16 April 2007

Before The Flood

Not the even the biggest New York booster could argue that we've been having much in the way of lovely spring weather. For almost two weeks now the temperature has barely managed to get out of the 40s (single digits, for our Celsius friends), and when it finally did for a few hours, it was merely an atmospheric fluke, a tiny bubble (RIP, Don Ho!) of tepid air driven before an onrushing storm that descended upon us in the wee hours of this morning and as of now, 21 hours later, has dumped 7 1/2 inches (355 mm) of rain on the city.

Not ideal for a Sunday stroll in the park, in other words, and although I finally did venture out in search of food about 9 this evening, most of New York seemed to have hunkered down in as warm and dry a place as could be found, and was waiting out the deluge. When I started down the street the storm seemed to have spent itself, with little more than a lively drizzle still falling. But on my way back lightning and thunder started crashing about Metropolitan Avenue, and the newly energized rain threatened to punch holes in my umbrella. In the midst of it, here comes some bozo blithely riding along on his bike as if it were a bright, sunny day and he was on his way to the beach. I mean, his rear wheel was leaving a wake, the kind of roostertail that you see behind high-powered speedboats. More evidence, if you ask me, that devout bicyclists operate in a different reality zone. And perhaps an explanation for why they're likely to run you down if you dare to set foot into the street (or on the sidewalk) when they're motivating along. Because, basically, like the weather, stop signs, or old blind ladies in wheelchairs, you're not really there, man.

Thankfully the foul weather we've been having lifted long enough on Saturday to allow an afternoon and evening of frenetic social activity. There's a relatively new shop in the neighborhood, Passout Records, that's been putting on afternoon shows, and this weekend it was the turn of the Lost Locker Combo, a 10 or 12-piece aggregation which is the brainchild (using the term in its most generous sense) of longtime scenester Bill Florio and boasts a membership spanning the whole spectrum of New York and New Jersey's vibrant pop-punk scene. They wear sharp red vests and white shirts, except for Bill, who dons a professor's outfit, and Cheerleader/Terrorist Stephanie, who comes as herself, and while they're more sharply dressed and better rehearsed, remind me uncannily of Isocracy, not least because of their predilection for assaulting the audience and dumping trash on them.

Because I was going out to dinner later at a halfway proper restaurant and wouldn't have time to go home and change my clothes, I actually had to duck outside when the trash, silly string and confetti-dumping reached its frenetic height, but I only missed about one and a half songs, and was still able to loll about on the sidewalk while musicians and fans, including peripatetic record mogul Jonnie Whoa Oh, flaneur and boulevardier-about-town Chadd Derkins, flame-haired photoblogger Kelly Lynn, New Jersey Philosopher Laureate and train scholar JoeIII, and that ever-reliable arbiter of cool, Ms. Carla Monoxide hashed out the age old question: "Where do you guys wanna go now?" "I don't know, where do you guys wanna go?"

Then it was off to dinner in the East Village with several of my less flamboyant though possibly more respectable friends, where we found ourselves sharing space with some woman who apparently was one of the contestants on a reality TV show called Project Runway. One of our party - let's just say the really gay one - recognized her immediately and was like, "Oh my God, is that her? I have to go ask her." The rest of us had no idea what he was talking about, but he went over, started a conversation, and apparently she was indeed the celeb in question. Sorry, I don't remember her name.

Then it was time to reunite with the pop-punk posse at Otto's Shrunken Head, a mildly trendy rockabilly bar on 14th Street between B and C, for purposes of celebrating the aforementioned K Lynn's birthday. It was crowded with the sorts of people you'd expect to find in a loud East Village bar on a Saturday night, but there were enough of us to colonize the hallway and annoy everyone who was trying to get to the bathrooms, and while some of our group made merry with the hooch, Otto's Shrunken Head wasn't getting rich off one little sub-group of non-drinkers (yours truly included), who spent not a penny all night. It's not that I'm that much of a penny pincher, and in fact I wouldn't have minded at all buying a soda or a lime-and-seltzer, but I wasn't about to fight my way through that mob at the bar for the privilege of doing so. So I prefer to think that my abstemious friends and I made up for our lack of purchases by adding a certain atmosphere to the joint.

Events and festivities rattled on till about 2 or so, at which point the sensible among us started migrating back to the boroughs, while the other half of our party determined to stay on, probably until closing time. Which means they probably got caught in the rain, which started about 3, and, I note, seems to have stopped now that it's gone past 3 again. Making it Monday morning and way past my bedtime. Remember to send in your tax returns!

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