Tag Archive: New York City


In September of 2001, many things in my life were new: I was the new Nights (7 p.m. – midnight) man entertaining on a little AM radio station in Nashville, Tennessee. I’d do my show and then off I’d go to check out some local DJs in my new Music City. Mostly, I checked out Liquid Lounge (before it became “Elements”) till about 3 A.M., looking for new club DJ opportunities and then go a short distance from my new downtown, back to my new little two bedroom cottage.

This was still the pre-cell phone era and I only had a land line and cassette tape- based answering machine which I based in my other room, across the hall in my studio room from my bedroom and had an incredibly long cord, which allowed me to be on the “princess” phone all over the house and even out on my little front stoop. I didn’t have my first home computer yet and there were still pay phones everywhere!

So I’d sleep from like 4 a.m. until maybe noon, unless I had some special morning interaction to attend or a gig; such is the life of the second and third shift radio man and many other alternative hour workers.

Then the phone rang around 10 or 11 a.m. I guess, and I heard the machine come on in the other room, and maybe my friend, Monique’s voice say something as I slept – and ignored it. Soon, the phone rang another time and I recognized her voice again! At this point I picked it up and my friend Monique says, “Turn on the TV!” I’m like, “No, I’m sleeping…” or something to that effect. She insisted and then I fumbled around and found the remote to turn it on. What I saw I thought was a movie, in the purple haze of awakening. “Why you want me to watch this movie, Mo?” I must have asked. She said something like, “No! A plane hit the World Trade Center!!” I began to sit up in my bed and just about then, the second plane hit the other tower. Shock. At that moment, I knew that this was no movie.

As I watched the coverage that fateful afternoon, I’d almost forgotten that I had a “show” to do that evening – and the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want to perform it. – I was bummed to the max! Calling my Mum in on Long Island, I asked could she smell the smoke and she said “Yes.” So I called my Program Director to ask him out of my show that night, but instead of empathy for my feelings, he replied, in, what I’ve learned is typical southern black American ignorance, “Aww man, its just a plane hit a building. G’wan in and do your show!” At that point, my respect for him, being in his position only because he was the station owner’s son, went from like and “eight” to a “one” on a scale of one to ten. How dare he condescend, knowing that my roots are at the base of the World Trad Center and having been in my house where I had a wall-sized poster of them and the whole southern tip of Manhattan above my bed!

Writing this now, I know that the rebel in me wanted to call out, but I think that my inner “Dan Rather” made me go in that evening, but not to do my usual “party” radio show. Instead, I opened-up the phones to my new Nashville local listeners, to let them air their impressions of the day’s attack. Many were initially sort of clueless, to my disappointment, but as my program grew into the evening, I remember that the discussions became more spirited and that many of my listeners knew that I was from there and expressed their empathy to me, if not for the national implications, for me as someone they only met through the radio who identified with New York City. It was the most solem show I remember in my professional radio career – I hardly played any music and we lived for the top of the hour network updates for five hours that night.

Last night, on the cusp of eighteen years later and trying to go to sleep, I wished I could listen to that show; probably taped it on a cassette which is likely in storage with much of my belongings from those days that I cannot get to it because of my poverty, having chosen that radio career path, which has imploded for me like those beloved towers fell.

In closing, I must remind you to carry the message that we have young people in school now who have no recollection of that treacherous attack. So it is super- important that we teach them the magnitude of that day like the Pearl Harbor surprise attack was for the generation of my parents was.

Since 2016 or thereabouts, we as Americans have lost that unity that came about in the wake of those horrific and cowardly attacks. I close by asking you, my dear reader, to help bring back that sense of togetherness-of-purpose-umbrella, which we all gathered under after September 11, 2001.

Fingers lovingly probe the letters of these keys.
Emotion tries to rescue me.
Where will they take me?
Like a Disc Jockey plays,
A rolling stone full of moss.

It is late, but the songbird of my life called me out of the blue earlier this afternoon,
In the daylight for a change,
We usually talk late at night.
She calls me unexpectedly,
Holla at a brotha excitedly to say she thinks
She was nearby where my mother lives.
Few have permission to go there.

An ongoing thing,
Is this fling;
I stopped it for twenty-five years.
Let the sap descend back to the roots;
Banned and then I forgave her
Upon shockingly returning as a caregiver.

