A New York State of Mind

Soooo... Last week was an impromptu trip to New York City, the place of my birth! Definitely a best of times/worst of times situation. My birth father, Jerry Delaney is not doing to well (hint: if you smoke, knock it off! Looking cool now is not worth what you're gonna face in 40 or 50 years.) And I haven't seen my Mom in a couple of years and my brother Glen in even longer and I had a good week at the Coins and if I booked the right flights I could stretch 2 days off into almost 4... so Goodbye, Moderate Dampness - Hello Freezing Cold Midtown Traffic!
I took the red-eye out of Sea-Tac on Tuesday night, which got me across the country in four hous and had me landing at JFK just after sunrise.
Where I almost immediately get picked up by this guy...
That's right, the inimitable John Salatti. I called him thinking he'd be in DC 
and found him in West Babylon. Instant Wingman! (just add coffee)
An hour of wandering around Queens in the Mike Salatti Mystery Machine and Battle Van looking for an actual diner and we were in Midtown!

Mom lives up in  the 80's on York Avenue. It's the neighborhood she was born in, and with the exception of a detour to Babylon for about 12 years, she's spent her whole life here. Can't blame her. she has everything she needs within walking distance.
Here she is when we went out to dinner with her pal, Susan at this great little Irish Bar called "Finnegan's Wake".
And again at her favorite little diner down the block. In case you don't recognize her, my Mom is the Queen of 75th St. For 20 years, she operated Bessie's Laundromat on 75th between 1st and 2nd. It's no exaggeration to say she knew everybody in the neighborhood and their dog. When she shut the place down last month,  over a hundred people showed up to say "Thanks, Bessie!".

She lives a few blocks from the Subway, which is my transportation of choice around the city. Fast, weird and just a little bit creepy - just the way I like to travel. When I decided to head out to Sunnyside to see Dad, it was the only way to travel. I headed up to 77th and Lex to catch the 6 and as I made my way down to the platform, I heard some eerily familiar music...

It was this guy, playing the opening notes of "Dark Side of the Moon" on his guitar, with a synthesizer track. And HE WAS KILLING IT! Thanks for the photo, sir.

Out in Sunnyside, it was a day spent with Jerry and Cate (everyone calls her Cathy, but as Shakespeare said "Dainties are all Cates" and that's what she likes to be called). I like her a lot. She's got her hands full with my Dad and she deserves some credit.
Here they are with my brother, Glen. We had a great day. I realized when it was over that I had not shared the same space with my brother and my birth father in at least 52 years. It was really wonderful to put the past aside and live in the present with them. Those are some great smiles.

Those of you who know me know that  I've already lost one irreplaceable father. I consider myself so fortunate to have a second chance with this one.
Life is short, you know?

The next evening, I had to head back to Seattle. After my Mom woke me up to watch the Queen Latifah show (seriously... who knew she had such broad tastes?),  Salatti came back to ship me out from JFK, and Mom took us all out to a great little place called the Italian Village on 1st Ave.It's just another divey pizza parlor at first glance, but in the back they have a really nice dining room with a wine bar, espresso machines and samovars. Of course, they opened it up for Mom.

What a feast... Eggplant, antipasto,  spicy sausage, spaghetti, BAKED $#%@ing CLAMS!, Oy! (that's a shout-out to my buddy Sam... great to see you, old friend!)

Then, after a cannoli or three,   it was was off to Kennedy and the friendly-ish skies of Delta airlines.

It was a great, whirlind, dizzying trip. I didn't get it all done... didn't get a hot dog from a cart, didn't hook up with Billy, or Diane or Demi, but how much can you squeeze into three days?

This much..
Two Diners
Three Parents
One Brother
Another Brother from a different father (but Twins!)
who didn't recognize me ...Sam...
One slice of pizza
One taxicab ride (just to take my life in my hands)
One subway ride (cause you gotta!)
One instant Wingman
One Great Cappucino
One meal in an Irish Bar owned by an actual Irishman

And three days with this woman...
We've had our ups and downs and we've been through a bunch of changes. And for a while, she wasn't the Mom that I needed . But now she is. And she's the one I want. 
Thanks, Bessie.


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