Entries in East Village (50)


April 18, 2011

First off I’d like to announce that my pals, Karen McBurnie and Jon Hammer have published a new edition of their ultra-cool internet publication, Grade “A” Fancy. The feature story is an interview with the Manhattan (the drink, not the city.) Plus there’s recipes, cool artwork and layout, cherries and the phrase: “Diluted, quaggy mess.” I’m thinking about stealing that asking permission from Karen and Jon to use that as the title of my biography. Anyhoo, check out the fun here: Manhattan Confidential.

Okay, I’m writing this introduction after the fact. The place I was originally going to shut me down and said I would have to ask the manager if I could take photos in there. So just like last year on the bar crawl I started off on a lonely walk. But, also like last year, when one place would shut me down, I’d find a better place in my travels. And that’s just what happened tonight. Check it out.?

Before I even started out tonight, I ventured out in the daytime to get that Gumby bag at Forbidden Planet. A second after I shot this picture I froze with nervous fright that maybe the Gumby bag would be gone. Scared out of my wits I went in to see if the treasured Gumby bag was still in stock.

Yes! They still have them. Gumby!

And now I have the Gumby Messenger Bag. World domination next. Nothing can stop me now!

Okay, on my way to tonight's destination I ran along this discarded cardboard box that had a face staring at me. It kind of freaked me out and I stared at it for over five minutes. Yikes!

There's a full moon out tonight and it's kind of spooky out here.

Okay, the place I was originally going to wouldn't let me take pictures of their store until I talked to the manager. So let's check out this place.

It's a small space, let's see what's inside here.

Holy Moley! It's like Tower Records barfed into a phone booth in here. There's piles of stuff everywhere!

Here's a fellow browsing in the back, which is only a few feet from the front. Let's go say hi.

His name is Barry and he told me he's a regular in here. He said he stops by almost every night of the week to check out the specials in the store.

For those of you that still have a Walkman, we salute you!

Stacks of VHS tapes. It's a little bit of a time warp in here, which is a good thing.

Swing softly with Steve. Just don't tell Eydie!

There's piles of vinyl to sift through in here.

There's a nice selection of Iggy Pop offerings on the racks.

Here's a signed Hyun Michelle Kim piano CD!

The Archies!

There's bags on the floor stuffed with...

Cassettes. You won't find no stinking iPods in here!

The Clash at Shea Stadium are neighbors with Neil Diamond on one Hot August Night in NYC.

A stool doubles for a display rack in here.

A shot from the back of the store.

Here's me with my purchases and clutching my Gumby bag. Are you jealous? I don't blame you.

On the way home I was glad to see that frightening cardboard box man was gone.

Home, sweet home. Hey, what's that on my futon?


What I Bought

I got the signed Hyun Michelle Kim CD and the Clash at Shea Stadium.

Rainbow Music 2002 Ltd.
130 First Ave. (Near 9th St.)

Further reading: Google page, NYC Metblogs, Citizen Jazz (fifth bulleted entry down) and Epigee.

You might also like: Beavers, Cleavers and Larry Mondello.

Six Ed Wood Movies
Glen or Glenda
Plan 9 From Outer Space
Bride of the Monster
Fugitive Girls
Ed Wood

I could never find a chance to choose,
Between a way to win or a thing to lose.



April 14, 2011

Okay, I’m writing the introduction after I’m done with tonight because it was a big fail. And a big disappointment to me. I can’t say what I was going to do because for the life of me I’m going to pull it off down the road. When I’m obsessed with something I can’t let it go and now I’m definitely obsessed with getting the post I wanted to do tonight. Sorry for the mystery and those of you who know what I was going to do, please don’t reveal it in the comments because it would ruin it for the post I will eventually do. Even though it didn’t work out, I still soldiered on and got some photos for a post to put up, even though I was in a shattered mood. What I wanted to do would’ve been such a classic post and I feel pretty horrible that I didn’t pull it off. Eventually I will. Anyway, here’s what I got in spite of my failure. You can’t win them all. Over, under, sideways, down.

Another chilly dismal night out here. When the fuck is the weather going to break here?

We'll be taking the F train to the East Village. (In retrospect I should've realized the "F" stands for Fail. I should've taken a cab. Noted for the next time.)

As soon as I got down on the tracks, boom, the train came rolling in. I love it when that happens!

And here we are in the East Village.

And about a block from here is where it all fell apart. I thought this would be a great night and it just didn't work at all. So with no game plan, it's time to improvise and try and salvage something out of this rotten night.

