Part of why I've been so absent is that I'm writing a book! I don't know why I never announced that publicly. Maybe I did and I just can't remember because I haven't updated in so long. Regardless, I'd like to keep this blog alive, so I think I'm gonna try and write at least one decent update a month! Not necessarily about pizza, but hopefully a little about pizza. This month will be the former.
Part of why I'm posting is that I was in the Wall Street Journal yesterday! I always like being in that paper because my dad hates it. Even though I pretty much agree with all of his criticisms, it will always be cool to piss off your dad. Take that old man! (jk dude ily).
They called me for an article about "the disappearance of the pizzeria" or something. The thesis of the article is that the traditional pizza place is being supplanted by dollar slice joints. I told the really nice reporter who called me for a quote that this phenomenon was only happening in the shittier parts of Manhattan that are already basically barren cultural wastelands and that actual neighborhoods still have neighborhood pizzerias! Big up Pizza Palace, big up Carmine's Original, big up New Park Pizza.
Speaking of Manhattan turning into total garbage, I was coming over the Williamsburg Bridge onto Delancey the other night and noticed that new 7-11 lit up on the corner of Stanton, with the AT&T store lit up right next to it, and I for real almost started crying because Delancey Street was never the coolest place on Earth or anything, but it didn't have weird mall stores on it and New York in general wasn't so willing to cater to corporate presence. Like, that 7-11 used to be a bodega that was basically the same as a 7-11, except it was unique and not a replica of a million places identical places all over the world. It was a generic bodega, but it was our generic bodega. I'm sure the AT&T store used to be one of those sketchy cellphone/beeper places too, and it is like, possibly more useful as an AT&T store but FUCK THAT anyway. RIP my youth. He was so young.
And now I'm just gonna post an edited version of an email I wrote a friend in LA. He doesn't look at the internet anyway, so there's no reason to worry about him finding out I was workshopping material for my blog in my letter to him! This is one of the many incidental plus sides to old punks hating the internet.
"Yep.""You're waiting for the broker to see the apartment, too? The $1800 two bedroom?"And the one of them was like, "We're trying to."Aaron-
I have two (maybe it's actually two and a half) wonderful New York moments for you:
Tina's lease is about to be up, but she's been working like 500 hours a day at ______ and doesn't have time to look at apartments. Yesterday, I took a tiny bit of time out of my day to see a couple of places for her that were walking distance from my house. The first was on _____ and _____ in this wonderful-looking old tenement building. I was supposed to meet the broker at 1:15, but walked over a little early to just check out the block and feel the ~vibes~ or whatever. When I got to the building there were two tattooed white women (not punx) outside smoking and I was like, "hey do you guys live here?"
Okay so these people were now potential enemy combatants or whatever, but I was cordial. They were complaining to each other a bunch very vocally about the broker being a few minutes late, which didn't seem like such a big deal to me. They seemed like generally sour people.
The broker finally showed up and unlocked the door to the building. Right after he walked in, this older abuela was coming out of the building with a rickety laundry cart full of clothes and detergent bottles. One of the wheels was wobbly and she was having a really hard time getting it out the door and down the stoop. The two women who were at the apartment when I got there pushed past her to follow the broker. I slowed down all "esta bien?" and helped her get the cart down the damn stairs and then walked a little faster to catch up to the broker and the two ladies. The one lady turned to me as we were heading up the stairs and was like, "you're not from New York are you?" and I was like, "No, YOU'RE not from New York."
I told him mazel tov, or whatever, the usual platitudes, though they were genuine! I am psyched for this kid."I just came from the hospital. My girl had a baby today! I have a daughter!"I hadn't noticed it, but it smelled like weed. I didn't wanna blow up anyone's spot, so I just shrugged my shoulders, looked confused and said, "maybe it's a cigar?"In all previous tellings of this story I've just let it end at my snappy comeback, because it makes for good narrative, but here's the truth: she was from Long Island, which is about as "from New York" as I am! I sure felt stupid. I think even if it had "worked" and she had been from like, Delaware or something, I would've felt like a jerk for making her feel bad, even if she was a clearly not a nice person. But then again, I overthink and overanalyze everything. Why'd I have to go and make things so complicated?
The apartment was a bust, by the way. Too small.
Fast forward a few hours, I have spent some time writing, made some food, had a coffee with Caroline in a park, etc. I had an 8pm appointment to see another possible place, this one on _____ and _____. I biked over there and met the Chassidic broker, who walked me over to a dilapidated building where there were a bunch of older Boricua dudes building a basketball hoop, laughing and joking with each other really loud. We navigated through this fun, boisterous assemblage and into the building, where he showed me an apartment that I think may have had punks living in it. I saw an H2O record and a Latterman poster. May have spotted a back patch. As we were leaving the Chassid dude sniffed in the hallway and turned to me, "is this drugs I smell?"
I headed home, thought about leaving my bike outside, but it was cloudy so I decided to take it upstairs. I leaned it up against the laundromat and sat on the stoop to smoke and call Tina to tell her about the apartment. As I was talking to her, my friend Ronda walked up with her granddaughter Noonie. I got off the phone with Tina and went to the bodega with Ronda, bought Noonie an ice cream sandwich, and walked them home. I walked back to my apartment, went upstairs, wrote some more, fucked around on the internet, ate a brownie, pet my cats. At like, 1am I was sitting at my table smoking a cigarette and watching youtube videos of this guy Eddie Pepitone doing standup (he is very funny, by the way), when I thought to myself, "where is my bi... OH SHIT." And I knew it was gone, and I ran downstairs to just see that it was gone and hate myself for being an idiot.
I put my shoes on and ran down my steps and sure enough, there was no bike there for me. I stood for a minute in the foyer processing my grief, wondering if I could ask Cory to give me back the bike I had given him two years ago because I now didn't have a bike, when my neighbor's kid came in walking his dad's pitbull. He is like, 18 or 19 and one of those super cute fixed gear emo teens. He has like, big cursive words tattoos all over his forearms and a lip ring and rides a track bike that really matches itself and his sneakers and the plugs in his ears. I gave him our regular nod, asked how he was doing.
That's that! The moral is twofold. First, don't bother trying to "put people in their place." It's stupid and you'll probably end up feeling like a dick. Second, be friendly to your neighbors! It feels really good, and also they will be friendly back to you. Unless Phil Chapman is your neighbor, then you should trip him on the stairs.We were walking up the stairs and he was like, "oh yeah, do you still have that same pink bike?" I shook my head yes. "Cuz before I went to the hospital I saw a couple of crack heads looking at it so I brought it upstairs. You should probably lock it up next time. Can you come get it out of my living room?"
Anyway, things are good here. Hope they're good there!