Saturday, December 1, 2012

Part 1

It was time for Marti and me to pay another visit to see friends and family in the U.S. Our itinerary included stops in East Longmeadow MA for my 50th(!) high school reunion, Nashville TN to see Marti’s family, as well as cameo appearances on the Connecticut shore and Woodstock NY. Our base of operations, as usual, was New York NY – Maximum City.

Our home away from home: this fabulous brownstone on West 46th Street, two blocks from Times Square. It’s been in our pal Jody’s family since 1908.

View from the dining room – which became my wifi communications center – with the parlor, and our VIP suite just beyond the open door with the stained glass transom. It has everything I need: bedroom, bath, ashtray. Upon our arrival from Paris this afternoon Marti and I settled in, then Jody and Emmett cooked dinner. Tomorrow we’d hit the streets running.


No jetlag for this gal. Breakfast at the Galaxy Diner, our perennial favorite at West 46th and Ninth Avenue. Marti planted herself beneath the photo of Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, under construction in 1885 at the Monduit and Béchet foundry, 25 Rue Chazelles, Paris. Marti’s hero Gustave Eiffel helped design Liberty’s infrastructure of four huge steel supports.

Sixth Avenue. Giant pretzel break.

Shopping at Bloomingdale's. Specifically, the John Varvatos★USA collection. I love his menswear designs. Bought a sweater.

Our Texas homies Terri and Randy were in town to hang with us this weekend. We went to dinner with them at the Westway Diner, where Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld first brainstormed the idea for what became a phenomenally popular "TV show about nothing."

Now it was time to collect a few members of the NYC Krew for an evening of drinks and music. Terri, Randy, Marti and I cabbed down to Otto’s Shrunken Head, a dive tiki bar in the East Village.

Marti with Randy and Terri.

Our singer-songwriter bud Courtney Lee Adams Jr.

Ted. A longtime amigo from Western Mass. Not pictured – must I take all the digipics? – Debbie (Ted’s wife), NYC actor friends Nona and Bob, and Facebook friend Michael.

It was the monthly Surf Rock Night at Otto’s. The Acoustic Surf Tones. They were fun.

Tsunami Of Surf. The band thanked Staples for all the help with their crappy little sign. Courtney joked that they looked like they just came in from the meth lab. I replied, "that’s no band van parked out front."


Brunch. On the menu: Soul food heart attack cuisine. At Amy Ruth’s in Harlem.

L to R: Me, Marti, Sue, Randy, Terri, Betty, Sue, Mark.

Randy and Terri were delighted to meet Sue, Marc Black’s bride. They had heard Marc perform in Dallas.

Terri and her NYC friend Betty.

With Sue and Mark. (Not to be confused with Sue and Marc.)

Marti and one of the Sues.

My chicken and waffles. To die for. (Perhaps, literally.) It was a great hang and everybody dug the restaurant. We’re eternally grateful to former Harlemites Teri and Jerry Joseph for the initial recommendation of Amy Ruth’s.

Jody and Emmett were out of town all weekend on an independent movie shoot. Before they left they recommended a nearby neo-Mexican restaurant called Añejo. After a long lazy afternoon at West 46th, Terri, Randy, Marti and I went there for dinner. A bit pricey and high concept for my taste, but excellent cuisine nonetheless. Terri and Randy were flying home on Monday. As always, we had a great time with them.


It had become clear that, as much as anything, the Eurotrash Tour was to be one long diet-be-damned American Food Orgy. Lunch at the Galaxy. A Reuben for Mr. Phil.

Well fortified, Marti and I took to the streets. Quick stop in Bryant Park to listen to Jon Weber. Played Duke Ellington, Cole Porter. I was a happy chappy. The custom-made piano and the Piano In The Park series are courtesy of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians and Sam Ash Music Stores.

That evening Marti and I invited Jody and Emmett to dinner at Boukiés, a tasty new Greek restaurant on the Lower East Side. Greek cookbook author Diane Kochilas – I’m a fan – is the consulting chef here. The food is top shelf!

At Courtney’s suggestion the four of us went nearby to The Living Room to hear Tony Scherr, a jazz and folk rock bassist, guitarist, singer-songwriter and record producer, with his trio that included Rob Jost on bass and the inimitable Anton Fier on drums. Loved it.

Joining us at The Living Room were Lianne Smith, Courtney, and our friend John Lester – all remarkable singer-songwriters.

Marti and Lianne strike the classic model’s pose. (The trick is to never face the camera full on.)

After Tony’s gig Courtney, Marti and I taxied uptown to catch our pal Alan Merrill’s midnight guest set with the Jon Paris Trio at Lucille's Bar at B.B. King's. That’s Amy Madden on bass, Mark Greenberg on drums.

Gots to dance when Alan’s singing "Love Me Do," "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love," "It's All Over Now," "Dock Of The Bay," "Walk Away Renee" and of course the anthem he penned in 1975: "I Love Rock 'N Roll."

Emmett rejoined us at B.B.’s, then rocked out with a woman who was definitely not his wife.

With Alan and Amy. In front of B.B.'s at 2 a.m. Yet another Go Hard rock 'n roll night.


A chill-out day. We did some shopping, laundry, Interwebbing. That evening Jody and Emmett (shown with Marti setting the table) served a delicious dinner.


Out and about again. Marti was in an Empire State of Mind.

Marti had been on a red handbag quest. She found one in a Chinese import shop in the Garment District. The ten dollar jobs from the street vendors weren't making it for my little Parisienne.

Debbie, Marti and their unclothed headless friends. At The Limited Design Studio presentation room. Deb is The Limited’s vice president in charge of Product Development and had promised us a tour of her design studio. (Here’s an insider’s tip: The Limited recently hired an ace handbag designer away from DKNY. We saw her creations that afternoon. So that $80 purse at The Limited next spring will be a helluva value.)

Marti and Ted at dinner. We went to Gemma, in the Bowery Hotel, near Deb’s studio.

Wax dodgers. Debbie and I at Gemma. Another delectable evening with dear friends.

Back at West 46th Street. Like me, Jody and Emmett’s friend Chuck -- a TV exec with NBCUniversal in Los Angeles -- was in town to celebrate his 50th high school reunion that coming weekend. Marti and I would be heading north for mine in the morning. But first we’d be stopping off for an evening in Woodstock NY, en route to Massachusetts.
Go to Part 2

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