Many a year it seemed,
I was just her chauffeur to parties
Nothing more afterwards.
I was in love with a ride-share client;
She spoke her love for me,
However it was never consummated,
While I could lay many others.

We are still both single,
Early sexagenarians who have not yet exchanged sexual generics.
Would it be worth it now having desired her for so long?
As uncharacteristic as a cold cactus on a desert night,
I still do not trust her to visit and be denied and teased again.

Therefore, and because she lives now in the dark of the Bronx,
Yet I did it to get it over with.
The tolls over the bridges,
Are also somewhat prohibitive nowadays from when it was a quarter.

Lay lady never laid,
Maybe on my new almost brass bed,
If only I could finally get her into it.
Never taking me seriously,
Thinking I was too skinny genetically.
That I can never control.

If now that we are older Baby Boomers,
She would perish before I do,
Would be the saddest day,
Save my own mother’s time before mine.

Her voice is still the same,
Except when she is loud street braggadocios.
Our octaves never change I guess,
Unless health issues do.
Once a songbird to my heart,
Always a special symphony singer into my soul.
She insists “last night a DJ saved my life”.

Thirty years I have known her;
Yet through it all never boned her.
No hook-up from the friend zone.
Nyet benefits – why?
This verse is masturbation alone.

Caring in-truthful conversations,
This time wasn’t our mind blown?
To have loved and to slice like a cherry tree;
Tasted tart fruit distantly from one’s own;
Now I know never there will we have sex;
Not a pie are we,
No French Vanilla-skinned ice cream;
Only a forever fly-by.
She is huge in weight and afraid of the freight.
It will slightly be morose to have lost the chance ,
When one of us soon goes “bye-bye”.
Thanks for the friendship dance.

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Early this first week of November, 2014, I received this email from a Realtor friend,
“In Case you didn’t know: Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation that will lower the default speed limit in New York City from 30 to 25 miles per hour. Beginning November 7th 2014, the speed limit on all streets will be 25 mph, unless otherwise posted. http://www.nyc.gov/html/visionzero/pages/home/home.html”

My reaction is that it is one of the DUMBEST laws in history, if you take into account that this is “fast-paced New York City”. And yet I understand the “spirit” of the edict must be to slow-down the plethora of wild drivers overall. I learned to drive in NYC and earned my license in 1969.

The succeeding generations after the 1990s have pushed anarchy on the roads to a new HIGH, so I understand the “spirit” of what the Mayor is signing.
Heh, maybe they will let us do “30”mph without a ticket. However, it is also possible that some overly- aggressive NYPD will undoubtedly catch many dolphins in their traffic dragnets. ???????????????????????????????

Instead I suggest a “Stop Sign Means a FULL STOP” campaign. The Mayor could hire me (or not) to do the Public Service Announcements voice-over for radio and TV!! I say that because this generation of drivers (many from other parts of the planet) has NO respect for the Stop Sign. stop-war-sign

My dad owned the now defunct “Jamaica Auto School” back in the day, so I KNOW from what I speak for he who cannot speak anymore.
My concern is that those of us who follow the rules, who are from the black and white TV/beginning of color TV generations and those immediately after will become the dolphins caught in the NYPD’s traffic dragnet. Those of us who know the old rules of “right-of-way” and “no trucks in the left lane”, who speed-up to pass grandpappy who is DWTOT (driving while too old to) will get surprise camera speeding tickets or worse, stopped by today’s uniformed NYPD human lookalikes who then, in the spirit of former Mayor Giuliani take the opportunity to humiliate good, mature adult citizens in the name of reclaiming “stop and frisk” under the guise of exceeding the 25mph limit.

How about ticketing pedestrians who cannot look up from their “stupid phones” and wander out into oncoming traffic?! Or the ones with headphones on under hoodies who wander out in the crosswalk of major borough boulevards at dusk, not looking right or left as I was taught to, almost with impunity that a vehicle will not strike them down them down just because they did not SEE them until the last second as the driver made their left-turn! One of the lessons my Pops taught me while we walked from the subway on Lexington Avenue up to my boyhood “guppie” YMCA swimming lessons was to “look both ways and over your right shoulder for cars, and NEVER trust that the driver would stop!” In other words, never put your life in the hands of a driver whose state of mind you do not KNOW! Mr. DeBlasio, do your homework and go BACK to those lessons if you want to reduce pedestrian incidents and fatalities!

