Sunday, October 9, 2016 - Liberty Park, Jared's Rock n Roll Tour of Manhattan (Freewheelin' West Village, CBGB's), Museum Mile, DepartureWe woke up at around nine o'clock and took showers. We are loving Jared and Dave's vintage bathroom, decorated in old school barber shop style. My head was a little sore this morning, and I realized that the majority of my liquid intake over the past 36 hours or so was alcoholic in nature. I think I was getting dehydrated. When I am traveling stateside, I tend not to worry as much about drinking a lot of water as I do when traveling internationally. I need to be better about that.
We got dressed and packed up everything so that we would be ready to go straight to the airport after our day in the city.
We went downstairs. Jared had driven Dave to work, and we met their friend and temporary roommate Tom. He had brewed a pot of coffee, so we each had a cup to wake us up. (Craig, not normally a caffeine-drinker, relished it after our late night last night). We enjoyed chatting with Tom, and Sylvia was of course ready to snuggle!
When Jared got home, we printed out our boarding passes for the flight home and then headed out for our final day of adventure. It was raining pretty heavily when we left the house and drove back to Liberty State Park to enjoy brunch at the Liberty Park Diner. This was one of Jared and Dave's old haunts when they lived in Jersey City. It was easy to see why: plentiful, tasty food at very good prices.
Craig and Jared got the "2x4 Special": 2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 bacon strips, and 2 sausages. It also came with 2 pieces of toast and hash browns (Jared substituted grits). I got a mozzarella and sausage omelet and corned beef hash. I hadn't had a "greasy spoon" style breakfast in long time, and it was quite enjoyable. The owner and servers were quite friendly. Craig said that the "2 x 4" was "2 much food", as once again he was not able to finish. The meals we were having were so hearty that we were basically eating a single meal per day, and were still stuffed the next morning! Craig says that this is now "his place" and he wants to gpo back the next time we visit Jared and Dave!
Since we were in Liberty State Park, we walked to the river to see the Statue of Liberty in the daylight. Between us and the river was a green field full of seagulls and geese. Jared took a page out of our godson Eddy's book and ran at the birds, arms flailing. They would fly away from us anyway, so you might as well have fun with it. The rain had lightened up, but it was breezy and brisk. We got some photos of the Statue of Liberty. In the daylight, we could also see Ellis Island.
As we drove through Jersey City, Jared pointed out the brick townhouse where he and Dave used to live. We passed Janet LaValley's building again. We drove through the Holland Tunnel to Manhattan, and then drove through TriBeCa. We drove back to the West Village with hopes of recreating the photo on the Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album cover.
We passed the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar whose patrons rioted against discriminatory raids by the police in the summer of 1969. The riots continued for several days and are viewed as the event that defined the beginning of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement. In June of this year, Stonewall National Monument was designated by the National Park Service.
It was no longer raining. Jared found a parking spot on West 4th Street, directly opposite Jones St. We walked over to Jones Street and recretaed the poses of Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo when photographed for the album cover by Don Hunstein back in February of 1963. The street had changed a bit, with tall trees along the sidewalks. But there was still a Volkswagen parked on the left-hand side...an updated sedan as opposed to the hippie bus on the album, but still...
Jared pointed out Record Runner, a record shop on Jones St. Being Sunday, it was closed. Though the show specializes in 80's music, there were two copies of the Freewheelin' album in the window. The shop was mere steps from the location of the photo. There were also Madonna albums in the window. Jared had once run into Courtney Love here, complaining to her friends that Madonna had totally stolen her look for those album covers. We got back in the car and continued down West 4th Street, past Bob Dylan's former apartment (#163).
Jared drove us past Washington Square Park, and I snapped a photo of the Washington Square Arch, which was built to commemmorate the centennial of George Washington's inauguration as the first President of the United States.
We passed an amazing mural called "The Story of My Life" by Logan Hicks on the Houston Bowery wall. The wall has been the site of high quality street art since Keith Haring painted it in 1982. According to Street Art News:
The mural which is titled, "The Story of My Life" is based on a photo set up by Hicks earlier in the year. He invited all friends and fans that could make it to the intersection of Greene and Spring Street to pose for a photo to help depict a visual narrative of his first 10 years in New York City. What came out of this photo session was an image that would eventually be painted with five layers of 210 stencils per layer.
The mural really "popped" and gave the illusion of an actual city intersection with a large crowd of people walking toward you. Actual humans on the sidewalk seemed to blend into the painting. Being Sunday, there wasn't much traffic, so no cars blocked our view of the mural. It was absolutely amazing!
Jared's rock history tour of Manhattan continued as we went to the Bowery, to the former site of punk mecca CBGB. The club closed in 2006. The site was saved from demolition when designer John Varvatos purchased it. Now it is the site of one of his high end menswear boutiques. Some of the club's graffiti, stickers, and playbills are still attached to the walls. There are all kinds of collectible vinyl albums for sale, vintage stereo equipment for listening, and art photographs taken at the club in its heydey. Craig admired an old Elton John Captain Fantastic pinball machine.
