The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘2nd Avenue Deli’

Provincialism: New York story

Posted by keithosaunders on May 13, 2011

…so I packed up and moved to New York.  It turned out it was just like I pictured it — skyscrapers and everything!  I found an apartment on the Upper West Side, started exploring the city, began meeting musicians, and eventually began to gig.

It was great.  I liked the city and contrary to what I had been told, I found that people were friendly and welcoming.  There was just one problem:  They hated Californians.  Let me rephrase that, as hate is too strong a word.  They looked down on Californians.  They joked about, ridiculed, and were generally unpleasent towards people of the west coast persuasion.  Californians were too laid back, flaky, vain, and above all, didn’t swing. (the unkindest cut of all for a jazz musician) 

My Great Aunt Ellie was like a grandmother to me.  She and my Uncle Herb took me under their wing, taught me how to play bridge, showed me Coney Island, Flatbush, and Sheepshead Bay.  For someone such as myself, who had grown up without grandparents, it was invaluable to have this window into what my family history looked like. 

 Every Sunday I would watch the Mets game (or whatever sport happened to be in season) at Ellie and Herb’s apartment in downtown Brooklyn, feasting on Herb’s renowned tuna salad for lunch, and take out from Su Su’s Yum Yum, their local chinese restaurant, for dinner. 

One day we watching the Mets play the Dodgers from Los Angeles.  For those of you not familiar with Dodger Stadium, just beyond the right field bleachers there are a group of palm trees which are visible from certain camera angles.  Midway through the game, apropos of nothing, Ellie remarked, “Those palm trees look dusty.” 

I knew Ellie hated California, but this was too much.  The palm trees looked dusty?!  What hope did I have of ever fitting in with my adopted city if even my own Aunt, who I loved dearly, could not accept California?  And who insluts palm trees?!

The thing is, there is a grain of truth in New Yorker’s feelings about the west coast.  There is a certain vanity out west, as well as a complacency.  What I could never understand, however, was how people could feel free to bash  California in front of someone who was from there.  It was as if my being in New York meant that I had rejected the west coast, and thus would be receptive and understanding of the insults. 

Even within the city there exists a kind of micro-provincialism.  Manhattanites think that the boundaries of New York end at the periphery of their 13 mile long, and 2.3 mile wide island.  Anyone with a 718 area code knows what it’s like to be condescended to by the proud owner of a 212 code.     

It took me a long time to get used to it, but eventually I did.  It was remarkable how universally scorned California was.  I saw this as a shortcoming of New Yorkers.  New York is the greatest city in the world.  Why bother insulting other places when it’s a moot point?  

But I have to admit — I was guilty of it myself.  The longer I lived in New York, the more it felt like home to me.  Truth be told, I would occasionally insult California too.  Once in a while.  

Next post I’ll come full circle with San Francisco provincialism.  Then we’ll go over weights and measures.

Posted in New York City | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Super Bowl memories: Part II

Posted by keithosaunders on February 4, 2011

The 1980s and ’90s were an era of Super Bowl routs.  You can count the compelling games on one hand.  Whether it was the Buffalo Bill’s four-peat of futility, the reaming of the Denver Broncos, or the one-off pratfalls of the Chargers and Falcons, it was an era of lopsided spectacles.  I watched them all.

Super Bowl XXII — San Diego

Redskins vs Broncos

I watched the game at my Aunt Ellie’s and Uncle Herb’s in downtown Brooklyn, USA.  My friend Jeff and I volunteered to bring over food from the 2nd Ave Deli in the East Village.  We didn’t count on the fact that every Jew in New York had that same idea, and we ended up missing practically the entire 1st quarter.  By the time we arrived Denver was ahead 10-0 and had concluded the scoring portion of their afternoon.  Before we had finished our corned beef sandwiches, Doug Williams had thrown four 2nd quarter touchdown passes and the game was, at least for this blog’s purposes, over.

