Monday, July 31, 2006

McSorley's Old Ale House

This past weekend, I was in NYC to perform a little long form improv. For a large part of my short 48 hours visit, I was alone. Not in a lonely, sad way; I'm fairly independent and not afraid of being alone. But I lacked the funds and complete knowledge to know what to do for a random hour, so there were times, I'll admit, I was a little bored. Not to mention more than a little hot. With temperatures in the high 90's, New York was a sweltering, sweaty and smelly mess. I lost my desire to move. But, excuses aside: boredom is a sin--especially while on vacation.

I'm very comfortable in Manhattan. I know my way around on the subway and, with the exception of Harlem, I'm pretty well-travelled on the island. So on Sunday afternoon, with 3 hours to spare before my last show, I wandered off to Astor Place in search of McSorelys Old Ale House. Established in 1854, its the oldest continuously operating bar in NYC. And it really hasn't changed a bit.

I first read about it in Joseph Mitchell's "Up in the Old Hotel," a compilation of essays and articles, many of which he wrote for the New Yorker in the 1930's and '40s. Even in the article, Mitchell alludes to a feeling of stepping back in time in McSorely's tavern. I promised myself to stop in, so on Sunday afternoon, with no one to sip an ale with, I went down to SoHo to see what it was all about.

I walked in, looked around. The sawdust floor was soft under my feet. The smell was uniquely 150 years of spilt ale and tobacco smoke. In the bright afternoon, the room was dark and filled with quietly talking patrons. The air was dusty, and though smoking is no longer legal in NYC bars, I could almost imagine it thick with pipe smoke. I took it in for a few short moments and then walked out.

On my way out, a drunk regular asked me where I was going so fast, "Grab a beer and stay a while." Caught off guard I replied, "I'm looking for a friend."

He grandly waved his hand to the large black dog tied to the bar, "Your friends are here."

"Hi, Dog" I said, not wanting to be rude. His dog, like its owner, had sad, friendly eyes. Then I smiled and said goodbye.

I truly regret that I didn't pull up a stool and start talking with this nice man. Instead, I put on this whole, "One shouldn't drink by onesself at a bar". I should have been more fearless. For someone who loves people (and reading stories about people) I'm so shy sometimes. I probably would have brought home with me some interesting stories--tales of strangers, like those I love to read in the Joseph Mitchell book. But intead, I came home with a lesson learned: put yourself out there. You only live once. You will be rewarded as long as you aren't wreckless about it.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

I am here, you just can't see me.

I am working on several projects that are taking up much of my time. But I am still here, lurking in the shadows. More to come soon.

Thank you for stopping in!

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Realization

Her mother never dreamed she would see her daughter drunk in a hot tub, engaged in foreplay to a house orgy, but ever "The Real World" season started her mother began to realize her daughter wasn’t who she appeared to be during family dinners at the kitchen table.