A friend and I were talking the other day and it reminded me of Dan in NYC.
I was living on the Upper West Side and working for Hertz at the time. Dan was driving a U-Haul truck into Manhattan to help friends of his close out their aunt’s apartment in Tudor Village. As luck would have it, it was April 1, 1980 – the first day of the NYC transit strike.
I was supposed to meet Dan at Tudor Village and we would all go to dinner. The guys were all sleeping on the floor of my “studio” apartment. Let’s be very clear. The apartment was a furnished one room, a bathroom and a small closet with a refrigerator, a hot plate, cabinets wall-to-wall with a stainless counter. There was enough room on the floor for three guys but only if the all rolled over as one unit and I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night.
I get over to Tudor Village – luckily my boss was going to the East side and dropped me off. I go in and ask for Dan. The man at the front desk has no idea who I’m talking about. I explained who the were and what they were doing and the man said “They went to Woodstock. George took them to Woodstock.”
My first thought was that it sounded like the giant from Bugs Bunny saying “Take them to the basement, George. Tie them up in the basement.” My next thought was “What the hell is he doing up at Woodstock and why didn’t he tell me?”
At that moment Dan walked in and I found out I wasn’t all the far off. Woodstock was Tudor Village’s storage area – essentially it was the basement.
Once we get into the van and drive to the West Side we start trying to find a place to park the sucker. Because of the strike no one was allowing vans to park. We finally found a place in a lot parking area instead of a parking garage. As luck would have it, we were right across from the Landmark Tavern. After dinner we got a cab to my apartment.
There we were, three young men and one young woman, standing on the curb in NYC, hailing a cab. Dan asked how this was done; did they come to a cab stop or what? I stepped off the curb, threw my arm in the air and yelled “YO!” A cab pulled right over but the guys had all jumped back, startled.
As we were going up the avenue Dan asked if that was Lincoln Center. The cabbie and I laughed. He said “It said ‘Parking for Lincoln Center’.” And it was – a parking garage for people going to Lincoln Center two blocks east.
Dan and his buddies decided to walk to the Empire State Building and look around the City; did I want to go along? I was so beat I declined but gave him my number in case he had any problems.
Later I got a call. Dan was near Rockefeller Center but couldn’t find the skating rink and Atlas. I found out he was across 5th from St. Pat’s. I knew the bank of phones there. I told him to turn with his back to St. Pat’s and walk until the railing stopped them. He turned around and started to laugh pretty hard because there it was!