[Originally published here, February 2011]
I took this photograph when I was in New York last week, back in my old neighborhood…
I’d stumble in there late-at-night a few times a week. Great hamburgers.
Jeff would pour me a drink. Maker’s Mark on the rocks.
Jeff was a photographer. Nice guy. Great bartender. He liked my cartoons. I’d show him the new ones. He’d tell me which ones he liked.
I liked Jeff. We had a rapport. This was before I was ever published. This was long before blogging or Web 2.0.
This was when I was still unknown. A nobody. A goofball nobody in a tweed jacket, who would sit at the end of the bar for hours on end, doodling on the back of business cards for no reason.
So the Saturday I was in New York last week, I walk into The Corner Bistro, again.
Jeff was working; he’s still there. He’s married and has a kid now. He’s got a regular job doing something, but tends bar once a week for the hell of it.
He remembered me!
I give him a signed copy of Ignore Everybody [I had brought one with me, with the express intention of giving it to him], the book that was inspired by my days when I lived in New York- my lazy weekends in the West Village, my Saturday afternoons at the Corner Bistro, enjoying a drink, watching the cabs through the window, driving up Hudson, as Charlie Parker played on the best jukebox in Manhattan.
It as really good to see Jeff again. It had been over a decade. It felt like coming home. It was nice to be able to say to somebody from the old ‘hood, “Yeah. I made it. Finally.”
“This is an awesome New York story,” he said.
He’s right. It is.
Thank you, Jeff. Thank you, New York. Seriously…
Down the street from where I used to live in New York, there was this cute little bookshop I went to all the time, called The Biogaphy Bookshop. It was a very special place, like an old curiosity shop in a Nora Ephron movie.
It’s no longer there, at least, not at that current location. Like everythig else in the West Village, it’s been replaced by a big brand name. Progress, Baby.