So my school year officially ended (in theory) last Friday, the 17th, and I timed my semiannual trip to New York to coincide with the three SCI shows that were to take place at the Cap. In 32 years of living in the New York metropolitan area, I had never been to the Cap. I had made up for lost times over NYE 2017-18 by seeing two shows there with Ashley and Keaton. I wasn’t missing the opportunity to relive the experience.
I decided to make a day of strolling down memory lane. I lived in White Plains from 2007-2009, while I was an Academic Support Center Assistant at Berkeley College, my first ever job in higher education. My first stop after passing the newly constructed Tappan Zee Bridge was at Coffee Labs Roasters, Inc. in Tarrytown. Their main attraction is a giant coffee grinder where a little kid or a stoner could watch the beans churn for hours. I was able to find a nice spot to get some work on my upcoming book done (highlight: I signed a contract to publish a book called How to be a Happy Bachelor last Friday and am devoting a substantial chunk of the summer to getting words on paper). Sixty minutes spent on that, plus fifteen minutes on the screenplay that I had hit a wall on but was determined to start on again; I had attended a screenwriting workshop at Pete’s Candy Store. It is not literally a candy store, but a hipster bar based in hipsterish Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, and the instructor said “ten minutes a day and you’ll have your screenplay”. I did fifteen, so ha!
My next stop: Barker Avenue in White Plains, the first apartment I had ever rented without a roommate. I was able to procure free parking right across the street, and I saw a new building on the corner of Barker & Church. I used to be able to see my building right across from my office at Berkeley. As I passed Berkeley, I saw a collage of pictures on my front window, many of students I had worked with. I only remembered one, a young lady named Mei, who tutored math in the center I staffed. I walked toward what used to be Atlanta Bakery Café, a spot I frequent to sip coffee and write. I was bummed to see a Buffalo Wild Wings had taken their spot (I love their wings and burgers, but still!). Feelings of elation then took over I saw the Barnes & Noble I also used to patronize was still there, so I read a chapter of Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street (I try to read one classic a year) and started writing this blog (no time like the present).
I went to this brick-oven pizzeria next door to B&N and carboloaded on a onion and green pepper pizza and a pair of garlic knots before heading over to Port Chester. Side Note: I think it’s hilarious that town was named after my son/cat Chester, which Kelly delightfully pointed out on Facebook. J
I was lucky enough to snag a free parking spot at the Metro-North station. After chilling in my car listening to some tunes, I headed in. There was a band finishing up whom I’ll always know as Special Guest. While I was missing my show crew from Virginia, going to a show solo is cool for me; I’ve found it frees me up to talk to folks I’d never meet. My “Weather Report” T-shirt, which lists a series of Grateful Dead-themed whether song (“Looks Like Rain,” “Cold Rain and Snow,” “Sunshine Daydream”) got a lot of compliments and inspired a lot of conversation. I ran into Fred (“’Preciate Ya!”), Shmaya, Julie (SCI, 12/29/17, same spot), and met some new folks, including a couple from Maryland named Kelly and Phil, Jay from somewhere in Connecticut, Bradley (an aspiring nutritionist from Rochester), and Jenny (a lady who flew in from Florida specifically for the shows).
I was on the floor (GA), and the crowd packed in pretty quickly. These New York fans can be aggressive about space, so I had to dance a couple of people out of them (“just dance ‘em out” was the advice I got in my spring show years). They did a whole jam before lead singer Kyle Hollingsworth announced plans for a new album and a song to be played off it, called “Gone Crooked.” I’m just going to post the setlist herebecause I don’t know most of the songs they played. One song I did know, however, “Let’s Go Outside,” a tune I can sing to, closed the first set.
The second set was pretty gnarly. I talked to a couple from Brooklyn, along with their visiting a friend from Los Angeles (first time on the East Coast), and I relayed the story of how a student of mine came into my office while I was playing some Grateful Dead. He asked who they were, I responded, and he asked, “Is that the band with the one-armed drummer?” They cracked up.
I was grooving pretty hard, but there must have been a stomach bug going around, because I felt it, and I had no Rolaids. Dancing is also a workout, and I was sweating profusely despite having consumed what felt like a gallon of bottled water. My energy had also depleted to zero. After thinking long and hard, I decided to “tap out” and leave. I don’t do that often, but the first set alone was worth the price of admission, and I still had two nights more to go, so I needed to recharge. I will say, though, that I’m glad I stated for their rendition of The Beatles’s “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window.”
The drive home was peaceful, as was me crashing on my pillow.0 likes