Sunday, July 22, 2007

Day Off in Weehawken

Sat outside today at Houlihan's near the hotel and had a terrific BBQ Salmon Salad for lunch. Also spent a couple of hours sitting on a bench by the Hudson River reading the paper.

We have 2 days off here - we're staying at the Sheraton Suites On The Hudson here in Weehawken. Not much to do here, but you can jump on the ferry and be in Manhattan in minutes. The ferry lands you at 12th Ave. and 39th Street, near the Jacob Javits Center. From there, you're a quick bus or taxi ride to most anything you would want to do.

Tomorrow's my birthday, but I'm celebrating tonight. I have the day off tomorrow to recover from the festivities, a luxury I won't have Tuesday morning because we have a show that day. So tonight's the night.

I took the ferry into the city and met up with my dear friend C.J. around 6:30. I've known her over 10 years and she's one of my bestest buds up here. We did a little barhopping before heading down to Restaurant Row for dinner. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Restaurant Row is the block of 46th Street between 8th Ave. and 9th Ave. Lots of good places to eat there - so many that me and C.J. walked up and down the street for 20 minutes before deciding on a little Italian place that had a couple of sidewalk tables available. The food was great, and an hour later we were off to meet some other folks for drinks.

The plan was to spend the rest of the evening at The Collins Bar, on 8th Ave. I discovered it during Bob's Great New Bar Adventure of 2006, following the closing of my fave NYC bar Ye Olde Tripple Inn, (R.I.P.). Collins is now one of my 2 preferred dive bars in the city. There, we met up with the lovely Janet Taylor (our new road manager), Mickey (our FOH Engineer), and Adam (our Videographer).

The place was absolutely slam-packed. WTF???

Turns out the place is closing down. Not only are they closing, but tonight is THE LAST NIGHT. So every regular customer they've had in years is here tonight. I mean it's wall-to-wall. There's usually about 12-20 people when I'm here, but tonight it's like 150-175. I can't deal with it, so we all down our first beers and split for my other fave watering hole, Rudy's Bar & Grill on 9th Avenue, between 44th & 45th.

Rudy's has just instantly become my numero uno bar in the city. It actually has a much better jukebox than Collins Bar did, and they were both sorta tied for the title of Bob's Place. Now it stands alone. Speaking of the jukebox, it has everything from Willie Nelson to Marvin Gaye, Iggy Pop to Steely Dan.

There's a great patio out back, too – don't see too many of those in New York. But there's no music out there (gotta keep the neighbors happy), so we opt for a booth inside near the bar and the jukebox. The place is filled with 50's-style vinyl-upholstered booths, which have way more gray duct tape than red vinyl on them.

Funky but chic. You'd love it.

Oh, yeah, and they have FREE hot dogs. Yep, free. I don't eat 'em myself, but over the course of the night, everyone else I'm with will have a dog or two.

My buddy Jimmy Archey shows up. Jimmy doesn't drink, but he's a great hang – always fun to be around. The rest of us proceed to drink ourselves back to the Stone Age.

At midnight, I tell everyone that it's my birthday (no one knew, but I think Janet suspected) and we kick it up another notch. Shots of this and that come 'round and the night is rockin'.

At 1:05am, the time of my birth, I'm sitting there with a Budweiser in one hand, a shot of premium tequila in the other, and The Rolling Stones song "Sweet Virginia" is blasting out over the system. A perfect birthday moment!

By 3am, C.J and Jimmy have split and Janet's asleep sitting up, leaning on Mickey's shoulder. We grab a cab back across the river and call it a night.

Happy Birthday to ME!!!!!!

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