Entries in Upper East Side (6)


November 10, 2011

(This was originally going to be put up yesterday, but I heard the news of Fedora’s passing and wanted to put up a tribute to her. So here this is, a day later.)

It’s Tuesday which means it’s the night to go out in search of a swizzle stick.
Although I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be getting one tonight, it’s more of a mission of curiosity and dread.

Last week, Fat Al put up a disturbing post over at The Half Empty Glass, check it out here: Oh, this had better not be true. Fat Al reported that Eater had posted that the legendary Upper East Side dive bar, the Subway Inn had closed. After several frightened comments and yours fooly offering to buy everyone a McRib sandwich, Fat Al’s calmer partner in crime, anonymous271 left this comment: “Chill out. They’ve re-opened. They were simply closed for renovations. Not sure what a renovation in the Subway Inn would look like, applying new duct tape to the booths?”

The word, “Renovations,” kind of sends a chill down my spine. I hope they didn’t fancy it up too much. Let’s go check it out, I'm praying the Marilyn Monroe pictures made the cut.

Well, here we are, the outside looks unchanged. I love the neon here. Let's go inside and check it out.

Well, this is a pleasant surprise, it looks exactly the same, let's get a drink.

And here's Cesar, the same bartender who served me when I came here on the 365 bar crawl. When I walked in he pointed to me and shouted out, "It's the bar guy!" Ha, a true sign of a classic bartender is remembering his customers and Cesar is clearly a master of that. Here he is serving up the double gin and tonic.

There's no swizzle stick, but there is a straw and as Cesar pointed out, it's a bendable straw, so they get points for that. Cesar also told me that they were closed for maintenance issues, not renovations. He said a few leaky pipes had to be fixed. Let's go take a look around this classic joint.

Here's the well stocked supply lit up behind the bar.

Marilyn looks down at the baseball caps, hardhats and various tchotchkes adorning the top of the bar.

I love the greenish, nuclear look the booths have from the bare fluorescent light bulbs hanging to the side of them.

In the Subway Inn, the night once again surrenders to Michelob. Time to party like it's 1986!

Another classic Marilyn picture, beautiful!

The bar is crowded for a Tuesday night.

Drinks lined up at the bar. There's always at least two shot glasses on the bar at the Subway Inn.

And yet another shot of Marilyn...

And a glance out the front window and it's time to leave. Nice to see some things remain the same in New York City. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

Further reading: EV Grieve, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York and 365 Bars.

Maybe you think that love was made for fools,
So it makes you wise to break the rules.

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


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!


May 17, 2011

Okay, usually on Tuesday’s I go out and search for the elusive glass swizzle stick. Well, I just found out that tomorrow I have to work until about four in the morning—expect a grumpy-ass post tomorrow, so I thought I’d go tonight. I thought of a place I tried to go to on the bar crawl and it was too crowded to do it in and I had to take that lonely walk to another bar. The bar is Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel and it’s pretty goddamned fancy in there! Check out what New York magazine has to say about it: “Nowhere is the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie more palpable than in this bastion of post-war decadence: think white-jacket waiters, 24-karat gold leaf ceilings, and nickel-trimmed glass tables splayed around the ivories.”

But is it decadent enough to serve double gin and tonics with glass swizzle sticks? That is what we will find out soon. Glad I’m getting more overtime this week, I may need it after tonight’s bill!

Wow, it is one foggy-ass night out! Check it out, you can't even see the Empire State Building!

And it's down into the subway we go. We're taking the N train and then transferring to the 6th.

And, once again, through the magic of the internet, you're spared a subway ride which included countless zombies staring at texting devices, a long-ass walk to the 6 train and several, "The World Is Ending on May 21st" posters. Jesus Fucking Christ! Anyway, here we are at the Carlyle, let's go check out the bar.

Obligatory self-portrait shot at the door!

Holy shitballs, it's packed in here and no seats at the bar. Do you know what time it is?

It's time to take that lonesome walk and look for another bar.

Wow, it's really dead out here, I guess everyone was at Bemelmans Bar!

Shit, I've walked over ten blocks and no bars! And no people. I don't like the Upper East Side, it's like a ghost town up here.

