Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Citycrawl!

This weekend Alison and I went to NJ to the Monster Mania convention, almost got lost in Camden (scariest place I think I've ever been), drove into NYC the next night to catch the Pogues at the Roseland (damn that was a good show...until the pint glass landed on the soundboard - thankfully during the last 10 seconds of the second encore) with our pal Jeremy, then back to Jersey that night to finish up the convention on Sunday. It was a good time. Got to hang out with some old friends and make a few new ones as well.

We were exhausted when we got on Sunday but a good nights sleep did me a world of good and so Monday I took the train into Manhattan. I had to drop something off for her mom at the hospital but figured since I was going in anyway, I should bring my camera and do some wandering. I figured I'd head over from 57th and 10th into Times Square at 42nd and Broadway to hit the Virgin Megastore. Bought myself a documentary on transients who live in the NYC subway tunnels and a Street Dogs CD and passed what's left of the old Troma building on the way. Lloyd has moved his outfit to Queens to save some money. The DVD industry isn't doing so well right now and it's hard for the indies to survive. While Troma has made far more crap than they have decent films, it'd still be a shame if they went away after three decades or so and that building is so familiar to anyone whose seen any of Troma's DVDs that it's hard to imagine them existing anywhere else.

Once I got out of the store, I spied a bunch of people wandering around with festive St. Patrick's day stuff and remembered the parade was on. I wandered over to 5th Ave. where I caught the middle of it. It was a lot of fun and it was neat to see so many people into the spirit of the thing. Granted, there were probably more African Americans and Puerto Ricans than actual Irish there, but that didn't seem to matter to anyone, and really, why should it? The day itself has been mainstreamed so much that it really doens't matter anymore. The breweries have convinced us all that on St. Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish, even if the majority of people gathered on the sidewalks probably had no idea what the holiday means. It was interesting to see the different marching bands and organizations stomp their way up the pavement and wave their various flags. Eveyone seemed to be having a great time and there was a neat energy to the whole thing.

From there I wandered up from 42nd St. to 86th St., which is a pretty serious hike, and passed the block where the crane fell over the weekend. Those who don't know what I'm talking about should click this link - it's pretty sad stuff and something that could have and should have been prevented. At any rate, the block was protected by cops and emergency workers who stopped the curious like myself from getting too close but a 200mm zoom lens lets me get a little closer than most obnoxious camera nerds and I shot a few pictures not only of the wreckage but also of the NYPD and FDNY workers having to deal with the mess. It was odd going from the drunken festivities of the parade to the somber wreckage and the inhebriated parade goers of 5th Ave. seemed very silly in contrast to the fireman standing by with a stretcher in case another body should be pulled out from under the rubble.

Coming full circle, as I walked up 2nd Ave. to 86th St. I passed a bunch of Irish pubs where the cops and fireman who, I assume, had been marching in the parade were in enjoying the holiday and having a beer or seven. Part of me wanted to wander in and check out the scene, but I knew I'd be out of my element and I was starting to feel my feet complaining. By this point I'd been walking for five hour straight and covered a lot of ground.

It was an interesting day and I got to see a good chunk of Manhattan I'd never seen before. I passed the 59th St. Bridge and felt a little groovy as I did so, and I took a few hundred pictures just cause I felt like it and didn't have much of anything better to do. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and doing stuff like this makes me happy to be in New York. It's big enough that there's always going to be something to do or see even if it's just wandering around by myself looking at weird random stuff.

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