The employees were quite knowledgeable about the history of the site. Craig talked to one gentleman who said that they understand how important CBGB was too the music scene, and they welcome people who make pilgrimages there. They let us take whatever photos we wanted. I felt a little awkward since it is such a high end store. In fact, the leather jacket that I was wearing from Ecuador was not entirely different in color and style from some that were on sale here for ten times the price.
I wanted to buy something, as a souvenir of this hallowed rock ground. I saw a CBGB T-shirt for... $98?! Ah, they are now licensed by John Varvatos. There were some music books for sale, and one was a book of photographs entitled "Bob Dylan NYC 1961 - 1964". It contained black and white photos by Ted Russell of Dylan, on the cusp of fame, in the West Village in the early '60's. The photos are great, including shots of Dylan and Suze Rotolo in their apartment at 163 West 4th Street, writing and practicing music, and performing at Gerde's Folk City. This was perfect, having just been checking out Dylan's West Village. And it was also much more affordable than the T-shirt.
I asked one of the employees if they had any Patti Smith memorabilia. We are big Patti Smith fans, having seen her perform music and spoken word multiple times. We met her at a meet and greet at the former Tower Records on Newbury Street in Boston about 15 years ago. I have enjoyed reading her memoirs, Just Kids and M Train. CBGB's was where she ruled as punk rock high priestess. So much so that she played the final show when the club closed 10 years ago. He directed me to a framed photo of Patti in front of the club in 1976 taken by David Godlis.
New Wave music gained popularity via CBGB as well, with the B-52's, Talking Heads, and Blondie getting their starts there. We really enjoyed getting to see the place, if a couple of decades too late! Even though it is a clothing store now, they host in-store concerts, billed as John Varvatos Bowery Live.
By this point, the weather was finally starting to clear up. We decided that it was too late to make our way to Corona Park in Queens and still make it back to Newark for our flight home. That was ok; we were having a great time just driving around the city!
Jared took us to see a few more landmarks. We passed Grand Central Station. Jared wanted to take us over the Park Avenue Viaduct, for its unique view of Grand Central Terminal. But it was closed today for some reason.
Jared then drove us by the UN campus. We were disappointed to see that all of the flagpoles were bare, providing a very poor photo opportunity. Oh well, at least there had been international flags at Rockefeller Center yesterday!
We got a nice view of the Chrysler Building from the street below it. It had been blocked by the Met Life building when we were viewing the city from Top of the Rock yesterday. We passed through Tudor City, and saw a vintage taxi cab near Bloomingdale's flagship store. We drove down Museum Mile, and hopped out to get a photo of the Guggenheim. The sheer size of the Metropolitan Museum of Art building was staggering. I can only imagine how many treasures are housed inside.
Jared pointed out the "Ghostbusters building" (at 55 Central Park West), and the Natural History Museum (known in popular culture from the Night at the Museum movies, which we have not seen). We drove past Central Park and then took the George Washington Bridge out of NYC. As we crossed the George Washington Bridge, the skies turned blue and the sun emerged for the first time on the trip. We had a nice view of the Newark skyline.
We got to the airport at 4:45 p.m. Our flight was scheduled to take off at 7 p.m. We said goodbye to Jared and thanked him for an amazing trip. Once we got through security, we learned that there were delays all up and down the eastern seaboard due to weather. Our flight was delayed by nearly two hours since the plane was late arriving. We couldn't really complain; with all of the hurricane activity to teh south of us, a delay of only two hours wasn't so bad. We would still get home at a reasonable hour.
When we were finally cleared to take off, our female pilot put the figurative pedal to the metal and got us back to Boston in a flight time of only 35 minutes! In order not to slow things down, they didn't provide drink service. That was ok, the flight was so short!
It was an amazing weekend! Thank you so much, Jared and Dave, for your hospitality. It was so great to get to spend time with you both. Jared, you are a great tour guide - you know exactly the kind of stuff we like! Thanks also to John and Alen; we really enjoyed your Halloween party. And, of course, a huge thanks to Janet La Valley. If it weren't for Tribe, Craig and I would never have met. It was lovely to finally get to meet you and catch up on what you have been doing lately! We love your art and hope to hear new music from you in the future as well!
Liberty Park Diner
Brunch at Liberty Park Diner
Statue of Liberty from Liberty State Park
Statue of Liberty
Manhattan from Liberty Park
Homage to Dylan: Jones St., West Village
The Story of My Life mural by Logan Hicks on the Houston Bowery wall
Steph and her new book of Dylan photographs in the West Village, 315 Bowery, formerly CBGB