Monday, June 26, 2006

Dusty 'Deli' Bottoms

Where to start? I mean I take a few days off from writing and the ideas, stories, and events just seem to pile up faster than I can get them written. I wish I wrote every day, I do, however, late evenings, early meetings, and just about everything else in between are usually what keeps me from sticking to a strict schedule.

Let’s take Wednesday evening for example. It’s hump day, the week is more than half way over and you can smell the weekend off I the distance so why not partake in some after work cocktails.

I suppose ‘cocktails’ really isn’t the being honest though. I mean after all, I was going to a Yankee game. Who in their right mind orders a ‘cocktail’ while witnessing America’s Past Time? No one, or at least no self respecting straight male.

First pitch was set to be at 7:10 which meant most people were going to try and dart out of the office right around 5 to make sure they had enough time to have a few beers before entering the stadium. Now, what made this Yankee game different from the ones before it, was that it was in Staten Island. Yeah, that’s right Staten Island, NY. Staten Island is the 5th and most often forgotten borough of New York City.

This beautiful Wednesday night my friends and I made our way downtown by way of the 4 train to the most southern stop, then walk to the ferry station to enjoy what would be a truly “only in New York story!”

The Staten Island Yankees are one the New York Yankees minor league teams. That basically means that every single player on the field was younger than me. A trend I’m starting to notice every time I watch a professional sport of any kind…

We made our way to the front of the ferry so as I would get to see every bit of the twenty minute ride from our Island to another. However, before making our way to the bow (I think that’s the proper nautical term) we grabbed beers. The “Snack and Shop,” a lovely little counter of convenience where you could purchase popcorn, peanuts, hot dogs older than me, and of all things, Miller Lite!

With Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty seen off to the right we cruised along with beers in hand, sunglasses still on, and a site straight ahead the looked like a mini baseball stadium. The ride was beautiful and something I suggest all New Yorkers do at least one time. (One time is enough, trust me)

It was a short walk to the stadium where we met another group of friends. Now with a full view of lower Manhattan, more beers, and ball park dogs, I knew this was going to be a great evening.

The game was exciting and extremely entertaining with our mini-yankees scoring 6 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to hold on to a 7-6 victory over the fierce Brooklyn Cyclones. Post game beers were held at a bar across the stadium with yet another amazing view of the city we now realized we needed to get back to…

The large group of friends that had cheered, yelled, and drank together at the game decided to split up once we made it back to our island. I found myself in a usual position though, the 5th wheel. (once you’ve been the 3rd wheel for so long, being the 5th wheel is like a walk in Central Park)

“Now where?” someone asked. “Beats the hell out of me, I have no idea what’s around this part of the city” was my reply. After all, being near the financial district after 9pm is like being in a very well constructed ghost town.

“How about a strip club/lounge, there’s one just a few blocks away from here,” one of the ladies suggested.

I’m not a huge fan of these types of establishment. I love spending money, don’t get me wrong, but not on clothes I can’t wear, meals I can’t eat…Well you get where I’m going with this!

However, a robust “yeah, that sounds perfect” came from the other two gentlemen, so off we were, off to an experience and a story I will never forget.

After the before mentioned ‘few blocks’ we were there…Now I’m not saying judging a book by it’s cover is a logical thing to do, however judging a strip club by it’s exterior makes perfect sense.

It was not a Scottsdale or Vegas like establishment, it didn’t even look like it belong in New York City. But nonetheless we were standing outside about to enter when we heard, “10 bucks a person!”

“Alright, that was a good idea, oh well, maybe next time” I muttered as the two couples decided to go into the deli next door to get a late night snack. (or so I thought)

I was standing outside, I’m sure sending a drunk text message when my buddy came out of the deli and said, “Come with me right now.”

“No, I’m not hungry, I don’t want anything.”

“Shut up, follow me, you’re not going to believe this, come with me right now!”

“Alright fine, I’ll go.”

As we walked through the deli it looked a like a million other delis in the city…Long glass cases of food on the left, the smell of bacon hanging heavily in the air, and a TV with terribly bad reception playing in the background.

However, the similarities to every other deli stopped just a few feet short of the back door. A back door that in itself looked a bit sketchy. Most people would have probably stopped at this point. Oh no, not use though we kept right on going…

On the other side of this door was a different world. Gone were the bad florescent lights and smell of cold cuts. The title floor had ended on the other side of the door and given way to a beat up wooden floor. The background noise that was the TV on the deli side of the door was now some slow hip hop song.

“Where in the fuck are we” looks were strewn across all of our faces. Did we just end up in a speak easy-like strip club only accessible by walking through a deli? Was this place part of the establishment next door? Was this place legal? Was this place going to be where we die? All valid questions racing through our minds faster than the stripper’s ass bouncing on the crouch of the guy sitting next to us.

I mean, I’ve heard you have to diversify to be successful but this is ridiculous…

“Um, hi yeah. Can I get roast beef on rye with mayo, lettuce, and tomato? Oh, and a lap dance too? Thanks!”

We all continued to laugh, drink, and look around with amazement as it was all too surreal! The lighting was bad, the bar was probably filthy, and the ladies were definitely the C squad…However, the staff was polite, the drinks were cold and cheap, all of which made for another full chapter in the stories of ‘Only in New York.’

I would tell you the rest of the story but you know the rules…What happens in the deli stays in the deli!

Thanks for listening

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