I thought maybe I'd walk around and take pictures of beg bug signs. Yes, i was that desperate. But just like cops, when you want to see a bed bug sign, they're few and far between.

I love the words, "Call Crazy Landlord." That would be a good name for a book, movie and/or a rock 'n' roll band. Just a little observation while wandering.

Seeing these bikes made me remember that the Hells Angels building is close by. That would make for some decent photos. Maybe get a good shot of their motorcycles all in lined up in front of their building.

And here we are, the infamous Hells Angels building on Third Street.

Hells Angels New York City.

Another banner off to the right of the building. I was disappointed that their aren't any Angels milling around. Maybe next time.

The notorius Hells Angels bench. MAD pal, EV Grieve broke a story about this a few months ago. Check it out here: Hells Angels bench.

I wanted a good shot of the motorcycles that are always parked out here, but they're all covered up, due to the shitty weather. I tell you, some nights you just cannot win. Sheesh!

On my way home, I saw these three gumball machines.

They're steel-topped Beaver machines. Always the mark of excellence!

I got a little yellow ring. A small reward on a night of gloom and doom. Oh well, tomorrow's another night. See you then, after dark.

Further reading and watching: EV Grieve, Flaming Pablum, Hells Angels NYC and Hunter Thompson.

You also might like: You might also like: Dino, Desi and Billy.

Three Other Hell’s
Richard Hell
Hell’s Kitchen
Hell Girl

Do you like good music?
That sweet soul music.



Bonus Photo From Lex!

And to remind us all that things could be worse, MAD friend Lex, sent in this photo from Canada, where seemingly winter never ends!


April 8, 2011

One of the things I like about this blog is it forces me to go to different spots in the city. When I first moved here in 1993 I was running around the city like a Marathon runner gakked to the nines on crystal meth. I love this city and just couldn’t get enough of it. Then after a couple of years I slowed down a little and then when I moved into my apartment on 16th Street pretty much every thing I needed was within a six block radius. I found myself going to the same bar, the same deli, the same diner...well, you get the picture. I had gotten a little jaded and forgot what a great city I was living in. Every year I swore I’d start getting out more and it didn’t happen till last year when I did my 365 Bars blog. I re-discovered the city and decided that my next blog would be running around New York. I just don’t have to go to a bar and drink every night with this one. I could stop and smell the roses and maybe take drugs every now and again. Life is pretty good!

And that leads me up to tonight’s entry. My second entry here at MAD, back in the black and white days...err...nights, was a trip to 53rd and 3rd, a corner immortalized by Dee Dee Ramone on the Ramones first album. Well, Dee Dee’s not the only Ramone in New York City with a corner, on November 30th, 2003 the city of New York officially named the corner of 2nd Street and the Bowery, Joey Ramone Place. I went there back in 2003 and I don’t think I’ve been back since. So let’s go check it out. Hey he, let’s go! (And I know you saw that coming about a three miles away. Gabba gabba hey.)

I had to work a little late tonight, so I'm over here on Fifth trying to hail a cab. It's almost midnight.

This guy crossed two lanes and just about plowed into me. Sheesh! Desperate for a fare, pal? Oh well, he's going our way, let's get in.

And we're off!

And with incredible-like taxi speed we're here! The sign is across the street, let's go check it out.

Okay, here we are at the corner, now where's the Joey Ramone sign, you may be wondering.

It's been stolen so many times by fans, they had to put it up beyond reach. I think they went a little overboard, but I bet Joey would get a kick out of this! Let's try and get a better shot.

And there we go, Joey Ramone Place. The thing about doing these corner stories is once you get the shot, there's not a lot else to do. Oh well, let's wander back towards where I live and take some random photos around the city.

One of my pet peeves, right behind slow-walkers that fan out all over the fucking sidewalk are assholes that bunch up in a group on a sidewalk and block everyone from walking down the street. Don't worry about getting out of my way, assholes, I'll just walk out into the street and almost get hit by a cab again. Jerkoffs!


Speaking of graffiti, here's the infamous Jim Joe tag. This guy leaves his mark all over town.

Wow, thanks for that information! I don't know about you, but I'm guessing the person who made this sign has the last name of Einstein!

Hey, we're not in Flushing, Queens, what's this doing out here?

These two were also admiring the toilet in the trash. We had a nice chat and it turned out they're from Hamburg, Germany and this was their first time in New York. At first they were a little camera shy, but then they loosened up a little and posed for this photo on the street near Broadway.

