Entries from September 1, 2011 - September 30, 2011


September 30, 2011

So it was my first night back at work and I may as well start whining about it. I had to go in at 10 :00 AM and now it’s closing in on 10:00 PM and I have to go back in early again tomorrow. Ugh. So I thought I’d take it easy and do a little bit of wandering. But wander to where? That is the question...and here’s the answer: The Waverly Diner. Jeremiah Moss recently ran a post about the renovation that’s been going on there, you can read that post here: Waverly Diner.

The renovations started last summer, I would think they’d be close to finishing by now. I thought we’d go, take a look and if it’s still closed we’ll grab a beer at the Washington Square Diner, another great old school diner that’s close by.

It's a nice night out, so I thought we'd just walk there, it's a straight shot down 6th Avenue.

Pumpkins in this store front window are a reminder that Halloween is on the way. Fuck, where did the summer go?

And here we are. Boy is this a sad sight. They stripped the neon sign off the front wall. I wonder if it's coming back.

This is how it looked last July.

The neon sign is still hanging, but the lights are out. I'm wondering if they're ever going to light up again.

The neon lights on the side of the building remain, but they too are unlit. This corner used to look so festive and now it's just dead.

I second that emotion.

How true. This is too depressing, let's go to the Washington Square Diner, hopefully they haven't turned it into a Sizzler.

Thankfully, it's still here, in all it's lit up glory. A classic, New York, open all night diner.

There's lots of comfortable booths to sit at in here.

But I thought I'd sit at the marble-topped counter in the back.

Wrapped up pastries line the edge of the counter.

And coffee and hot chocolate machines stand at attention behind it.

And the first beer of the evening is poured by this friendly gentleman behind the counter.

Some cakes are chilling in this refrigerated case.

I ordered a bagel and it looks like it's up and ready. Ding, ding, ding.

And Dyson serves it up with another beer.

A beer and a bagel, the breakfast of champions. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

The Washington Square Diner
Let’s hope they never renovate the Washington Square Diner. The place is a Greek diner, but that’s where the tragedy ends. Inside the walls are lined with spacious booths, covered in purplish/red vinyl. There’s a coffee counter to sit at in the back and single booths are lined up in the middle of the diner for those that just want to hunker down with a newspaper and a bottomless cup of coffee.

The menu is beyond huge. Here’s just a sampling of some of the entries: Lumberjack Belgian Waffles, served with two eggs, bacon, ham and sausage (take that IHOP!); Brisket of Beef open faced sandwich; Linguine With Clam Sauce; Southern Fried Chicken; fourteen varieties of omelettes and seventeen styles of burgers.

Washington Square Diner is  open 24 hours, 365 days a year. And they have beer and wine. Stop by and support a great old-school New York diner.

Washington Square Diner
150 W 4th St. (Near 6th Avenue)

Further reading: MAD, Daily News and facecrack.

Nothin' ever happened 'round my hometown,
And I ain't the kind to just hang around.

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


Bonus Photos by Tom!

Fellow EV Grieve reader and contributer, Tom, sent in these photos of the Papaya Dog on 14th Street at night. Nice shots, Tom! Thanks for sending them in! Sorry, Al!


September 29, 2011

I’m back in New York City! It was great seeing my family and friends in my hometown of Peoria, but it’s great to be back in New York. I met a woman at the Chicago O’Hare airport yesterday, in a bar, of all places! Her name’s Rachael and she told me about her favorite bar in New York called Luke’s Bar and Grill. She also told me her ex-brother-in-law works there and said his name is Luigi. I’ve got tonight off work, but to pay for this I have to go in early tomorrow. Like, ten in the fucking morning! Which means I have to get up around eight in the fucking morning to put this post up. So I thought we’d go to Luke’s and get something to eat and some drinks to knock me out early. Okay, let’s start the post, which I’m titling: “Looking for Luigi!”

Aaahh, back into the New York City night. It's starting to get dark earlier, one of the things I like about the fall season.

A couple of drummers in Union Square Park. Street drummers always make me think of this scene from "Taxi Driver."

And it's down into the subway we go.

And through the magic of the internet, here we are at 77th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

78th and 3rd, just about a block away and that's good. I'm starvin' like Marvin over here.

And here we are, Luke's Bar & Grill. Looks nice, let's check it out.

There's a decent crowd in here, but there's some seats at the end of the bar. Let's grab a chair and sit down.

And here's friendly bartender Paulie serving up an ice-cold Corona.

The bar is all dark wood with lit up bottles in the back.

Here's the view from my perch at the bar.

Green checked table clothed tables and vintage photos line the wooden wall opposite the bar.

Here's Julia, the pretty and friendly hostess who greets you at the door.

And now it's time for dinner. I thought I'd start off with a bowl of French onion soup. Very cheesy and delicious!

And I also got an order of chicken wings which soon became...

