Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Navy and Me IV

Above my cube-mate Ray entering into the bar/restaurant in the Village through the courtyard with no shingle or sign and Don at the Guggenheim Art Museum taking a picture of me taking a picure of him.

Chief Kobus assigned me to the passage-way (Navy talk) where all the administration offices were.

In a row were first the commanding officer’s office, then the administration office, then the legal office, then the Squadron’s publication office, then the mail room, next the personnel office, next the I & E Office (Information and Education), then the rest rooms, one for officers and one for the enlisted. There were no women in our squadron so further division wasn’t needed. Then some kind of operations office, next a little office with a teletype machine that often would print off important information, a lot of it confidential. And after that, the last office, another part of operations. And the last room was a room full of bunk beds, for people that was on watch any given night.

I know the paragraph above is not important to you and you might have said, “Who cares?” Well, I do. It is good mind exercise..

I didn’t have much to do. Sweep it with a dust mop once or twice a day and hand around in the hall with a duster in case a door opened you could get busy. I wouldn’t be missed if I did leave my work area, which I ventured out a couple of times.

Standing in the hallway (passage way) day after day, I had several conversations with Don in personnel and his friend Rueben, from the bayous of Louisiana. The three of us decided to go New York City Saturday. In fact, that will be two Saturdays in a row for NYC.

That Saturday we went again on the bus.

We first went and stood in a very long line at Radio City Music Hall. Once inside we got to see the Rocketts perform. Afterwards we walked up to Fifth Avenue and went into Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and then walked on up by the Plaza Hotel, which I was impressed by the New York finery of the horse and carriages and the door men at the hotel in royal looking hats. Then on up Fifth Avenue with Central Park on our left until got as far as the Metropolitan Museum. All three of us were Salvador Dali fans, so we looked his stuff up. I think that is where we saw Dali’s Cubical Crucifixion and it seems his wife Gala was in a couple, nude.

After the Metropolitan we walked back down 5th Avenue and across the street and went to the Guggenheim Art Museum. We were impressed with the art and the design of that building, take an elevator to the top and walk down a spiral, by design you couldn’t miss anything, where at the Metropolitan you could easily by bypass a room.

After we finished up with there we took a bus all the way down 5th Avenue to the huge Arch de Triumph- look-a-like or whatever, that I soon considered the gateway to Greenwich Village.

We really enjoyed the park that was held the Arch. A lot of eccentric people considered it a common water hole. There was a big fountain, park benches, trees, and, usually some young people strumming their guitars.

If, when going by the Arch from Fifth Avenue, if I remember correctly, if you go straight or to the left you would be on NYU campus, and if you followed the side walk at a right slant from the fountain and cross the street you would be in the Village.

We all read quiet a bit so we were delighted to see a lot of bookstores, some new and some used. There were two bars in the area we like to visit.

One was Julius’s and one was Chumly’s. I got the names mixed up and forgot which one was which. The one that was on a corner had a peanut shells all over the floor and a small sandwich bar where you go up and order your sandwich and the cook would holler at you when it was ready. I think they had delicious unique french fries and extra juicy thick hambugers. It was kinda behind The Village Voice. When you walked by the Village Voice I think their building was shaped like a V to confirm with the shape of the block, then turn right and up a block and cross the side street you would be there.

The other one was sort of in a residential part of the Village. You had to go through a front gate, then a court yard, with no kind of sign or shingle whatsoever. I think I heard it was a leftover from the prohibition days. Inside was dark with good smooth music. The walls were lined with signed book jackets and pictures. We saw William Price Fox and Shel Silverstine there, no together.

Through the next two years we kept going back to these same two bars, also during the next two years we visited Café’ A-Go-Go and The Bitter End to hear the music.

Late that night we left as we came, through Port Authority and into the blackness of New Jersey through Tony Soprano’s territory.

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Blogger kenju said...

I wrote a post about a girl I had gone to high school with, who left her husband and kids and ran away to NYC. I saw her in Chinatown at 2 a.m. and she told me she worked at The Bitter End. That was in 1961, I think. Maybe you saw her there.

2:07 PM  
Blogger ET said...

If she hung around until 1963 there is a good chance I did.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I was mortified to hear that there is a zillion-dollar plan to move the fountain in Washington Square Park a foot or two over so that it is perfectly aligned with the arch. I really cannot believe that the city does not have better things to spend our money on.

10:56 AM  
Blogger ET said...

If NYC wants to get rid of any money tell them they are welcome to enclose underneath my den. Just be sure and replant any grass killed.

2:59 PM  
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