And then it got really loose and she agreed to hover over the toilet! Good times! Welcome to New York City, ladies!

I stopped and looked at the magazines on display here. Hey, check out the upper right hand corner.

The Ramones! We've come full circle here, so goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.


Hanging Up On Marky Ramone
In 1995, I decided to upgrade my publication, fishwrap from a 12 page black and white fanzine, to a 48 page magazine with a four color cover. I wanted a theme for the issue and I decided to devote the issue to rock ‘n’ roll magazines. I had gotten to know Bob Guccione, Jr. who was the editor of the highly successful Spin magazine at the time and thought he’d be a good interview. He liked fishwrap and I was pretty sure I could score him for the cover story. Another idea I had was to talk to people in rock ‘n’ roll bands about what they thought of rock ‘n’ roll magazines. I thought I’d call the piece, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Jury.” The only problem was when I went to my Rolodex—yes, Rolodex, this was 1995—and looked under “R” for rock stars it was blank.

While I was wondering how to solve this dilemma, I was listening to Adios Amigos by the Ramones. I had read where this was the last album they were putting out and they were retiring after their last concert tour that year. All of a sudden I decided I wanted to interview one of the Ramones for my rock ‘n’ roll fishwrap. I looked at the back of the CD booklet and in the list of credits it said, “Publicity: ISL Public Relations” and there was a phone number. I walked over to the phone and dialed the number and a woman answered and said: “ISL, can I help you?”
“Uh...hi, um...I’d like to interview a Ramone,” I stupidly said. I hadn’t thought before I dialed and just spit that out. It really sounded dumb and the woman on the other line laughed a little.

“Excuse me?” She said after the chuckle.

“I’m sorry, I publish a magazine and I’m a writer and I’d like to interview one of the Ramones for the next issue,” I said a little more cohesively.

“Oh, sure, hang on a second please,” she replied and I was put on hold.

Now I tensed up, were they summoning a Ramone to do the interview? Did they have the power to produce a Ramone at their beckon call? Gabba gabba hey now!

My questions were answered seconds later. A woman came on the phone and identified herself as Ida Langsam. This was her company and she handled all the publicity for the Ramones. She was really nice and I told her about fishwrap and asked if I could interview Joey and ask him about rock ‘n’ roll magazines. She explained that Joey and Johnny weren’t doing interviews, but I could  have my pick of CJ or Marky.

CJ took  over the bass duties from Dee Dee in 1989 and to be truthful, when Dee Dee quit, I thought it would be the end of the Ramones. But just the opposite happened when their new bassist entered the punk rock quartet. CJ was young, a dyed in the wool...or should I say black leather, Ramones fan. I’ve read in interviews where all the Ramones say he brought a new fire to the band and brought back some of the old spirit. And while he had been in the band for six years back then, Marky was the Ramone I picked to interview.

Marky had a long history with the  Ramones and a lot of people think he’s the original drummer. He wasn’t and all in all, there have been four drummers sitting in the somewhat Spinal Tap like revolving drummers stool. But Marky drummed with them the longest of all four (Clem Burke, the drummer from Blondie only lasted about a week!) so I was thrilled to score an interview with him for fishwrap.

Ida told me that they were out playing shows and that everyday they each got a sheet of what they had to do. Ida said I could call him the next day. Perfect! She instructed me to call the hotel they were staying at and gave me Marky’s room number. She said to call at 5:30 pm sharp and try to keep the interview to between 15 minutes to a half an hour. I told her it wouldn’t take that long and thanked her and promised to send her a couple of copies of the magazine after it was printed.

The next day I was in my apartment and it was just about 5:30 in the afternoon and I was a little nervous. I knew Marky had never heard of my magazine and hoped it wasn’t a drag for him to have to do a phone interview with me.

I took a deep breath, picked up the phone and dialed his number. A guy at the front desk answered, I gave him Marky’s room number and on the second ring he picked it up.

“Hello,” he said in his distinctive Brooklyn-flavored voice.

“Hi, is this Marky?” I asked, even though I knew it was.

“Yeah, speaking,” he replied back.

“Hi Marky, this is Marty Wombacher...”

“Oh yeah, the magazine guy, who do you write for again?”  He asked.