I looked to see what 45 that is on display. It's "The Joker" by Steve Miller. Some People call him the Space Cowboy while others refer to him as the Gangster of Love. Two things are for sure, though, he's a midnight toker and he gets his loving on the run. Hey Steve, don't forget to zip up after that loving!

Here's a bar, but it's already got the chairs on the tables. At 11:30 pm! I hate the Upper East Side!

Number 19: Spike his milk bottle with mescaline.

Wow, speaking of drug babies, check out this tea-shade wearing stoner baby on display!

Finally, a bar, we can officially get this over with! I really need a drink at this point.

They wouldn't serve me because I have a t-shirt on. I hate the Upper East Side!

Never mind the manhole, it's just blowing off a little steam. Ha! I'm easily amused at this point of the evening.

Christ all fucking mighty! I've walked over 15 blocks and no bars!

And just when I was ready to give up all hope, what shows up on the block but Donohue's Steak House. Thank you God!

Friendly bartender Rich serves up the double gin and tonic.

He tells me that they've never used swizzle sticks and to tell you the truth, by now, I don't care, I just want a drink!

Here's a long shot of Rich and the classic New York bar.

Here's a look at the other end of the bar.

An obligatory bar room mirror shot...

My drink is done and one last look out the window and it's time to call it a night. And it's been a long one! Let's go outside and get a cab.


845 Lexington Ave (Between 64th St & 65th St)
(212) 744-0938

Further reading: EV Grieve, 365 Bars, Jon Hammer and Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York. (A wonderful quartet of blogs, may I add! And whoops, I just did!)

You might also like: Sunny and Chair.

Six Sticky Things
Sticky Wicket
Sticky Buns
Sticky Buns
Sticky Ass Glue
Sticky Footer
Sticky Fingers

You gotta move,
You got to move child,
You gotta move.


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

Bonus Press Release!
My friend Ida Langsam sent me this press release about the 11th Annual Joey Ramone Birthday Bash. Check it out, it’s this Thursday and I’m going. I’ll  have my camera, come up to me and I’ll take your picture!


New York, NY: On what would have been his 60th birthday, the life of punk icon JOEY RAMONE will once again be celebrated at the annual JOEY RAMONE BIRTHDAY BASH which takes place Thursday, May 19th at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza.  Mickey Leigh, event organizer and brother of Joey Ramone, has announced this year’s lineup and a sellout Bash is expected again. Net proceeds will go to benefit Lymphoma research.

This year's Bash is the 11th annual event commemorating the life and music of the Ramones vocalist and main songwriter.  Reflecting on the past decade, Leigh remarked: "You would think it the other way around, and normally it is, but the contributions my brother made seem to be of greater and greater value as the years go on.  Even just the fact that his life is still being celebrated ten years after his passing is worth celebrating.  Of course, at the same time some of us will also be celebrating the life of Jeffry Hyman, the guy I grew up with, and still look up to as someone who so dramatically overcame tremendous adversity in order to achieve what he did. That person was not ‘Joey Ramone,’ but was certainly someone most deserving of celebration as well."

The celebration will be headlined by Hugh Cornwell (ex Stranglers) featuring Clem Burke (Blondie) and Steven Fishman (James White and the Blacks).  Also performing at the Bash will be Black 47, Richard Lloyd, The Rattlers, Sunday Masquerade, and The Indecent.  As a special addition, this year’s spectacular party will feature a tribute to Joey performed by the “Joey Ramone Birthday Bashers” who will debut songs from Joey's much anticipated forthcoming, second posthumous solo album.  Several special guests will also be offering up renditions of Ramones songs written by the band’s much revered and sorely missed lead singer.  Confirmed to participate are Richie Ramone, Tommy Ramone, Richie Stotts (Plasmatics), Bebe Buell, Ed Stasium, Andy Shernoff (Dictators), Ross The Boss (Dictators), Tish & Snooky (Sic F*ck), Ali McMordie (Stiff Little Fingers), Al Maddy, Walt Stack (the Bullys), and Mickey Leigh.  Surprise guest are a normal occurrence at this event, video tributes from artists all over the world are expected, and in what has become a Birthday Bash tradition, Sean O’Sullivan's Punk Pipers will round out the night with their rendition of “I Wanna Be Sedated” on bagpipes.

