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Thursday, July 05, 2012


Last Wednesday marked my 47th birthday and I spent it having a blast with the lovely Tracey — known to longtime readers of this blog as "Tracey the waitress goddess" from my barbecue joint days — and the mighty Jovie, who's a relatively recent addition to my life's cast of notables, but he's a damned good one whom I hope will be around for a long while. I usually have a party with as many of my fellow reprobates as possible at the lovely 5th Avenue dive that was O'Connor's, but they recently closed for renovations that will turn that once-cozy and dirt-cheap establishment into a soulless sports bar, the better to capitalize on what's sure to be the crowds spilling over from the totally unwanted and unnecessary sports stadium that's being built in the neighborhood's Atlantic Avenue/Flatbush Avenue area (and consequently resulting in an intersection that's best described as a traffic nightmare). So, since O'Conner's wasn't gonna happen and since Way Station — the bar with the full-size and accurate TARDIS replica bathroom — has live music booked on weekends and I prefer for my party guests to be able to audibly converse with one another, this year I opted to take Tracey up on her suggestion of a more intimate evening with just me, her, and Jovie, and I'm quite pleased that I did.

The crest heralding Freddie's. Any place that features drunken wolves as its sigil is okay by me.

The evening began at the re-located Freddie's, a bar that used to be in the area where , and I was surprised to find that cult-favorite hole-in-the-wall's distinctive flavor gene-spliced with a decent Irish pub without turning all douchey. After killing time waiting for Tracey by finishing reading A GAME OF THRONES, the goddess herself showed up and the evening's boozed-up mayhem began in earnest.

Tracey arrives.

As it was my birthday, at no point during the night did I have to shell out one red cent for food or libations (thanks to the limitless kindness of Tracey and Jovie), and much beer and tequila was consumed on my part. The booze was definitely quite nice but the thing that made the evening truly spectacular was the company of my two friends. As many of you know, Tracey and I met during the barbecue joint days (now seven years ago) and our meeting of minds and spirits was almost instantaneous, leading to a bond that remains powerful to this day. I truly adore Tracey in every way possible, so any time spent with her is gold.

Tracey and Jovie: two strong arguments against the need for the immediate extermination of the human race as a species.

Jovie entered my life thanks to him working with Tracey at a bar where I used to run movie nights every Sunday evening, and he is the perfect complement to Tracey's excellence. Smart, funny as hell and person who simply exudes "good," Jovie is a stand-up guy who's one of the most fun people you could possibly hang with at a pub.

Anyway, Jovie showed up about twenty minutes after Tracey and joined us in marinading our livers and brains.

As Tracey snapped a photo of myself and her with her phone, Jovie photobombed the image with his stiff middle finger, yet in the finished photo it looks like a support beam.

Following about an hour and a half of fun and enlightening conversation as we got our drink on, we retired to Suki, the Japanese restaurant two doors down the street, and took seats. The place was about forty minutes away from closing but once the staff found out we were restaurant/bar people, they treated us really nicely and totally hooked us up. (It was also not much of a hassle for them because there was no one else in the place except for the three of us.) We sucked down individual bottles of hot sake and devoured surprisingly good sushi dishes — the area's Japanese eateries in the area are not known for their quality — and I definitely have to return to the place for another round of their Magical Roll.

The most excellent Magical Roll, comprised of eel, avocado, tuna and rice.

And after Tracey told the waitress it was my birthday, the kitchen prepared me a sushi substitute for birthday cake! (I've never been as into sweets as most of the general populace, so this was cool with me.)

The surprise in lieu of a cake.

After our meal, the three of us wandered west in search of a pub on 7th Avenue called Cafe Steinhof, but first Jovie took the time to prove in no uncertain terms that one does not buy beer, one rents it.

The journey to 7th Avenue yielded posters of visual interest,

a bag of assorted intriguing books, and this vintage car:

This automotive relic inspired a round of silly drunken posing with it, for example:

And this cheeky simultaneous beautification and desecration of the collector's item chariot:

We eventually stumbled to Cafe Steinhof and I was immediately put at ease by the very cute bartender named Danielle (who in no small way resembled Danielle Fischel, aka Topanga from BOY MEETS WORLD), and also by a huge tin placard featuring my favorite Teutonic songstress, the mighty Nina Hagen, whom I have dug since I was fifteen.

As we settled in for more rounds of tasty paint thinner, mine and Tracey's former barbecue joint colleague Shun happened by and noticed me at the bar, so he wandered in to say "hey."

Shun, Tracey, and Jovie.

Shun's a sweet and fun soul who's also a massive comic book geek — he's a major Thor booster — so we always have a good time when we get together.

Unfortunately, Shun had to leave and the hour was getting later than any of us anticipated being out until, so I bade Tracey and Jovie good morrow and thanked them profusely for making my birthday a true blast. By the time we left, it was somewhere around 2am and I figured it would be a good idea to walk the sixteen blocks home in an effort to burn off some of the considerable amount of beer and tequila I'd imbibed. As I walked, the empty expanse of 7th Avenue reminded me of the barren New York City as seen in the film THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL (1959).

Before I called it a night, I wandered down the insanely overpriced, high-end 24-hour convenience store near me on 4th Avenue and hoped to find something to snack on. I had no luck in that department because nothing I saw caught my fancy, but I had to take a photo of a bottle of a delicious brand of chocolate milk that I sometimes buy at the Associated supermarket just around the corner from my apartment. It sells for $3.50 at the regular supermarket, but at the high-end convenience store they see fit to mark it up by one penny shy of another $2.50.

"Fuck that," sez me.

And though that was it for my actual birthday, I'm of the firm belief that one's birthday can be celebrated for at least two full weeks, especially as one endures middle age, so there will be more to come. STAY TUNED.


Acroyear said...

It looks like much fun was had by all Sir Bunche. I absolutely love your birthday cake!

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