I explained how it was my magazine and it started out as a zine and Marky started asking a lot of questions. He asked me if it was political and I told him it was more on the humorous side and cited the National Lampoon and Spy as influences. He told me he liked that and then he asked me if I knew of a few zines he read and I did and the conversation evolved into talking about See Hear, a magazine and book store in New York that sold lots of zines and writers that we both enjoyed reading. I told him I knew Legs McNeil one of the co-authors of the legendary punk rock book, “Please Kill Me” and Marky asked if I had his phone number and I did. He said he wanted to get in touch with him about writing some liner notes for a CD he was working on, but didn’t have his number out on the road. Before I started digging through the rolodex for Legs’ number, I looked up at the clock. Fuck, twenty minutes had gone by and I didn’t really have anything on tape that was usable for the interview. I hadn’t even asked him about any rock ‘n’ roll magazines!

I gave him Legs’ phone number and asked him what he thought about Rolling Stone and that set him off on a diatribe. He told me he liked some of their political writing but said they were never fair to the Ramones and to punk rock in general. I agreed and he talked about Rolling Stone for a good twenty minutes. Now I was ten minutes over Ida’s deadline and Marky was really on a roll. This guy really liked to talk, but I had to get to my night job soon.

I cut in and asked him what he thought about Spin magazine and that led to another rant. Halfway through I realized I had to leave for work or I was going to be late. I jumped in on Marky’s thoughts about Spin.

“Hey, Listen Marky, I think I’ve got plenty of great stuff here,” I explained, trying to end the conversation, “I really don’t want to take up any more of your time...”

“Don’t worry about it,” Marky said, “I’ve got nothing else to do till the show. I can talk a while longer.”

The only problem was I couldn’t, I had to get to work!

He kept on jabbering away. Twice I tried cutting in and saying I had to go to work, but it’s kind of like he didn’t hear me. This guy really liked to talk!

One of my many little quirks is that I can’t stand being late.
It really stresses me out and can even bring on a panic attack. I realized that even if I left that second I would be late getting to work. I tried in vain to end the conversation, but he kept on talking. The last I heard was him going off on yuppies. I was now officially late for work and was about ready to jump out of my skin knowing this. I had to get going.

So I simply just hung up the phone in the middle of his latest rant and ran to the subway station. I felt bad, but I had to get to work. I imagined he chattered on till he heard a dial tone and then assumed that somehow we had a bad phone connection that ended. He was a nice guy and I hoped he didn’t know that I hung up on him. It was quite rude of me to do, but it sure beat having an anxiety attack over being late for work.

When I finally got to work, Giovanni, the daytime manager was a little pissed. He couldn’t leave till I got there and I was about a half an hour late.

“Where have you been?” he asked gruffly. “You’re never late!”

“I couldn’t get Marky Ramone off the phone,” I shot back.

Giovanni looked at me weird and said, “What?”

“It’s a long story,” I wearily answered, throwing my hands up in the air.

Giovanni patted me on the back and said, “My friend, with you, the story is always long!”

We both laughed and I went to work.

Dee Dee, Johnny and Joey Ramone are all dead now. Marky continues to play music and came out with his own pasta sauce last year. I still work nights and haven’t been late to work since that fateful day in 1995.

Further reading: EV Grieve, The Villager, Grub Street (note the third comment from yours fooly) and ISL Public Relations.

You also might like: Grape Jelly, Slinky and Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute.

Four Ramone Drummers

Jackie is a punk,
Judy is a runt.



April 4, 2011

Okay, it’s Sunday and time to visit an independent business in New York and buy something. My way of encouraging everyone to try and shop as local as you can and tell the chains to go fuck themselves. As I’ve said in the past my two favorite kinds of stores are record and book shops, so I’m kind of juggling them back and forth. Maybe next week I’ll find a different kind of shop to go to, but this week it’s back to a book store, The St. Mark’s Bookshop in the East Village.

It's about a ten minute walk over there. It's a little chilly out, but not freezing, maybe spring is finally on the way.


Downtown, where the neon lights are...

Pretty. Downtown.

And here we are, St. Mark's Books, let's check it out.

Lots of books in here and this is just the front of the store!

Jed was behind the counter and said it was fine to take photos in the store. A nice guy!

Here's some of the newer releases. I keep meaning to buy that Sarah Silverman book. Maybe that'll be tonight's purchase.

More books! Let's go check out some titles, shall we?

Quite a scary bear and we all know that Otto spelled backwards is Otto. I think that's called a padiddle when that happens, but don't quote me on that.

When I saw the title of the book, I thought the author had to be Jimmy Kimmel, but once again I'm wrong.

This one goes out to Tim "Clacky" Clack all the way to the land down under! Cheers, mate!