The Masters of Ceremony for this year’s fete will be Steve Craig (101.9 RXP), Matt Pinfield (101.9 RXP and VH1), and John Holmstrom (Punk Magazine).  Additional surprises are anticipated at the evening’s events.

RAMONE, who passed away April 15th, 2001, after a seven-year battle with Lymphoma, had a history of encouraging up-and-coming bands in New York’s downtown music scene by showcasing them at his special “Joey Ramone Presents” events. Since RAMONE’s passing, his brother has carried on the tradition “by featuring bands that make great music and gathering together some of our family, friends, and Joey’s fans to celebrate him on what would otherwise be a sad, somber day,” Leigh explained.

This year’s Bash is being sponsored by Manic Panic, the Village Voice, New York Waste, 101.9 RXP and Bravado.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster. The Fillmore is located at 17 Irving Place, corner of 15th Street, NYC. Doors open at 7PM.

For ongoing updates, visit www.joeyramone.com. Net proceeds from the Bash go to support the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research.  For more information or to request press and photo credentials contact ISL Public Relations at islpr@aol.com; 917-338-6199.


May 10, 2011

It’s with sheer fucking joy mixed emotions that tonight I tell you that the Papaya Wars are over. There’s still a couple left I didn’t go to, but I just can’t stand this anymore feel it’s time to end the battles and let the obvious winner emerge victoriously. I’m happy to see peace, but as in all wars, sadness accompanies the final pounding of the war drum. There’s losers and casualties that have piled up, some places fared better than others and lots of hot dogs gave their lives in the name of the Papaya Wars. Let’s have a moment of silence for them. Jesus Christ, I think I’ve finally lost my fucking mind.

Okay, off to the winning battle field!

We'll be taking the subway to the final battle field.

The back escalator is always much more calm than the front one.

I couldn't believe it, as soon as I got to the tracks there was a train about ready to take off. I jumped in and we're ready to go, no waiting! A magical night indeed!

Okay, just a few blocks and we'll announce the victor in the Papaya Wars!

But first, a little neon in the night.

One block away!

And here we are, The Papaya King, the winner of the Papaya Wars!

The King is the original, after all, the first Papaya dog stand in Manhattan. All others are heirs to this throne of hot doggery. Let's go in and proclaim The King the winner. The employees will probably be thrilled!

Well...the soldiers here must be a little shell-shocked. They looked at me like I was nuts when I told them that they had won the Papaya Wars and reluctantly posed for this photo with the banner I had specially made for the occasion. This guy said he'd only pose for the photo if I didn't photograph his face. Must be some sort of intelligence-gathering operative. I complied to the orders.

And now time for the last Papaya meal. I brought the secret ingredient for the Screwdapaya drink.

And here's the last supper. War is over (if you want it) and soon so is the meal.

I have to confess tears are welling up as I take my last Ebony and Ivory ketchup and mustard shot.

Okay, it's out the door to see the public's reaction to the end of the Papaya Wars.

Wow, word travels fast! Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

The Final Papaya Wars Standings.
As always the rankings go from worst to the best.

9. Hell’s Kitchen Papaya: Because it’s not there anymore.
8. Papaya Dog in Times Square: They don’t have beer and I forgot to bring vodka. Plus my corn dog was borderline cold and they have a cracked window in there which can only mean bad luck to all who enter.
7. Papaya Dog at 6th Avenue and 4th: They’re liars!
6. Gray’s Papaya at 6th Ave. and 8th St: They don’t have beer but I did remember the vodka for my patented Papaya Wars Screwdapaya drink. New York Magazine delcares this the best of all Papaya’s but then tell’s us it’s endorsed by Mario Batali. Thinking about Super Mario in his shorts and orange clogs always cause me to lose my appetite, so that’s going to drag this place down in the ratings. And they get points knocked off for hopping on the dollar pizza wagon train that just keeps growing and growing. Plus I’ve got jury duty at 8:45 tomorrow. In the fucking morning tomorrow. KHHAAAAAANNN!
5. Chelsea Papaya: It’s clean, people were nice in there, but there’s no beer.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. Penn Station Papaya: They’ve got beer!
1. Papaya King on the Upper East Side: They’ve got vodka...okay, you’ve got to bring it yourself and sneak it in, but still, this is the original Papaya King in New York City. They've been in the same spot on this block since 1932. The Beatles ate here on their first trip to New York when they appeared on the The Ed Sullivan Show. So does this put the King in first place? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The Winner of the Papaya Wars!
Papaya King
179 E. 86th St. (Near Third Ave.)

