To not real endings and not real new beginnings

This is going to be a bittersweet week, with endings and new beginnings. Although the more I think about it, it isn’t a real ending or really moving on from something, or maybe it is, I just can’t really put my finger on the right word yet, and I don’t know if I actually realize that I am ending something and starting something else. After 2 years of working at 200 Orchard (and believe me, it feels like it has been a lot longer than that), I will be doing my last shifts there tonight and tomorrow night. After being offered a full-time mainly managing position at Taqueria I had to decide whether I wanted to take it and leave 200 or just remain on the same schedule as I have been for a while now, working in both places, side by side. Both jobs have been the best I have ever had, not just because of the actual work, but also because of the people I work with, the bosses I have, people who have become friends, and the fact that  I have always been given my own independence and trusted with the responsibility of making sure I keep a work place open on the nights that I am working there.

Over the past few years I have met many people, some who have become very close friends (you know who you are), people I would never have met if I hadn’t been working at 200 Orchard. There have been nights when I wanted to run home and hide under the covers, but continued to serve drinks to annoying people with a smile on my face. There has been many a night when I had the best times ever, be it at work, or just hanging out in the bar with friends. There have been times that I’ll never forget, and other times that I would rather forget (flooding the basement being one of them). There are places that you work that are just work places, and then there are places that you work that become part of your life, part of your family and that you will never forget.

In any case, it’s not like I will be going far away, just next door, and it’s not like I won’t be at the bar again, just as a customer and not an employee anymore. I just want to thank Ramie, James and Damo for giving me the opportunity to work in such a wonderful place, and for also putting up with me over the past couple of years (and Luis too of course). There are many parts of the job that I will miss a lot… Come on down tonight or tomorrow (and both) – I am sure there is going to be a lot of fun to be had. And a lot of good music will be played, as always.

Photography: Orchard Street

For the past two years I have spent most of my days (nights) on Orchard St, working, hanging out, chatting, eating, making friends, drinking, dancing, writing, working, pouring drinks, serving food, working and smiling. There is something very special about this one block on Orchard St that has been the main part of my life for a while now. I've been wanting to do some kind of photography project to document every day life on the block for the past few months, so over the past week I have had my camera on me at all times and have been taking random pictures of the street, the shops, the restaurants and bars, but also of friends and locals and business employees. It's not finished yet, there are a few people that either weren't around when I had my camera out that need to be part of this collection, so I am sure there will be updates over the next few weeks and months.

RosariosJamesTaqueriaCarlHanging coatsMoustache
Million dollar deliLuggageTony's tattoosMatt and TraciLate nightLate night 200
BereketStoop drinkingHiding behind a treeAriSilLe French Diner
LarryAri and JessyTonyJoe and JamieBiker boyAlejandro
Orchard St, a set on Flickr.

For the time being just click on the link above to see the entire set.

Ramblings: People's actions and reactions

I didn't like January at all, and I was beginning to like February, until the last couple of weeks. Then I lost two people I knew, one being my favourite person in the world, my Nana. I will write about her separately, next week, after the funeral, after I have made it back to England and read the piece I wrote for her out loud in front of everyone she knew and loved. I can't write about it on here just yet, she deserves a post all to herself telling everyone how absolutely fabulous she was, and will always remain in everyone's memories.

This week has been extra strange, mainly on the topic of human beings and their interactions with people. Sometimes I really wonder what people are thinking when they live their lives in the way that they feel is normal. Do they think about how their actions and words are going to affect people? I still don't believe that we are born inherently bad or good, but that along the way, as we forge our characters we learn how to become ourselves. Along the way we make choices, and are affected by events that happen in our lives. I know that this is how I became me, so I am assuming it's pretty much the same for everyone. Now this isn't going to become a philosophical essay à la Descartes, just a general observation on the actions and reactions of people that I have noticed these past few weeks. Sometimes I just like to take note of little stories and let them sit there in your (and my) minds. They may not mean anything, but they have made me think...