This is a poster of a postcard book you can buy up front. It's real photos of Theater signs done up in haiku three line style. Hilarious, maybe I'll buy that.

Speaking of postcards, there's a couple of racks of them in the back.


Two bookends at the end of the aisle.

And there's magazines in here too. They sold fishwrap in here back when I was publishing it.

Speaking of fishwrap, check it out, a food fanzine called, Put A Egg On It. Very cool, you don't see that many fanzines these days.

A shot of Jed in action behind the counter. They're doing a brisk business in here tonight and that's good to see.

Here's a display of some specialty books. Hey, speaking of fanzines, check out the book on the lower right hand side!

It's a huge book on the history of fanzines. It made the transition from St. Mark's Bookstore to...

My coffee table. Okay, I gotta go start reading and see if fishwrap is mentioned anywhere in here. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

In Their Own Words (Taken from their website)
St. Mark's Bookshop was established in 1977 on New York City's Lower East Side, a community of students, academics, artists, and other discerning readers. Our specialties include Cultural Theory, Graphic Design, Poetry & Small Press Publishing, Film Studies, and Foreign & Domestic Periodicals and Journals. We are open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to Midnight, Sundays 11 am to Midnight.

Located at 31 Third Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets, we are convenient to the 6 Train at Astor Place and the N/R Trains at Broadway and 8th Street. Our neighborhood is home to New York University, The Cooper Union, and such cultural institutions as P.S. 122 and St. Mark's Church in the Bowery, which offer theatre, dance performances and poetry readings. There are also many vintage clothing stores, designer boutiques, import shops, antique stores, and new & used record stores in the area, as well as dozens of cafes, restaurants and bars.

St. Mark's Bookshop
31 Third Ave. (Near 9th St.)

Further reading: facecrack page, Indie Bound, Ludlow Press and New York magazine.

Five Books On My Bookshelf
Your Vigor For Life Appalls Me—Robert Crumb Letters: 1958-1977
Now Dig This—The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern
Misfit by Jonathan Yardley
Balsamic Dreams by Joe Queenan
High On Rebellion by Yvone Sewall-Ruskin

This rock ‘n’ roll has got to stop,
Junior’s head is hard as rock.



March 27, 2011

Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night Cheeseburger! Tonight’s host is Whitmans in the East Village and featuring the ready for prime beef player, Marty Wombacher. Ladies and gentlemen...Whitmans!

And here we go down Fifth to 9th, hang a left and off we go to the East Village.

Oh jeez, this fucking poster is going to start haunting me. A second after I shot this photo a voice behind me shouted out, "There'll never be someone who can play Arthur like Dudley Moore." I spun around and agreed with...

This fellow, Metal Mike. We had a nice chat about movies, Paul Giamatti and New York. That's one of the things I like about doing this blog, all the different people you meet. Okay, onwards towards the cheeseburger, I'm starvin' like Marvin over here!

And here we are at Whitmans. I hope it's not crowded in here.

And look at this, not crowded at all. It's unseasonably cold out and I think a lot of people stayed home tonight. All the better for us!

I decided to start out with a can of Genesee and Claire behind the counter was happy to serve it up. Cheers!

There's tables next to the brick wall on one side.

But I opted to sit at the marble topped counter facing the white tiled wall on the other side of the room.

Here's a shot of my view from where I was seated.

The place is named after writer Walt Whitman, here's a drawing of him on the brick wall.

Guests are welcome to draw portraits of Walt which Whitmans will hang up. Here's one hanging in the back. Note the tin ceiling, nice!

Rose was working downstairs, but made a trip upstairs and I snapped a photo of her showing off the tip jar. If you eat here, throw something in here, the staff is nice and deserves it.

And before you know it, Mick shows up with tonight's meal. Let's check it out.

This looks like one tasty cheeseburger. And the orange coloring at the top isn't the cheese it's mustard. The cheese is...

In the middle of the burger. Oh my God, I think this is the best cheeseburger I've ever had!

Afterwards I decided to check out the lower level of Whitmans.

It's dark and the walls are a wooden brown down here. Kind of a romantic setting.

Speaking of romantic, here's a couple that's making out down here. Let's give them a little privacy and go back upstairs.

Here's Claire with Alex, I thanked them for the great service and cheeseburger and...