Further reading: Wikipedia, Psychology Today, Urban Dictionary and Smoking Hot Waitress.

You might also like: My Three Sons, Three Blind Mice and We Three.

Six Kings
King Tut
King Kong
Kaiser King
King of the Hill
Good King Wenceslas
Little Kings

This-ism, That-ism, ism ism ism,
All we are saying, is give peace a chance.


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


Bonus Photo From Lex!

Lex took this photo at the Great Burrito at 79th and Amsterdam on the Upper West Side. It's Cardboard Box Man's Heavy Metal Cousin!



March 29, 2011

Okay, time for round 7 of the Papaya Wars! A couple of weeks ago I went to the Papaya King on the Upper East Side. They’re the original Papaya King and have been on the block for close to 80 years. If you’ve been following the Papaya Wars, you’ll remember I came here a couple weeks ago. I thought it was open 24 hours like the rest of the Papayas, but was saddened to find it closed. It turns out they close at midnight during the week and are open till two in the morning Friday and Saturday. The next day I put up a tweet on Twitter saying I was sad that this place was closed when I got there. A little later on in the day, this tweet hit the Twitterverse:

It was the King himself, apologizing! I thought that was nice, so I agreed to give the Papaya King a second chance. I’m getting out of work earlier tonight, so I should be able to make the 12:00 pm deadline. Onwards to the King!

Let's hail a cab and head up to the Upper East Side.


And here we are. Deja vu, let's see if they're open and maybe have a deja chew.

The door's are open, time for tonight's Papaya Wars to begin. Banzai!

"A Tropical Oasis in the Concrete Jungle." Sounds good to me, it's still freezing cold out here.

Okay, tonight we find out if this is just a boast or fact from The King.

The counter here is long and sparkling clean. Let's check out the dogs.

They look good here and the aroma is doggidly delightful in here.

And here Amzad serves up a Papaya drink and a dog. Amzad's the manager here and has worked for the King since 1996. He says it's a great place to work. I have to admit, this is the friendliest Papaya I've been in yet. let's try the dog and the drink. If you recall the last Papaya drink I tried didn't go down too smoothly.

We'll camp out over here, this place really is the cleanest Papaya I've ever seen.

Here's my dog and I ordered the orange drink from advice from my friend and co-worker, Joey D. They don't have beer here, but this time I came prepared...

Say hello to my little friend! I poured this into the Orange Papaya drink and a new drink was given birth to: "The Screwdrapaya." Both the dog and drink were delicious, good call, Joey D! Sorry there's not an ATM shot in here, I'll try tomorrow.

They have some great vintage photos of the place. Here's one from 1955, hot dog history!

Here's a shot of the counter back in 1950.

The King has been in this same spot since 1932. I found out from Twittering with the King that the Beatles ate here on their first trip to New York.

And if you're a Seinfeld fan you'll remember the King was a guest star on one of the episodes.

Here's the script on the counter.

Here's a shot of the Papaya King from the '70's. I wonder if Travis Bickle ever ate here?

My patented Ebony and Ivory Papaya shot, this time with brand names. No generic condiments at the Papaya King!

One last glance out the window and time to end this week's battle of the Papaya Wars.

And I'm happy to testify that yes, they are tastier than filet mignon! Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

This Week's Papaya Wars Standings. As always the rankings go from worst to the best.
6. Hell’s Kitchen Papaya: Because it’s not there anymore.
5. Chelsea Papaya: It’s clean, people were nice in there, but there’s no beer.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. Penn Station Papaya: They’ve got beer!
1. Papaya King on the Upper East Side: They’ve got vodka...okay, you’ve got to bring it yourself and sneak it in, but still, this is the original Papaya King in New York City. They've been in the same spot on this block since 1932. The Beatles ate here on their first trip to New York when they appeared on the The Ed Sullivan Show. So does this put the King in first place for now? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

There’s still a few more Papayas in town to check out in this hot dog battle, so stay tuned to the Papaya Wars here every Monday, exclusively at MAD and see if the King can hold on to his crown!
Papaya King
179 E. 86th St. (Near Third Ave.)