Over the past few weeks several girls have come into the bar to vent to me about a certain person that they have been hanging out with. Yes, I know I'm a bartender so I have to listen, but I also actually like to listen, and give advice if I can. Especially to girls who are going through some kind of heartbreak or something of the same nature. I just want to mother them and help them through it. Just like my girl (and guy for that matter) friends do for me when I go through something like that. Turns out this person they were venting about is the same person. See, I had clocked this person from the very moment I met him; you know, the type of guy you can have fun with, but who you can't take seriously. But now there are so many of these girls, women, who despite all of their misgivings, took him seriously and are hurt, and come to talk to me about it. So what drives someone to go through life treating other people like this? Yes, you can say that the women are stupid enough to fall for it, but at the same time, why would you even want to go around hurting people like that in the first place? Beats me. I wouldn't have enough energy to even try.

On Tuesday a girl walked into the bar looking for a job. She seemed so sweet and friendly and new to NYC. Turns our she had moved here 6 days ago, so, as always, I felt the need to help and protect her. I knew that they were hiring at the Taqueria next door, so she ended up getting a job there, and also a few new friends and a bar to hang out in (most important things to find when you first move to the city: job+friends+bar). She came in to say hi after her shift last night and told me that all the people she knew had told her to watch out for us and that it was weird that people would randomly like to help someone like that. Um... Really? So you aren't allowed to do random acts of kindness without thinking about what you may get in return now? For me it wasn't even an act of kindness, just helping out. My friend who manages the Taqueria filled an empty position at his restaurant, this girl is not going to starve, and we all found a new friend. That's life. There are still people who do nice things in this world, just because, well because they are nice people.

Last night a friend of mine was hanging out at the bar, and was trying to think of ways to help me fund my trip to England. She got a random call from a guy that she knew from her old job, and got him, and his friend, to come down for a drink, in the hope that they would be good tippers. When they got to the bar she realised it wasn't the person she was thinking of, and they were just awful. That type of person that I do my best to avoid at all costs. Rich, entitled, and looking to score drugs and hot girls (that they will pay for if need be). I wanted to vomit in their Grey Goose vodka Redbulls, especially after they started flirting pathetically with my friend and groping her. Thankfully they weren't watching me pour their drinks and I served them delicious well vodka and flat red bull in the hopes that they would get the fuck out of the bar as soon as possible. Luckily for us all they weren't any women willing to go back to their hotel rooms with them so they left looking for more action in Times Square. Gross. What is it with men (and women for that matter) who think they are entitled to treat everyone else like shit because they think that money buys them superiority? Gross, gross, gross.

Every day I am thankful that I have such good friends, and they are all such good people. I'll definitely have more stories like this over the next few weeks, but I won't be able to post regularly until I get back from England. It's going to be really hectic and a difficult time. We are having a mini happy hour fundraiser at 200 tonight, so if you live in the city come down for a drink. <3

Halloween @ 200 Orchard

WednesdayScottMelindaMichael1Holly1Kerry1Wednesday1Michael_Holly Kerry2HellsGrannyKristaSkullCreepy_DoorsDevil_Debbie GinaBar1Bar2GrannyMummyWednesdayKerryJonoScary_Mummy Wednesday2Holly_TriviaMichael2Holly_RamieGingerAngela

Halloween 2011, a set on Flickr.

Here are the photos from last night's Halloween party at 200 Orchard... Yes, we are creepy, and scary, and a little bit in love with the camera. Or something like that.
I now need to remember that I am not Wednesday Addams anymore and will go back to staring at people normally again. And smiling.

Happy Halloween!!

I love this time of year, and this year I am going back to the old favourite costume of mine, Wednesday. Never gets old and always works perfectly! I haven't been to a haunted house or corn maze or hung out with any zombies (yet) this year, but I will be dancing with ghosts at our Halloween party at 200 Orchard tonight (they are real ghosts). I'll also be playing some music at some point in time (one of the ghosts loves to dance to Jacques Brel, but I will keep the music a little more Halloween and a little less French/Belgian tonight).

Here's a Halloween playlist I put together this weekend:
Halloween 2011

The Ettes (and who the fuck is Imelda May anyway?!)