Glanced out the window and wished spring would get here. It was a chilly walk home. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

My Meal
I had the specialty of the place, The Juicy Lucy, along with an order of homemade potato chips. For a beverage I had three cans of Genesee beer. The Juicy Lucy is a cheeseburger with the cheese stuffed inside of the burger, supposedly this was invented at one of two bars in Minneapolis. At Whitman’s they stuff it with pimento cheese, and add carmelized onions, lettuce, tomato and a special sauce. The homemade potato chips were also very tasty. Everyone that works here is super-friendly in a genuine way and it's a cozy little cheeseburger emporium with table and counter seating upstairs and a dining room downstairs. if you followed the 365 blog and have been following this one, you know I've been to a lot of cheeseburger places in the last 14 months. Well, I'm declaring their Juicy Lucy as the best cheeseburger I've had so far. It is the cheeseburger to beat and the one which all future cheeseburgers will be judged by. You have to check it out. I’m instituting a new rating system here at MAD for Cheeseburgers. It goes from one Wimpy (poor) to four Wimpy’s (delicious!)

MAD Cheeseburger Rating For Whitmans:

406 E. 9th St. (Near 1st Ave.)

Further reading: Grub Street, Serious Eats, MenuPages and God Bless Burgers.


An on-going Twitter conversation between the King and I.

Find out what the King suggested, this Monday at the Papaya Wars!


A couple weeks ago Fat Al, one half of the fine team over at The Half Empty Glass, wrote a post about a company that names its bottled water, Fred. That is a really stupid name for a bottle of water. But it got me thinking about other names that would improve with the inclusion of the name, Fred. And so here a list of a band, a hairstyle, a movie and a shoe product that would all sound better if they incorporated the word “Fred” into their respective names.
Fred Zeppelin

My, my the clock in the sky is pounding away,
There’s so much to say.



March 22, 2011

Papaya Dog—11:27 pm
East Village
/Papaya Wars
Okay, it’s Monday night and that means the Papaya Wars are on! Tonight’s contender was suggested by MAD commenter Handel. I met Handel last year while doing my bar crawl bar. I tried to find the bar we met at to put up a link, but I can’t remember the name and couldn’t find it on the list. Handel, if you’re reading this help me out here. Speaking of Handel, I offered to buy him a dog at tonight’s Papaya since he suggested it and he lives near by, but I haven’t heard from him. Maybe next time Handel! Okay, off to Handel’s suggestion, Papaya Dog at 14th and 1st in the East Village.

I thought we'd live it up and take a taxi there. All's fair in love and war, right?


And here we are! Let the delusional nonsense war games begin! Banzai!

Hey King, if you're reading, check this shit out and take note, my friend!

I'd rather eat 99 cent fries than pizza any old day of the week.

They have a large menu and it is outside on the wall.

Let's go inside and see what's what in here.

It's nice and clean in here and everything looks good.

Dogs on foil, film at 11.

I thought about getting a corn dog in honor of last Saturday's corn dog day, but decided to wait until I go to Crif Dog.

So I opted for the usual, a dog with mustard. This gentleman liberally applied the mustard...

And this handsome fellow served it up with a smile.

Beautiful! They serve up a top-notch dog here and it was delicious.

Here's the papaya vats, behind the counter.

And no Papaya restaurant is complete without signs commemorating the healthy benefits of papaya.


As I head home my heart's a little heavy. The Papaya Dog was great, but they didn't have any large ketchup and mustard containers for my patented Papaya Wars, Ebony and Ivory shot. War...what is it good for? Absolutely nothing...except for a good excuse to get a late night hot dog. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.


Okay, let’s go to the tally board...oh wait, I don’t have a tally board, I really should get one for the Papaya Wars. Anyway, here’s the rankings as they stand this week. As always the rankings go from worst to the best.

6. Papaya King on the Upper East Side: Even though I’ve become Twitter friends with the King, I still have to keep him in last place till I get there in person. Maybe next week, King!
5. Hell’s Kitchen Papaya: Because it’s not there anymore.
4. Chelsea Papaya: It’s clean, people were nice in there, but there’s no beer.
3. Gray’s Papaya on the Upper West Side: It brings back good memories and the signage is nice, but there’s no beer here and I don’t know if I’ll ever get that horrible taste of the papaya drink out of my mouth or mind.
2. Papaya Dog at 14th and 1st: The staff is super-friendly, it’s clean and the hot dogs are great there. However, they robbed me of my patented Ebony and Ivory ketchup and mustard shot! War is hell.
1. Penn Station Papaya: They’ve got beer!

Papaya Dog
239 1st Ave. (@14th St.)

Further reading: New York Shitty, New York Citysearch, Smoking Hot Waitress and Dan Nguyen’s Flickr.