Further reading and watching: Grub Street, High Beam, Papaya King TV and The King on Twitter.

Six Hot Dog Blogs
The Hot Dog Blog
Hot Dog Blog
The West Virginia Hot Dog Blog
The Hot Dog I Ate
I Am An Amercian And I Eat Hot Dogs
Hot Dog Spot

I swear I'll never give in,
I refuse.



Bonus Jaws Art!

Jaws sent in his artwork depicting his dream cab. Send that thing out here, Jaws!


March 15, 2011

Papaya King @1:07 am
Upper East Side

Okay, it’s Monday evening and if you’ve been following this blog, you know what that means—The Papaya Wars continue! Tonight I’m traveling to the Upper East Side. There’s a Papaya King up there and I read on Grub Street that it got a makeover last September. Grub Street reported that there’s vintage photos in here and one of Anthony Bourdain in the hotdog house. So it’s off to Papaya number five, to see how they fare. Oh, and I hope you realize that the Papaya Wars are brought to you exclusively via MAD, you won’t find this reporting anywhere else. And yeah, I know it’s because I’m making the whole thing up, but still, it sounds good. Right?

I had to work late tonight, it's almost one in the morning and a little deserted outside on this Monday night.

We'll catch a cab out here on 6th, I'm tired and want to get this shit over with can't wait to start this fun evening of mayhem and hot dogs.

And here we are headed to the Upper East Side, we'll be there in minutes.

Wow, this looks like a good Papaya!

I love their neon, let's go get a dog, I'm in the mood for this all of a sudden!

The hot dog pictures look inviting, but the door is locked, what's going on here?

This fellow told me through the glass that they were closed. Closed? Papayas never close. This is sad news, indeed!

And it's a shame, this looks like a first-class Papaya King...except it's closed.

You may be the original, but you go to bed too early, Papaya King. What about all of us late-shift workers who long for a dog at one in the morning?

I wish I could back this boast up...but you're closed!

One last ebony and ivory, ketchup and mustard photo. Shot through the window. So close...but yet so far away. Sob!

Lets see if there's anything else open, this whole neighborhood is kind of dead.

Sheesh! This is the only all-night hot doggery on the block open all night. This is my cue...

To get back in a cab...

To come home and say hello to my little friends. Goodnight everybody and see you after dark.

Okay, I got home and did some research. I found out from a review in New York magazine that they close at midnight on weekdays and are only open till two in the morning on weekends! What kind of a sorry-ass Papaya King is this? I thought they all were open 24 hours. Well, it certainly doesn’t bode well for their rating in the Papaya Wars, here’s the new numbers. As always the rankings go from worst to the best.

5. Papaya King on the Upper East Side, I have no clue what this place is like because they close at midnight. They may be the original and the oldest in Manhattan, but still, they should be up all night to wage war against the 7-11 down the street. Come on, those clowns are selling hot dogs all night, where’s your fighting spirit, Papaya King? You disappoint me, sadden me and now I’m crying Papaya tears. They’re tasty!
4. Hell’s Kitchen Papaya, because it’s not there anymore.
3. Chelsea Papaya, it’s clean, people were nice in there, but there’s no beer.
2. 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.
1. Penn Station Papaya...they’ve got beer!

Last night I Twittered about this cruel and bitter Papaya moment, and the Papaya King took note. Here’s the Tweet’s.

I posted a twitpic of the closed hotdog hut.

They replied with this Tweet.

And so, the dance begins! I'll let you know on further updates.

If they stay true to their word and stay open later, I’ll pay them a return visit and maybe their rating will improve. I’m nothing but fair...in the Papaya Wars!

Stay tuned to see who wins in the ratings of the Papaya Wars only here on MAD!

Papaya King
179 E. 86th St. (Near Third Ave.)

Further reading: New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Eater and A Fine Blog.

Some Things I Did Before Work Today
Listened to Joan Jett’s Greatest Hits.
Read some news items about Japan.
Got freaked out.
Drank a bottle of diet Mountain Dew.
Obsessively checked my blog stats.
Combed my hair in a thousand ways.
But I came out lookin’ just the same.


We won't follow or imitate,
We can break away.