I have heard of The Ettes before. I own a couple of their albums and enjoy listening to them. I have however never heard of Imelda May. Or I hadn't until last night anyway...
It was my fourth and last shift of the week at the bar, and I was feeling a little tired and fragile, just chatting away to my friend in an otherwise empty bar, when in walked three lovely people who proceeded to tell me the story of their night. They happened to be The Ettes, and instead of performing in Boston as they were supposed to that night, were having a drink at 200 Orchard. I mean, I love my work, and love working in one of my favourite bars in NYC, but I don't think I would have chosen drinking there instead of playing a gig...
So after serving them few drinks and introducing ourselves, it appears that The Ettes had been asked to support Imelda May on her US tour. Just fresh off another tour, they packed up there gear, rented a van and set out on the road again. Along the way from Nashville to Boston, a small interview was posted HERE. A little tongue in cheek, a little playful, but nothing harmful at all... But apparently Imelda May didn't appreciate it and kicked them off the tour. Yes, kicked them off the tour while they were already in Connecticut, having driven all the way from Nashville that day for the first gig.

Coco (Lindsay) explained that the journalist had taken her out of context, and basically changed her words so they sounded like she was telling Imelda to watch her back, but even so, the article just sounds playful! Was it really worth actually kicking them off her tour? What was she worried about? That they would actually be better than her and literally blow her off the stage?! Who gets scared of a little fun competition? Don't you actually want to have a good support band to warm up the crowd before you go on? And also, does she Google herself everyday and scrutinize every article that says something about her? Because this tiny article would never have been noticed if she didn't! And how many people actually bought tickets for the shows because they wanted to see The Ettes? What are Imelda's team going to do about that?!

Sometimes I just wonder what happened to rock n roll. Who cares about image? It's all about the bloody music... Or apparently it isn't for some musicians...

To me it all sounds like a big pile of terrible PR BS on the part of Imelda May and her team. Having had the pleasure to actually meet the members of The Ettes, and talk to them for a few hours, I found that they are the most lovely, down to earth and interesting people, and obviously never wanted to hurt anyone's feelings. They just wanted to play their music for their fans.

I just had to write about this as it made me so angry last night. I hope The Ettes get back to Nashville safely, are able to get some of the money they spent on all of this back, and are able to forget all of this crap. They didn't deserve this to happen to them. Even the journalist who wrote the article is mortified as he never meant it to be taken that way... I guess some "stars" think way too highly of themselves.

I still don't know who Imelda May is and really don't have any need to find out.

I hope they make it back to NYC soon - they were an absolute pleasure to meet and talk to, and made me want to visit Nashville even more now!

The effects of Tiny Dancer upon mankind

Or, at least, on me...

I was busy putting my playlist together for tonight's Rock n Roll trivia session that I'm guest hosting with Jono at 200 Orchard, and I automatically added Elton John's Tiny Dancer to the list, not even thinking if it has any relevance to the trivia questions at all (it does, in a round-about kind of way). And I realised that this is just one of those songs that provides immediate comfort and a feeling of happiness. I know it's not only me, it works in the same way on many people.

For example, a few years ago, Rosie and I were sitting at a table at Darkroom. The place wasn't too busy for an early Friday night, but not empty either. We twisted Aurelio's arm and got him to play Tiny Dancer, and the whole bar started singing along. I still get goosebumps thinking about it today. Once the song ended everyone went back to what they were doing, but for a few minutes there was a real feeling of unison between a group of strangers.

Another time I remember leaving work in the summer, after a highly stressful day, and decided to walk down Park Avenue. I put my ipod on, and Tiny Dancer started up, and I just started to smile. To this day I will always put the song on when I feel like I am going to have a panic attack or if my stress level is getting too high.

When Cameron Crowe used Tiny Dancer in the tour bus scene, making it into the song that brings everyone back together, he knew exactly what effect it was going to have on the viewers.

Sit back and enjoy:

Trivia is from 8-10 pm tonight at 200 Orchard.