn. Specifically, I was going for the Jean Paul Gaultier costume exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

Watching his outrageous Paris fashion shows on television was always a treat. Especially as a Catholic schoolboy, I loved his sense of rebellion and artistery. When I stepped out of the subway and finally reached the Brooklyn, excitement filled my eyes. “My day of culture begins, I am so excited. I just can’t hide it. Wow, I really have to stop quoting the Pointer Sisters,” said I.

I bought my ticket and waited for the exhibit to open. In contrast to the kitschy Gaultier exhibit, I roamed around the war exhibit, which was depressing, but interesting. Then the main event, anticipation built. My eyes were first met with flashy outfits worn by pop stars in the 90’s. I roamed around more. I saw Madonna’s legendary cone bras, avant-garde outfits worn by Bjrok and many 80’s punk inspired outfits inspired by London street fashion.

Surprisingly, it brought me back to my teenage years. It was a time where I yearned for self-expression. Throughout my Catholic school years, I wore a uniform and didn’t fit in with the other boys. Hence, fashion magazines, literature and music provided an exodus from the grim reality.

“The teenage me, would have loved this exhibit, I declared with a cheesy French soundtrack playing in the background. “Just by spending the day at a museum, I feel so accomplished and a bit more worldly. I love New York and all of its cultural opportunities,” said I. Mission accomplished, I declared. I had my day of culture and didn’t spend my day off, cooped up in my apartment, watching re-runs.

One thing would make the day sweeter. “Yum, yum, a chocolate chip cookies from the Levain Bakery. Wow, I can’t get over the taste and all those delicious chocolate chips,” said I. That’s right, I rewarded myself with cookie for soaking up a day of culture. I may not have a tasty cookie recipe, but luckily the Levain Bakery is just a walk away.

 

 

Lullaby of Chinatown

Within the perimeters of Canal & Bowery, exists a country within a city. In the shadow of neon signs flashing Cantonese and Mandarin, are many treasured wonders.

Exotic fruit, which have the appearance of quirky, avant-garde art, delights all senses. The sweet scent of miniature pancakes infuses with escaped fish from the sea. Chinese fans, ceramic dragons and Buddha’s, provide a much-needed kitsch.

In the midst of Chinatown’s charm, four New Yorkers embarked on an odyssey. Firstly, I must take the flying DeLorean to last year (hello, Back to the Future reference). Fasten your seat belts, folks. Please be aware of the exit row. Here we go, its lift off time.

It happened last year on the rooftop of a quaint building, in close proximity to Washington Square Park. Yours truly and some of my people waited in anticipation for one magnificent sight. That glorious Kodak moment was in the form of fireworks. Hello, Fourth of July, said I. As the darkness embedded Greenwich Village, the anticipation built.

Boom, boom, boom went the fireworks. With great dramatic momentum, our eyes searched the night sky for those beloved-flashing lights over the nearby Hudson. The sound effects persisted, but the fire works were nowhere to be seen. I looked at my friends in puzzlement. “Where are the fireworks? They’re supposed to be visible from this vantage point, aren’t they? asked I.

We waited a bit longer. Still the imposing apartment buildings of the West Village shielded us from that most Fourth of July tradition. Instead of feeling disappointed, we watched the fireworks on television. It was quite lovely, but not the same sensation (as seeing them in person).

A few weeks later, I strolled the Upper West Side. While walking toward the 72nd Street subway, I heard a familiar, boom sound. I peered into the night sky over Broadway. Fireworks dominated the ornate Upper West Side sky. This was in celebration of Bastille Day (French independence day). The sight was quite magnificent. I declared, “vive la France.” My desire to see fireworks on the Fourth of July only intensified.

Let’s take the DeLorean back to this year. While my gal pals and I didn’t see the candy hued lights over Manhattan, last year, we made it a mission to actually see them this year.

In the depth of an empty Chinatown, we set out on foot to see the glorious show. Even as experienced New York walkers, we were baffled on where to see the show, which was on the East River (this year). We took a side street down and as the Manhattan Bridge appeared, our mission had been accomplished.

At last, we found the perfect vantage once we reached the East River’s Edge. “This is it, we’ll finally see the show,” I declared. Hoping that nobody extraordinarily tall would hover in front of me, I waited in anticipation. Then that familiar boom was heard. The fireworks commenced. They lit up the sky from the near-by Brooklyn Bridge. “Oh, aw, wow,” said the onlookers.

I too was in awe of the sparkly sky. At that moment, I appreciated seeing the show in living flesh. It would become one of my all time favorite New York memories. I was so very impressed with the pomp and pageantry of great American tradition.

Afterwards, we topped off the night, Lower East Side style. As wine was sipped, we thanked our lucky stars for a most memorable Fourth of July.

Sing along with Radiohead

“Fake Plastic trees by Radio, isn’t exactly a staple on Christmas Eve. After of campy holiday songs ware off, nothing says happy holidays like mellow 90’s Brit Pop.

This past Christmas Eve, I woke up excitedly. I blasted the quintessential Radiohead jam and did the happy dance. “Yeah, I am on vacation, this is thrilling,” said I. That morning I opened my Facebook. It was a montage of photographs featuring luxurious images of New York airports from JFK’s Delta airlines terminal to planes waiting take off at Newark.

Then I realized, “oh yes, it’s Christmas Eve,” everyone is going home for the holidays. I too was headed out west for Christmas, but didn’t leave till the next day. A part of me, just wanted to be home in California with my father, enjoying the back patio and grilling steaks. Tear, tear, I had to find a way to comfort my poor self, while I waited for time to pass by. Oh and did find the ideal while to brush off that lonely feeling, the New Yorker way.

On my day off, I headed for my happy medium, Brooklyn Bagel in Chelsea. “That’s right nobody is going to be in town, except tourists and they’re in Midtown. No lines for me,” said I. Those were the cliché famous last words, since Brooklyn Bagel was packed. Although, the streets were a bit emptier, everyone had the same idea.

Fortunately, I found a seat and indulged in a most delectable bagel. “I must keep myself occupied and not get homesick, how do I do that?” I took a long walk from Chelsea to the East Village. While fastening my pea coat, I peered into the pavements of gritty yet charming First Avenue. “Wow, it’s oh so quiet, just like the Bjork song,” said I.

“There won’t be a line at the Bean (coffee shop) or at the Strand (bookshop). Wow, fuck loneliness, the East Village feels like my own personal playground and it’s fantastic,” said I. It was marvelous walking around without people traffic (my previous New York years, I was in California for Christmas eve). Then I realized, “oh I still don’t have someone to spend Christmas Eve with.

Like any proper urbanite away from family on Christmas Eve, I had found my alternative and it wasn’t on Grindr.

Rocco was his name. He’s a cold-blooded fellow, thanks to being a turtle (which falls in the reptile family). My friend Krista had me feed him his holiday supper, since she was in Chicago for the holidays. That’s right; turtle sitting wore off the loneliness of being away from family. Watching the turtle munch on vegetable sticks gave me purpose in the midst of jingle bell rocks.

After an adventure in turtle sitting, I took the 3 train home to Harlem. An elderly woman hopped on the train and proclaimed “Merry Christmas to everyone.” Surprisingly, everyone was equally jolly in the tough nosed subway. The holiday cheer actually made my night.

I came home and packed my bags. For my holiday dinner, I ate a chicken pot pie. I traded Radiohead for a Charlie Brown’s Christmas tunes. It was a great end to a day, which could have been lonely, ended up being lovely. With eyelids fully closed, I eagerly awaited the early morning flight to California and quality time with my father.

 

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