For Venus "it was a tight tour night, streets so bright..."
Venus- Television Marquee Moon
Babes On Broadway- Artful Dodger Babes On Broadway
Avenue A- The Dictators D.F.F.D.
Avenue B- Iggy Pop Avenue B
Avenue Q Theme- Original Broadway Cast Avenue Q
11th Street Kidzz- Hanoi Rocks Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks
13th Street- Kevin K The Best Of Kevin K - New York, New York
14th Street Beat- Sylvain Sylvain Sylvain Sylvain
^The Wall Street Shuffle- 10cc The Wall Street Shuffle
53rd and 3rd- The Ramones Ramones
Second Avenue- Horslips Aliens
Bleecker Street- Radio City Class of '77
125 West 3rd Street- Menswear Nuisance
Canal Street- Love As Laughter Laughter's Fifth
Madison Avenue- Greg Kihn Greg Kihn Band "Best Of Beserkley" '75-'84
Madison Avenue- T-Bone Burnett Truth Decay
Madison Avenue- Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson Secrets
Broadway- Old 97's Too Far To Care
Broadway- Ian Hunter Overnight Angels
Broadway- Foxboro Hot Tubs Stop Drop And Roll
>All's Quiet On West 23rd- The Jet Stream All's Quiet On West 23rd
St Marks Place- Kevin K Band Rule The Heart
Ludlow Street- The Briefs Off The Charts
42nd Street- Piper Piper
The Treat Of 42nd Street- Gary Glitter A Little Boogie Woogie In The Back Of My Mind
Minnesota Strip- The Dictators Viva Dictators!
Utopia Parkway- Fountains Of Wayne Utopia Parkway
Neptune Ave. (Ortho Hi Rise)- Sammy Tales Of Great Neck Glory
Broadway (So Many People)- Low The Great Destroyer
^Power Pop Peak: #10 UK Singles Chart
ALL SacroSets: New York City Streets
>Power Pop Prototype: 1967
"Hate their baseball team, love their city" is what I say when
|Click to Enlarge (It's worth it!)|
Anyway, crapping on New York was an accepted and encouraged practice when I was growing up- one in which I happily participated myself. Like many things in my life, music changed my attitude. Once I started paying attention to where bands were from I learned my favorite group Kiss came from New York. A few years later downtown NYC spawned The Ramones, The Dictators, Blondie, Tuff Darts, Richard Hell- the list goes on and on. Sure Boston had Aerosmith, The Real Kids, The Neighborhoods, Willie "Loco" Alexander and a ton of other great groups but there was no denying that the New York bands changed music forever.
My first trip to New York as a kid was awesome, though admittedly there are only two things I remember. The first is the Automat in Times Square. Before we left my dad told me about a restaurant where there are no waiters or waitresses and you're entire dinner comes out of a machine! This blew my mind- I pictured this giant food making robot like the one on Lost In Space.
|NOT a giant food-making robot|
The only other thing I remember about my first visit to NYC is the smoking Winston cigarettes billboard across the street from our hotel. I was fascinated by the sign, which blew a "smoke ring" (actually steam) every four seconds. I see now that the sign was over the Bond Clothing Store which eventually became Bond's International Casino (the new owners kept the name because changing the sign was too expensive) site of The Clash's infamous NYC residency in 1981. Oversold by greedy promoters, The Clash stretched the original eight shows to seventeen to accommodate all ticket-holders. That was how Joe, Mick, Paul and Topper rolled- the fans came first. The building is now home to an Italian restaurant called Bond 45 (I guess it was cheaper to just add "45" to the sign). I made Jaime eat with me there and the fact we were in the same place where The Clash rocked NYC in 1981 did nothing to temper her reaction to the food. If you're gnocchi sucks, rock history be damned!
Truth be told, after I moved to Boston I was intimidated by New York. My city seemed manageable compared to big scary NYC. That said, when my old girlfriend Sue moved to
Astoria, Queens and invited me to come down I jumped at the chance. I really liked Astoria, at that time a bustling Greek neighborhood with tons of things going on. I saw my first Three Card Monte game broken up by the police and to this day I think of Astoria when I see one of those paper coffee cups with the Greek style lettering. So many other firsts on that trip- first time at legendary record store Bleecker Bob's, first trip to world-famous rock club CBGB's and my first time getting "New Yorked."
NYC is an amazing place. Some visits everything goes perfectly and you trip the light fantastic, like getting all green lights as you head downtown on 9th Avenue at 60 miles per hour in the most populous city in America. On the other hand, NYC is also a very complicated and difficult place where sometimes you get screwed... hard, like watching an endless succession of green/yellow/red lights while not moving an inch as you head crosstown on 47th street fifteen minutes before your $125 a ticket show starts and you'd run for it but your wife can barely walk a block in her stylish yet ridiculously uncomfortable shoes.