The Papaya Dialogues
An an-going Twitter conversation between the King and I.
You've got to hand it to the King. I tell him he's in last place and he's still polite and inviting. I look forward to revisiting him during the next installment of the Papaya Wars!

Music Videos I Watched Before Work Today
Guitar Town by Steve Earle
Here Comes My Baby by The Tremeloes
So It Goes by Nick Lowe
Up The Junction by Squeeze
Rain by The Beatles
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by William Shatner





Bonus Jaws Art!

Jaws sent in this illustration after he did some acid was inspired by the video link I posted. Check it out below and check out Jaws' store right here where you can buy all the Jaws product your heart desires: Jaws Online Store.


March 21, 2011

Strand Bookstore @9:17 pm
Union Square/East Village

I had such a good time last week at Bleecker Bob’s, I thought that every Sunday I would venture out and go visit a local and independent store. I know from growing up in Peoria, Illinois that sometimes you just can’t escape the chain stores, some towns don’t have as many choices as others. But in New York there’s really no excuse not to shop local, at least most of the time. So that’s what I’m going to do every Sunday evening for the MAD blog.

Tonight I’m going to a legendary bookstore in Manhattan. The Strand bookstore has stood tall in the face of competition from chains like Barnes and Noble and Borders and from online stores and devices like Amazon and the Kindle and the iPad, oh my! Strand opened in 1927 and still does a brisk business seven days a week. The store and its 18 miles of books has been featured in movies such as, Julie and Julia and Six Degrees of Separation. And they’re open every night until 10:30 pm. Perfect for a nighttime visit from MAD. Shall we?

We'll go right down 14th, hang a right on Broadway and...

Boom! Here we are at the Strand Bookstore.

They have rows of outside shelving units offering hundreds, if not thousands of books for a buck. In the summertime if I'm going to Coney Island or taking a long subway trip I always stop here and pick up a buck book for the ride there and back.

Jinny and O were checking out some of the books outside.

It's still chilly out here, so let's go inside and take a look around at this giant-sized bookstore.

I wish I had a fisheye lens to capture the whole first floor, but this will give a pretty good idea of the number of books in this place. The Burgess Meredith character from that Twilight Zone episode would've creamed his jeans in this joint!

Here's a couple of tables of books specifically about New York.

This isn't a book about the sandwich chain.

Strand buys used books and here's some stacks the store purchased that you can buy tomorrow.

You find some unusual neighbors in bookstores. Here's Marilyn Monroe next to Hunter S. Thompson.

Nice to see John Lennon next to David Bowie as they were friends in real life.

Here's a couple of Ian Fleming 007 novels. I like looking at book covers and spines just as much as album covers.

Whoops...I think we'll just skip this section, I've had enough of Oprah for three and a half lifetimes.

A tall stack of books to be re-shelved.

Hey look, it's the Twitter Whale! He can read? Who knew? I have to Tweet this when I get home! It's sure to get retweeted!

Here's Daniel and Van working the back counter of the store.

Let's go up to the second floor and see what's going on.

Hey buddy, what do you think this is, a Barnes and Noble cafe? Get up and buy the book, cheapskate and let's keep this place in business!

Wow, this looks like a cool book and it's one of my favorite movies. Let's look inside of it.

It's got the entire script and tons of photos from the movie. Very nice!

Here's a variety of coffee table books. I don't see Kramer's though.

An aerial view of the lights and books on the first floor.

Let's see what's on the third floor. I'll take a kooky guess and say, "More books."

Art. I wonder if they mean Garfunkel or Fleming? Who knew so many books were written on those two icons of entertainment.

Cool cover for the "Art and Text" book. Simplicity at its finest hour. Hey I went to art college for four months, I know what I'm talking about!

This Popeye cover of a serpent coming out of Wimpy's pants is a little suggestive, buy who am I to judge?

An overhead shot of the front of Strand's.

Strand bookbags...

Strand coffee mugs...

And for those of you that like to indulge in the risky business of drinking and reading: Strand shot glasses.

Speaking of that, I'm ready for a beer or seven, so it's time to say over and...well, you know. See you tomorrow, after dark.


Strand: A Brief History
(Reprinted from their website.)

The Beginning
In 1927, Ben Bass opened Strand Book Store on Fourth Avenue, home of New York's legendary Book Row. Named after the famous publishing street in London, the Strand was one of 48 bookstores on Book Row, which started in the 1890's and ran from Union Square to Astor Place. Today, the Strand is the sole survivor.
All in the Family

Ben's son Fred started working in his father's store at the age of 13. After a tour of duty in the Armed Forces, Fred returned to the family business and took over its management in 1956. Soon after, he moved the store to its current location on Broadway at 12th Street, where he rented 4,000 square feet of space - a very large space, at that time. The Strand now occupies 55,000 square feet of space.