No, this policy is not thoroughly thought-out and will likely produce traffic court gridlock before long, if there are enough of us who know to challenge wrongs in the system still left in the once-great fast-paced “Big Apple” to stand-up against it.

Not that I never drove the streets of NYC aggressively, mind you, but it was always a “controlled assertion”; more like to get out of the way of what I saw developing. Sometimes someone driving too slowly is as bad as one driving too fast! I’ve witnessed these new drivers, in their modern, high-powered Lexus, Camarys, and BMWs (“OMG, the aggressively ignorant attitude that beamer drivers have these days in NYC is moronically morose!) who drive like they think that those drivers in the movies and in car sales commercials on controlled tracks are the way you are supposed to drive around the neighborhood!

And so once again, in true kindergarten or grade school fashion, like when someone stole the teacher’s favorite pen from her desk and would not own-up to it nor accept amnesty as she turned her back to “allow whoever it was to return it”, most of the class of experienced and predominate traffic law-abiding drivers will be punished for the actions of a band of youthful and immature few.
25mph everywhere? Nyet. Drivers over forty years old, please coach yourselves up on how to dispute camera speeding tickets, quickly, fast and in-a-hurry. Look out for more “road rage” stories, lol.
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**PickHit: “Pedestrian deaths in the city fell to a historic low last year, and motorcyclist deaths also dropped, the number of bicyclist fatalities increased to 20, from 12 in 2013″!

** Sureshot: Having to watch-out for speeding cameras (“photo enforced”) adds another driver DISTRACTION, you dummies!

As I walk to the bus stop,
Wait a minute, “walk” to the bus stop??
Oh, yes, I’m back around the old neighborhood;
‘Sold my old car to get here and create money momentum!
So as not to go “under”;
I feel I am a failure.

So…As I walk to the bus stop, each house on every block
Has a story or evokes a stored memory;
Which I can’t quite remember as I pass,
Nor will I when I return.
Spookily haunting is the past like that,
In a way I am amused by.

A girl I liked in that one,
Some tough bully kid in the next;
A friendly, now older gent still working his garage I see.
A crazy memory here,
Whip Appeal crush there.
It all a blur now.

Then I pass the park where I played
So much punch and stick-ball.
Where I diligently trained to become the next Oscar Robertson!
The former Haggerty, then “Jamaica” Park
Who knows what they’ve named it nowadays;
I did not notice a NYC Parks Department sign.
Only that they reconfigured all of the hoops courts where the softball outfield
Used to be, OMG! Weird!
Now Mexican-looking guys play cards where the Home Plate was,
When I pitched an underhand softball No-hitter,
While the girls-to-impress of the day,
Eye us from the now-gone metal-chained swings area.

Now I’ve caught the Q110.
Riding, bumping, rolling down the Avenue;
Old movie theatre marquee where I saw “Bonnie and Clyde” first-run is gone!
It is now another church?
That old sandstone brick bank building is now a DENTAL Center??
Where is Eddie’s original old “African-American” barber shop?
Is this “progress”?
I notice their absence and ask myself,
“What happened to the Caucasian Europeans and Black Americans?”
I maybe know the common answer to that but,
We were supposed to have integrated our great city and society.
This looks/sounds like I “returned” to a Third World country!

Now thicker into the ole “Valencia” shopping district,
I think the islanders took “Jamaica Avenue” too literally!
I know that this is historically the number-ONE immigrant town,
Now though, it is troubling to see here it is mostly brown!
Why, against my vision of the cross-pollination,
I said to Mum who was smiling as I walked up to the front porch;
Do humans behave contrary to the way
Our Creator and Heavenly Father planned,
Can’t we be more like the bee
Which takes pollen from flowers of any color,
Producing honey for all indiscriminately?

Did we again in this area and probably many others,
Choose American-style re-segregation?
It seems that the whole Caribbean and middle east,
Relocated to New York City over the past 20 years!
And they aren’t following the “rules” we used have to.
Driving on the road like “koo-koo”!

The only music around the way that is the same,
Is that of the Mister Softee ice cream truck.

“Stop Requested”…

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