On my first New York trip I learned a couple of key things:
- There is a big difference between "local" and "express" subway trains. In Boston, T trains make all stops. Not so in NYC.
- The headlining act at an NYC club can go on anytime between 12:30 and ??? (I don't think anyone knows the answer to this). Boston clubs close at 2am so I was completely unprepared my first time at CBGB's when New Zealander Chris Knox took the stage at 2:45am.
- The New York subway says "late night hours" but means "you have to wait hours for a train late at night." Even so, this is an improvement over The T, which stopped running at 12:30, forcing you to take a cab or walk home if you wanted to see the headlining band at the club.
- No matter how fun the protest/punk rock show in Thompkins Square Park is, when the police show up GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE! Those cops were pissed and having flaming trash cans thrown at them did nothing to improve their mood. (I'm not making a comparison here since Boston cops would have been gleefully cracking skulls too.)
- On a sunny Saturday at 11am on St. Mark's Place at 3rd Avenue someone destroyed the trunk lock on my car trying to break in right in front of two guys selling a bunch of crap on blankets who did nothing to stop the thief. When I asked them about it one said "What?!? He didn't get in- whathef**kdoyawant?!?"
- Compared to the rest of us in this space/time continuum, the hostess at the trendy Caribbean restaurant on the Lower East Side has a vastly different understanding of what "45 minutes" means.
- If you're ever towed in NYC it's best to forget the car, change your identity and embark upon your new life- never to look back. I would not wish the Kafkaesque nightmare that is the 12th Avenue NYPD tow pound on my worst enemy.
- If it's noon and you're visiting your wife's college (The American Academy of Dramatic Arts on Madison and West 30th Street) and your train is leaving from Penn Station (8th and W31st) at 3:30 and you have to stop first in Chelsea to pick up your luggage where you're staying (8th and W25th) DON'T
Dylan's Candy Bar, Floor 1 of 4 (I KNOW!!)
When I was a freshman at Emerson I told some New York friends I wanted to go to punk rock club A7 on the corner of Avenue A and East 7th street on the Lower East Side. They tried hard to dissuade me with horror stories about Alphabet City: a post-apocalyptic hellscape that you can't even get to by subway! This of course made me want to go even more, but A7 closed in 1984 before I could get there. Interestingly, in the summer of 1983 my band No Idea played with NYC hardcore bands Agnostic Front and Murphy's Law at the YMCA on Huntington Ave in Boston. Quite a few members of the NYC hardcore crew made the trip as well and our pop-punk songs did not go over well with those who were paying attention, which luckily was only a few. I'd made the mistake of bringing my girlfriend and I was so concerned for her safety we bolted right after the set. It's too bad, because Agnostic Front's brutal skinhead hardcore wasn't my thing but it would have been fun to see Murphy's Law.
Five year's ago Jaime and I spent a pleasant afternoon strolling through Alphabet City and it is a far cry from the A7 days, with trendy cafes, galleries and boutiques lining the streets. At 99 Avenue B near East 7th, one block from where A7 stood, we stopped at Manitoba's, Dictators lead singer "Handsome" Dick's bar. It was an enjoyable hour, swapping punk rock stories with the bartender who was about my age. Opened in 1999, the bar has recently fallen on hard times but was rescued by a successful Indiegogo campaign, so it's not going to be a Starbucks anytime soon. That said, Manitoba's still has to deal with noise complaints from new neighbors who paid top dollar to live in a cool neighborhood and whose first order of business is to drive out all the things that made the area cool in the first place.
The struggle between New York City's past and present is the
Benny got a new tattoo
Down at the St. Mark's Zoo
He walked down to the park
Drinkin' 40's till it's dark
Talkin' to a grey haired man
In a tie-dyed shirt and ragged pants
"That's where the hippies used to play"
Down on Avenue A
Susie got a new pair of shoes
Now she don't know what to do
So she's sitting in the Park
Smokin' pot till it's dark
Talking to a toothless man
With spiky hair
And leather pants
"I knew Stiv in the day"
And that's where the junkies used to play
Down on Avenue A
When every memory is gone
and everything you know is wrong
Takin' the edge off of a beautiful day
with a Frappacino and a creme brulee
Yeah, it's all over when you see a Range Rover
and to my bodega, I say hasta luega
It's not what you do, it's what you say
and it's not who you know, it's who you pay
Down on Avenue A
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