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May 19, 2011

It was another killer night tonight and I’m pretty beat, but luckily I have tomorrow off from work, so don’t worry, I’m not going back to the Papaya Dog in Penn Station!

One thing I’ve been meaning to do is go and take a picture of the last cigarette machine in Manhattan. Back when I was doing the bar crawl, Fat Al from the fine blog, The Half Empty Glass made a comment saying that the last cigarette machine was located in a bar called J. Mac’s on the West side of Hell's Kitchen. I went there and it was wild in there that night. There were three drunken people, two men and a women and they were making more noise and trouble than than a field full of lunatics gakked to the nines on crystal methedrine. All three were screaming at each other, one of the men was swinging a pool cue in the air, the woman was hitting and kicking both of them and the other man was throwing balls from the pool table at the wall.

I approached the bartender a somewhat hard-looking woman and started to give her my crawl spiel and took out my camera. She just shook her head and said, “You can’t take pictures in here tonight, I can’t deal with anything more than this.”

I have to tell you, I was kind of relieved. I didn’t want those people fixating on me and happily went to another bar. I was pissed I didn’t get a picture of the cigarette machine though. So tonight, I thought we’d go back and document Manhattan’s last cigarette machine.

Okay, here we are on 57th Street. I spared you a long-ass wait for a subway train that was a little grueling. It's raining out here and pretty miserable. Maybe I should've gone to the Papaya in Penn again. Oh well, onwards and upwards.

I'm just ignoring that pile and walking real fast past it. I don't need a Cardboard Box Man sighting tonight, my nerves are frazzled enough as it is.

But I don't have a boarding pass! Does this sign know something I don't?

Okay, if you insist.

Jesus fucking Christ, this is one long-ass walk over there. It's on the corner of 57th and 11th.

The rain is really coming down now. I'm wet and tired and miserable. I really need a drink!

Fancy Psychic Reader alert! I like the golden man and the hand statues. So tell me, Psychic, when in the fuck will I ever get to J. Mac's?

Oh, never mind, here we are.

The first of many drinks.

Okay, so I walked in and it was kind of like walking into a private party. Everybody in there was Hispanic and the only other white guy in the joint was the picture of John Wayne on the calendar behind the bar. Everyone was speaking Spanish and taking turns playing pool. The bartender was a stocky woman with black hair done up in a braided pigtail. I asked her where the cigarette machine was and she told me they took it out.

“There’s new owners here,” She noted.

Fuck, I was tired, wet and felt defeated five ways from Friday. I ordered a double gin and tonic and of course it arrived without a swizzle stick. The bar was dark and there was a shiny, sparkly internet jukebox behind a pile of discarded liquor boxes in the corner. I went over and put on a few selections including “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones, “Baba O’Reilly” by the Who, “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” by Prince and “Now I Wanna Be Your Dog” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. A tiny Hispanic man was seated at the end of the well-worn wooden bar and was wearing a backwards baseball cap and nodding his head along to the tunes. He got up and walked over to me after a couple of them had played. He was drinking Red Bull and Coors Light and approached me with the can of Red Bull in his hands. He smiled and stuck out his hand. I shook it and he started speaking Spanish to me.

“I’m sorry,” I said shaking my head, “I don’t speak Spanish.”

He then walked over to a tiny woman with black rimmed shell glasses who was playing pool and whispered in her ear. She walked over to me and said, “He wants to tell you he likes your songs.”

I smiled and looked over at him and held my glass up. His can of Red Bull went up in the air just as Roger Daltry’s voice was booming, “It's only teenage wasteland, they're all wasted!” through the shiny internet jukebox. All of a sudden I didn’t care that the cigarette machine wasn’t there. I ordered another drink and the bartender told me, “It’s on the house.”

All in all, it was a decent night.

Obligatory bathroom shot. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

600 W. 57th St.

Further reading: New York Magazine, NY Times, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York and Shecky’s.

You might also like: Mac and Cheese, Mac Davis and Mac.

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It’s only teenage wasteland,
They're all wasted!


(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)

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  • Response
    Response: Speaking of Marty
    I’ve been meaning to mention Marty’s post about J. Mac’s on 57th Street. Now the post is obviously fantastic just because it mentions us. We don’t get mentioned much so it’s kind of exciting. But enough about our inferiority complexes. What’s great about Marty’s post is that it hits another solid ...
  • Response
    Download MyriadPro

Reader Comments (17)

Who knew you could have so much fun so close to New Jersey?
To Pedro Picapiedra, Tienen un tiempo de yaba Dabba Doo!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercsp

That was a nice little journey that started out soggy but had a happy booze-soggy ending! LOL! It's nice sometimes when you just write about the night without using pictures, nice change of pace!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

J Mac's, despite all it took to get there,,,(rain), looked like a decent time was had. You did a yeoman's job again. Is that the right word, Yeoman,,,like " hey yo man, get me a beer". Great clip of Flintstones taking a winstons cig break,,,. You looked wasted in that bathroom shot, thats a good thing.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAl

@csp: I just Googled, Pedro Picapiedra...ha ha ha!

@Barfly: I was in no mood to take pictures last night. Glad you liked the story.

@Al: "Yo man..." Ha ha ha! And yes, I was feeling no pain by the time of the bathroom picture!

May 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Sounds like a great night! Always nice when you go into a different scene & feel accepted. Love this post!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteronemorefoldedsunset

I felt weird like that in Ipanema ... good time though ! Glad you enjoyed yourself ! ... I've never been to JMacs ... but then again 11th Ave is like no man's land ... might have to try it though ...

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

Now thats a fucking gyp! That obligatory bathroom shot looks a little pit pissed and a little bit pissed off.
It could have been worse, Marty, so count your blessing that you didn't stop near that pile off cardboard.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClacky.

"of cardboard" I like to keep the spelling curekt on this post.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClacky.

Walking that far in the rain is No Bueno - that's devotion!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBritta

"tired, wet and felt defeated five ways from Friday" and MAD bounces back to report it was a decent night...damn and did not fall out of the bed and damage his face..."whata man whata man" the crowd cheers...hope tonight is just as if not more so...

“Most people in this society who aren't actively mad are, at best, reformed or potential lunatics.”
Susan Sontag


May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

So, tonight I went to a bar NEXT to a bar called Macs and guess what? They had a cigarette machine in there! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo. Maybe next time. Anyhoo, glad you had a relatively good night, free of any harshing the buzz from cardboard man. Happy birthday, Joey!

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

@Everyone: I am so tired and beat I can't comment back. I had a great time at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash but will have to get up around 8am to put it all together. Time is not on my side lately and is kicking my ass! Thanks to you all for stopping buy and commenting though!

May 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

You need a vacation Marty! Glad to hear you had a good night finally, look forward to reading about it tomorrow.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari

Okay, Marty now I've got to steal this idea from you because I can guarantee you that there are still cigarette machines in Peoria and I know where most of them are at.

It's super dumb that people think if they take out cigarette and poker machines and put in fancy internet boxes it will magically transform them from being a dive bar - doesn't work.

Also, that's a cool ending to a what would have been a pretty disappointing night...great post!

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTheChief

@TheChief: Take the idea and run with it! I'll put up a link when your cigarette machine post is up, let me know!

May 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Marty, I suggest that you try this Psychic Readings place :)

@Zioum Zioum: Maybe I will try them out!

May 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

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