8 Miles of Books
In the 1970s, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George F. Will wrote, "the eight miles worth saving in this city are at the corner of Broadway and 12th Street. They are the crammed shelves of the Strand Book Store."

18 Miles of Books...And Then Some
More than thirty years later, the Bass family now owns the building at Broadway and 12th Street. They also operate the Kiosks in Central Park. In the early 1990s, Strand went online and today book lovers from around the world can shop from our entire selection at strandbooks.com.

Strand Book Store remains a fiercely independent family business with Fred and his daughter, Nancy Bass Wyden, at the helm. With over 200 employees, more than 2.5 million used, new and rare books, a renovated main store and a growing author events program, the Strand looks forward to offering great books at great prices to book-lovers worldwide for another 80 years.
The Next Generation

On October 26, 2007, the Strand Book Store welcomed its newest family members, William Peter and Ava Rose Wyden. These are the first children for Strand owner Nancy Bass Wyden and her husband, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).


828 Broadway. (@12th St.)
(212) 473-1452

Further reading and video: Examiner, Wikipedia, Daily Beast and Strand on YouTube.

Some Things I Did Before Work Today
Wondered where the weekend went.
Listened to Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
Went to Netflix.
Added Fear Strikes Out to my queue.
Hope it shows up by Friday.





March 18, 2011

Apocalypse Now—Part II:
The Search For O’Kurtz! @11:39 am
East Village

Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I'd never want another.

I was going to the worst place in the world, and I didn't even know it yet.

It was no accident that I got to be the caretaker of Colonel O’Kurtz's memory—any more than going out on St. Patrick’s Day was an accident.

Part of me was afraid of what I would find and what I would do when I got there. I knew the risks, or imagined I knew. But the thing I felt the most, much stronger than fear, was the desire to confront him.

Oh man, the bullshit piles up so fast on St. Patrick’s Day you need wings to stay above it.

The crew were mostly just kids. Rock 'n' rollers with one foot in their graves.

Their idea of great R and R was cold corned beef and buckets of green beer. They had only two ways home: stumbling or passing out on your stoop, covered in their own green vomit while screaming gibberish at an ear-splitting level. Things had spun out of control and I was sent to clean it all up.

He was close. He was real close. I couldn't see him yet but I could feel him.

This was his camp. A hideous and frightening outpost, with the most horrific glowing font I had seen in all my life. I had to go in, but luckily when it was all over I could leave and never enter it's blinding doorways again. And thank fucking God I didn’t live above this noisy monstrosity.

Everything I saw in here told me that O’Kurtz had gone insane. The place was full of bodies, throwing down booze just to get completely out of what little minds they possessed. They were screaming at one another, yapping on cell phones and texting all at the same time. I was close to a mental and physical breakdown.

Luckily, it was at this moment I found O’Kurtz. He was almost passed out underneath a table and mindlessly pouring green beer all over his round, bald head. He was wearing a t-shirt with three strange words printed on it in pink lettering: “Hot Chicks Room.” I don’t know what that meant, but something told me it was time to improvise. I leaned in and tried to shout above the racket: “O’Kurtz, can you hear me?”

O’Kurtz squinted his eyes, trying to make out who I was. After a moment he smiled. Perhaps he realized who I was, but the growing stain in the lap of his pants told me he had just relieved himself of some of the evening’s green beer. He pulled me closer in and placed his mouth one inch from my ear and screamed, “WOO HOO!”

The horror...the horror.


Further reading: LawInfo, Crown Corned Beef, EV Grieve and Green Marlon Brando.


The Papaya Dialogues

I've been having a nice conversation on Twiitter with the King and yesterday he told me about the Beatles coming to Papaya King in 1964, so I asked him this question.

I came home from work and there was no reply from the King. So sad!


Some Things I Did Before Work Today
Checked my front right pocket to make sure my keys were in there.
Went to the corner deli.
Got a bottle of diet Mountain Dew, Teas Tea and a bag of Funyuns.
I didn’t really get the Funyuns.
I just like to type the word Funyuns.
Checked my front right pocket to make sure my keys were in there.



I'm sitting' in the Sheraton Gibson playin' my Gibson,
And boy do I wanna go home.