Super Bowl XXIII – Miami

49ers vs Bengals

A rematch of Super Bowl XVI.  This time I was couch-side for the action.  Once again Jeff and I found ourselves at Ellie and Herb’s, this time joined by cousin Alan.  This was one of the few good games of this era, capped off by a late 49ers drive to give them the victory.  After the game the normally mild-mannered Herb lost his temper.  All day long he had been doing the slow-burn because Alan, upon arriving, had taken his shoes off, and Herb hated feet.  When Herb’s repeated attempts to get Alan’s attention failed, he finally lost it, exploding in a rage of invectives — an eventful end to an action-packed day.

Super Bowl XXIV — New Orleans

49ers vs Broncos

The first of many Super Bowls I would watch at Jeff’s house in the Bronx.  I had a gig in Connecticut so Jeff taped the game.  Somehow I made it back to Jeff’s without having discovered the score.  What followed was a good old-fashioned blood-letting.  52-17 Niners.

Super Bowl XXV — Tampa

Giants (!) vs Bills 

Jeff scored tickets to this game, but I had a gig at a restaurant called Camelback and Central on the East side, with the singer, Richard Lanham, and was unable to go.  Thank god there was a TV there and I was able to see most of the action, most notably the Giant’s clock-eating 3rd quarter drive, the Bill’s 4th quarter scoring drive, and the subsequent Scotty Norwood missed field goal.  20-19 Jints!  

Super Bowl XXVI — Minneapolis

Redskins vs Bills

Don’t be fooled by the final score, which was 37-24 Redskins.  This game was 24-0 at the half and going nowhere fast.  I’ll give you $100.00 if you can name the Redskins quarterback.  Time’s up!   Mark Rypien.  The game was so forgettable I don’t even remember where I was.

Superbowl XXVII — Pasadena

Cowboys vs Bills

The Cowboys had become good again but more importantly for them, they played the Bills.  I watched the game in my Long Island City apartment (I was living in Queens by then) with my wife, Debra.  Final score:  52-17.  Ouch.

Super Bowl XVVIII — Atlanta

Cowboys vs Bills   

I went to Fort Lauderdale, Florida with my wife to visit my in-laws.  My parents flew in from Las Vegas to join us.  My brother, who was living in Orlando at that time, drove down to Ft Lauderdale to complete the family affair.  I watched the game mostly with my Dad and brother.  I say ‘mostly’ because midway through the 1st quarter my father in law sat down, watched one series of plays, and declared that Dallas would win the game.  He then left the room and we didn’t see him until dinner later that evening.  It turned out he was right.  30-13 Boys.

 Super Bowl XXIX — Miami

49ers vs Chargers

How ironic that with all of the supposedly great Chargers teams of recent history, their one actual Super Bowl team was a forgettable squad quaterbacked by, of all people, Stan Humphries.  Stan who?!    I had a gig at Trumpets in Montclair New Jersey and missed most of the game.  Good thing, too.  The 49ers romped.  What’s that I hear?  The 49ers just scored again!

Super Bowl XXX — Tempe

Cowboys vs Steelers

Not a bad game compared to the array of clunkers that preceded it.  Final score 27-17 Dallas.  I watched the game at my LIC pad with my wife, one year old son, Jake, and cousin Alan who had free reign to take his shoes off. 

Super Bowl XXXI — New Orleans

Packers vs Patriots

I watched the game with Alan’s poker cronies at the apartment of Dan Afariat (The Afarianator) on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  At halftime a poker game broke out.  I drank too much beer, and all I recall is losing a large amount of money.  This was my pre anger management days and I ended up screaming at poor Alan.

Super Bowl XXXII — San Diego

Broncos vs Packers

Viva Las Vegas!  I was visiting my parents in Vegas and watched the game with my Dad.  The Broncos finally won one.

Super Bowl XXXIII — Miami

Broncos vs Falcons

DRG.  That stands for Don’t Remember Game.  This was Elway’s swan song.  He was da winnah.

To be continued…

 

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