A plate of bones. Burp. Hey...where's Luigi?

He's right here. It turns out that Luigi is the owner and operator of Luke's. I told him to wave to Rachael and he does so, if you're out there, Rachael, this wave's for you! Luigi said to say, "hi."

And to pay him back for apartment sitting for me, I took Gumby out on the town as well. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

Luke's Bar & Grill
1394 Third Ave. (Between 79th and 80th St.)

Further reading: New York Magazine, Time Out New York and Shecky’s.

Would you like to do a number with me?

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

Bonus Video Linkage From Crazy Eddie!
Crazy Eddie wrote and said he enjoyed the family pictures I posted from Peoria and suggested this link as a tribute. Thanks, Crazy Eddie!
Tribute link from Crazy Eddie!


September 28, 2011

Okay, it’s a traveling day as I drink my way head back to New York City. I fly from Peoria to Chicago and then to New York City. Since it’s Tuesday, I thought I’d try to get a swizzle stick in every city. And it’ll be a good excuse to have plenty of drinks to make the flying a little less nerve-wracking.

Peoria has a new airport, but I'm really just interested in one section of it...

The bar! Let's see if we get a swizzle stick with a double gin and tonic.

No swizzle stick, but as a consolation prize, we do have a green plastic sword.

En garde! I better not take this on the plane, I don't want to be mistaken for an evil-doer.

And speaking of planes here we are, up in the air on our way to...

Chicago! Let's see what the swizzle stick action is like in the windy city at O'Hare Airport.

No swizzle stick but it looks like little green swords are the new swizzles, at least in airport bars.

Rachael was seated next to me and I had a nice conversation with her. She lives in Florida, but it turns out her ex-brother-in-law manages a bar and/or restaurant in New York called Luigi's. At least I think she said he managed it, maybe he just works there and I'm not exactly sure that she said he's her ex-brother-in-law. This is what happens when you drink double gin and tonics from Peoria to Chicago. I've got the address of the place and maybe we'll check it out tonight.

And here we are back in New York Fucking City! I thought about stopping at a bar in the airport...

But I was pretty bombed tired, so I decided to head home and have one beer and hit the hay.

Aaahh...home sweet swizzle! Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

And I woke up high over Albuquerque,
On a jet to the promised land.

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


Bonus Artwork by Jaws!

Jaws was inspired by today's surprise link and sent in this heelarious artwork! Thanks, Jaws!


September 27, 2011

Okay, today is going to be a quickity, blickity blog as I have to catch an airplane back to New York City. I had fun in Peoria and it was great seeing family and friends, but I’m looking forward to returning to my apartment in New York. Alright, here’s a couple photos, I gotta go pack.

The IHOP in Peoria. I've never eaten in here, but passed by it hundreds of times on the way to my parents house. This time it made me think about the East Village in New York. That's a little sad...okay, it's a lot sad.

My last night in Peoria, I met my friends Colleen and Tim Carey. You may remember that they were special guest stars on the 365 Bar Crawl last year for a couple of nights. And you should know/remember that if you haven't tried Butch's Pizza, you really should. Even if you're not in the Peoria area, you can order it online, just ask the BBC! (Scroll down to last update on this link.) Okay, I gotta run, see you tomorrow after dark.

Further reading: EV Grieve, Grub Street and Merchant Circle.

I'm going back to New York City,

I do believe I've had enough.

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


September 26, 2011

Another reason I came home was it’s my brother Tom’s birthday today. So we’re all going out to eat and you’re all invited.

Here we are at the Fish House. One of our families favorite restaurants in Peoria. It's been here for decades.

Let's go in.

A dark wooden hallway leads to the dining room.

And here's the whole family. Clockwise from the head of the table: My niece, Mary Beth, my sister Terry, Bartender Jerry, Hostess Anne, Tom, the birthday boy, Yours Fooly, my nephew Greg and my brother-in-law, Phil. Let the party and dinner begin!

And the waiter was nice enough to take another shot of us from a different angle. There's always a wise guy in the picture and it's usually me. Dinner was great, I probably should've taken more photos, but hey, I'm on vacation here!

And here's the birthday boy with a slice of birthday cake. Happy birthday, Tom!

And now I have to make a quick trip to the bathroom. As the old saying goes, you don't buy the beer, you just rent it. This trip can only lead to...

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

Fish House
4919 N University, Peoria

Further reading and watching: menupix.com, Peoria Restaurants and City Search.

I would like you to dance (Birthday),
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (Birthday).

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


Bonus Photos From The Family Archive!

Here's some shots of myself and my brothers and sisters when we were wee little folks.

From left clockwise: My brother Jim, Terry, Tom and me. I refused to wear a jacket and donned a turtleneck instead.

Another shot of the four of us in our childhood years.

And here's a real early shot of me at ten months old. Note the punk rock hairdo! A foreshadowing of things to come.


