Contemplations & Reflections (with Toni Matulis)
Maroon & Gold
Bloomsburg State College (PA) - March 17, 1967
Trip Me Up
Last weekend was spent at a conference in n.y.c. I knew you’d want to hear about it—well, if you didn’t really want to, fake it…
NYU has a few hangouts, and at most of them they seem to be having the same trouble that the Varsity Grille had many years ago when it as started for the college crowd and was allowed to become infiltrated by h.s. kids. Eventually it became a h.s. dive by both reputation and fact. Unfortunate…I guess. At some of the places its hard to tell the 10-year-olds from the grad students. They got apathy too.
The Times & CBS
During our brief Big City engagement we managed tours of both The New York Times and CBS. What can I say about that? Well, the Times is run more efficiently and is larger than The Morning Press and CBS has the largest communications center in one building in the world, which contains six shooting locations in the building, each one suspended from four springs to do away with the vibrations from subways which, when you stand at certain spots of certain streets can really put the fear of God into ya. CBS has color cameras that sell for $86,000 per, and tape editing and relay machines (that are run by central computers) that sell for $170,00 each. The place must be richer than Fort Knox the way the guide quoted figures. Hmmm, wonder if Goldfinger knows about this place?
One of the coolest feelings in the world is to stand on the edge of a subway platform (if you can find it among the vending machines) and feel the air rush past you and almost blow you onto the tracks as one of the trains comes along pushing about a billion quarts of air before it. Also, if you ever get the chance take a few different subways and compare them as they come along: some are new and shiny, some are old and dirty as tho they haven’t been touched since the First World War—inside, tho, they’re all the same: you can’t tell a BMI from an LBJ from and LSD. They’ve got a new game: You bring a stranger to New York, put him in a subway, make him jump off at the second stop and board the first subway car he comes to: time him for one hour; at the end of that time give him fifteen minutes to get back to his original terminal; if he fails you burn his subway map and leave him there—sort of like Russian Roulette, except that the guy never wins. One guy played it and ended up five miles outside of Espy. How bad is that?
"Gimme a nickel, huh?"
Everyone who ventures into NYC is set upon by a shabby looking fellow in the lower part of town who nonchalantly walks up to you and says, “Hey fellow, how about a dime for a cup of coffee?” You know darn well he is putting those dimes in his piggy bank till he gets $1.06 (tax included) for a quart of port. The advice is usually to ignore them, tell them no, etc., as they will harmlessly depart. OK. So I never give in to them (I can spend a dime just as judiciously as he can…), I usually don’t. This time a fellow comes up, “Hey, buddy, how about giving me 12 cents for a cup of coffee. I reached into my pocket, whipped out the 12 cents and a 3 cent tip. “Here, buddy, you’re at least original.” He must read old copies of The Wall Street Journal. He’s heard about inflation.
The Columbia Marathon
While at Columbia U. we had the opportunity to witness a rally of sorts by a student group who we at first thought were the Rolling Stones in concert. They were attempting to influence the minds of their fellow students gathered around them (actually, it was a group of 1,000 high school kids who were there for their section of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference) listening attentively from about eight in the morning until dark. In one half-hour we took a couple notes. They made five stimulating points for their case (despite three front-row hecklers) which they managed to contradict back and fourth seven times in 30 minutes. Fantastic. I’ve never met anyone else who can be so glibly ineffective so well. I bow in humble surrender.
Koffee Kupp Kadett
A few months ago, at the Lewisburg coffee house (the “Coalbin”), a rolly-polly, bearded and glassed folkster got up and sang a song about New York City. The only line I remember from it is one from the chorus: “I’ve seen your city and it isn’t pretty.” Rite.
Never go to the Village and expect to find official beatniks there. Especially in that old hangout, Washington Square. You’ll find several other species there, tho: cops chasing little girls thru the bushes, 12-year-old fellows sitting stoically on a bench sipping malt liquor, young teenage kids with long hair who play the role by calling each other weird names to impress a stray girl that happens by their bench and gets past the profanity, and an occasional wide-eyed drunk lying among the path staring happily at the misty form of the Empire State Building through the arch of the monument. The true beats are long since fled or are sitting peacefully in their rooms smoking pot (supposedly on the way out), taking little quarter “trips,” or experimenting with “pepper paper”; one need not mention the aspects of common law living—that’s been established long ago. Log live the true beats—let them falsify their ID cards and live peacefully, unmolested by tourists, teenage phonies, and law enforcement.
Let There Be Coffee
The Village was once famous for its coffee houses that one had to enter from the street level moving downward. Well, at least in the West Village those days are numbered. They’ve got brand new coffee houses at street level that rival Howard Johnson’s. This just ain’t proper. They are starting a movement to begin street-side cafes. Emulating the French may not be too bad, but some people will still remember the cellar coffee shops—too bad they’re only memories.
Bring it on Home
Arriving home late Saturday nite it was good to find out own coffee shop, the Bye The Way, in full swing. The waitering service was being taken are of by Beta Sig fraternity.