Bonus Cartoon by Jaws!

My comment about dinosaur Walkman days inspired Jaws to do this cartoon. Nice one, Jaws, thanks!


September 25, 2011

Tonight’s the wedding (congratulations to Michael and Abbey!) and I just wanted to relax and didn’t want to be running around bugging people taking photos. But I wanted something to blog about so I wandered around my folks house to find something to take pictures of and lo and behold, what do I find but the remnants of my once might record collection in the bottom of my parents closet. Check it out.
My collection was about 5,000 albums and a couple thousand CD's before I moved to New York. Along with my pension plan, I got some money to move to New York by selling everything I owned. I sold my car, my furniture, my clothes, my stereo, my TV and most of my albums and all of my CD’s. Here’s what’s left of my albums, some of them I didn’t want to sell and some of them nobody else wanted so I stored them here at my parents house. Let’s just take a random look at some of them.

Here's the Beatles "White Album." But it's not exactly white. I used to smoke pot in my bedroom and then draw all over my records.

See? This is the back of the "White Album." I had a full canvas to work with here.

Here's the Beatles, "Yesterday and Today" album. This was the record that was originally the controversial, Beatles "Butcher Album." Since this is a Beatles record on the Capital label, it's probably worth something, except I drew all over it rendering it worthless to anyone but me.

The first Cheap Trick album! I remember being thrilled about this because they were from Rockford, Illinois and I had seen them in bars and clubs before they got signed. Hometown boys made good! This is a great album.

"Everything Stops For Tea" by Long John Baldry. I love this album and Ronnie Wood drew the album cover.

Here's an album by The Tremblers. This was Peter Noone's/Herman's new wave band from the '80's. I think I'm the only one who bought it.

Here's The Beatles turning Japanese.

Legendary bluesman, Luthor Allison's live album. This album was recorded at a club in Peoria, in the '80's, I believe and produced by my friend, musician Craig Moore. Luthor's wife Fannie lived next door to me in an apartment complex and I went to a Christmas party with the entire Allson family and friends. I'll have to write about that sometime.

And finally, The Rutles. Do I have to spell it out? C-H-E-E-S-E-O-N-I-O-N-S-O-H-N-O. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

Further reading and watching: Record Collector’s Guild, Dust & Grooves and Record Collecting Tips.

Have you seen her face,
She’s got a face that would stop a clock.

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


September 24, 2011

A lot of you will remember a special bar on one of the last stops of my 365 Bar Crawl last year. It’s a unique bar in Peoria, called Jerry’s Bar. Well, it’s my second night in Peoria and I thought we’d have a drink or three at Jerry’s bar.

I love the hand-drawn, artisanal sign hanging out front.

Here's the familiar stairwell that descends into Jerry's Bar.

And here's the legendary bar in all its glory. Some of you reading this sat on these stools back in the late '70s and had a beer or 12 at the bar and maybe even snorted something off of it. Oh, those crazy days in the '70's in Jerry's Bar. Fuzzy memories, indeed!

A long shot of the Formica-topped bar...where's the bartender, I sure could use a drink!

And if by magic, here's Jerry, the infamous bartender of Jerry's. He is to me, what Lloyd was to Jack Nicholson in "The Shining." A great bartender, with no judgement.

And here's Jerry with the lovely hostess of Jerry's Bar, Anne. I have to behave down here or they'll send me up to my room with no supper.

As you can see, it's a well-stocked bar.

These fellows have been on the wall for decades.

There's more colorful characters at the end of the bar along with some of the patented Jerry's Bar coasters. There's a Jerry's Bar coaster adorning the Bunt Custer's bar all the way across the world in Australia. Cheers, Clacky!

Here's a ship getting ready to set sail in the sink behind the bar.

And finally, an obligatory mirror shot! Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

Further reading: Jerry’s (Wicker Park), Jerry’s Sandwiches and facecrack.

The postman delivers the final reminders
She sells off her silver and poodles in china.

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


September 23, 2011

Well, I'm here in Peoria and I'm on limited time today. I'm staying with my parents and they're the only people left in the world that haven't surrendered to the internet, so I'm here at my brother's apartment, but due to the fact I don't drive, my dad's driven me here and I have limited time to put this together. Usually it takes me an hour or two to put a post up and today I have about ten minutes. Plus I need to check my email, so this is really going to be a quickity blickity blog. I'll try and post more tomorrow, I've got some shots of my trip and also a few from Jerry's Bar. But for now, this is all I got.

Here's my fuel supply for the flight in the bathroom at Laguardia Airport.

Half of the Smart Water is emptied out...

And in goes the vodka!

And pretty soon we're eight miles high in more ways than one. Okay, my dad has to meet friends for lunch, so I gotta go, see you tomorrow after dark. P.S. I'll try to at least include a Nightcap in tomorrow's post. Sneeze ya then!