Monday, March 8, 2010

Pipers Pipes are Piping

After several $4 mimosas I still had some time to kill before the “St. Pat’s For All Parade” so I continued my journey of discovery westward towards a mass of barricades and balloon arches. Along my lazy stroll to the land of orange , green and white I overheard two police woman discussing the parade protestors that were gathering at the end of the block – hmm really. So I squared my shoulders, puffed out my chest and marched down the street to confront these exclusionary zealots. However once arriving at my destination I discovered to my surprise the colorful crowd at the end of the block was not a crew of hateful sour pusses but a party of practicing pipers and the most perfect troupe of traditional Irish dancers ever assembled for an “all inclusive” St. Patrick’s Day parade. These tiny tappers decked out perfectly in Celtic garb hailed from the Bronx and were the best African American Islamic step dancers ever to congregate on Skillman Ave. So with no anti-fun protesters in sight and the sounds of pipers piping at my back I returned eastward to stake out a perfect vantage spot along the parade route.

A few blocks down the sun drenched route I eyed the most excellent curb for parade viewing, super tall for good tusch to knee bend ratio with a slender patch of grass to aid in comfort….ahhh perfect. My fellow curbside attendees were adorable, young families decked out in green with babies in Aryan Island sweaters, silver headed grandparents seated in beach chairs festooned in tweed with clover pinned to their lapels, pretty boys and hipster girls frolicking with giant green mardi gras beads, this was a REAL hometown St. Patrick’s day. No drunken stupidity, no pushy “out of towners”, just a conglomerate of neighbors joined together to support…..everything.

Of course wherever there is fun, love, and open embracement of all things wonderful there has to be a villain…damn you villains! While I sat there basking in the sun and contemplating the comedic/heartwarming value of the Asian family across the street purchasing Irish flags and green bejeweled headbands this old hag appeared with two shopping bags bulging with signs proclaiming that the world would end because of the parade – or something like that. Dressed in a floor length black coat, orthotic shoes, and sporting reading glasses that covered ¾ of her face she quietly planted herself behind my line of curb dwellers and set out her cacophony of hatred. At first I thought I should move because I did not want to be mistaken for a supporter but then I decided to hold my ground and fight for my right to LIKE PEOPLE.

Her goolish troupe grew over the next 15 minutes, each one more ridiculous, grubby, and dismal. Some of my happy families removed themselves from the area (who wants their child sitting under a sign that says SODOMY!) but as they gently guided their babies westward their empty spaces were filled with the most spectacular crew of Chilean gays. HA - ha! Yep if you ever wondered how to combat a six member septuagenarian posse of gay bashers ship in a bus load of gay Latins – now that’s a party!
The parade finally started with Mayor Mike at the helm and the crowd was on their feet clapping, whistling, and yahooing for all the participants. Of course our feeble filth mongers tried to shout smut at the marchers but really….did they think they could compete with me and my gleeful loudmouth – HA! The louder they yelled their nastiness the louder we applauded and cheered. We even got two police officers assigned to our area who strategically stood directly in front of the grotesque signs blocking their sightline to the marchers. Whoops were they doing that? Thanks coppers! Their favorite cat call was “SHAME!” but they yelled it at everybody, they even yelled it at the yarmulke wearing bagpipe band from NYU. I couldn’t resist so I shouted, “Is it that NYU is shameful or that bagpiping is shameful cause now you are just confusing us? You should really just stick to one thing, screaming shame at everything is diluting your hate statement”. The Latin boys loved that. One of them yelled at the guy with the sodomy sign, “Oh you are very brave…having that sign in this crowd is dangerous”. And all was right with the world again.

As the parade went on we boogied with a Caribbean band, sang along with a New Orleans inspired brass ensemble, cheered for the throngs of pipers, and were totally entertained by a group of Mexican (?) dancers decked out in spangles, cowboy boots and sleigh bells. It was the best all inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade ever

I Love a Parade

Saturday night on my way to a canine quinceanera in Brooklyn I noticed my local boys in blue dumping a truck load of crowd control stanchions on my corner. This could only mean one of two things, Woodside ran out of Guinness and was about to riot or we were hosting a parade. Thank goodness it was the later.

After a few clicks on the ol’ blackberry I was quickly informed that Sunday marked the 11th year of the “Woodside/ Sunnyside St. Patrick’s for All Parade” – 11 years? Really? How have I NEVER attended this parade? It marches right up to my block, I’m a bad resident. However through deeper googleing I realized that not only is this a St. Patrick’s Day parade but it is also a GAY St. Patrick’s Day parade – bonus! (for more info )

Sunday was glorious. Warm sun, bright blue sky, just as if Spring decided to wake up and drool its yummy goodness all over NYC. I donned my green cardigan (that has become one with body since arriving at Hanukkah), green long sleeve T, green scarf and just before I slipped into my green penny loafers I paused and thought…. ehhh maybe too much and went with the black ballet flats. Restraint is something one does not find often in “theme” wardrobe choices however I try to retain a smattering of outer borough chic.

Down the 4 flights of stairs (which are currently dripping with black/ brown tar – what the F$#%^$^CK!?) and out into the wilds of Queens, I decided to take a little adventure apr├Ęs parade in hopes of discovering the mysteries of “Sunnyside Gardens”. You see during my Woodside parade fact finding google-fest I stumbled onto a blog that sang the praises of several eateries that coincidently lined the parade route so I thought – why not think global, act local – and hang a left at the end of block.

A few blocks into my Skillman Ave. discovery zone I realized that I lived just steps away from an entire enclave of hip “Williamsburg wannabees” and “Park Slope-ish” families who spend their Sundays lounging over the NY Times at cute cafes or amassing to brunch at comer bistros. It was like I discovered that the land of Oz was right outside my door (well really it was LEFT outside my door, but you know what I mean). I felt so good about my new (to me) neighborhood that I popped into Quaint, planted myself at the bar and ordered up a $4.00 mimosa.

While enjoying my afternoon libation, I was thinking about how cool it was that out of all the neighborhoods in all of the 5 boroughs it was MINE that hosted the All Inclusive (and homosexual) St. Pat’s parade. I mean really, its blue color Woodside we are talking about here, with a HUGE Catholic Irish (off the boat) population, not your usual demographic for openly embracing diversity. Yet as I sat at the bar embracing my adoptive Queens hometown peeps my inner glow was quickly dimmed when to my dismay I discovered through some blackberry googeling, blogs/ web postings that spewed hatred and ugliness regarding the upcoming festivities. Really people, thanks for the gray cloud. But my Parade Sunday could not be ruined that easily, this news only reinvigorated my Irish/ Woodside spirit with the hope that I alone would emanate so much good cheer and joy that I would negate any and all who arrived to rain on my Big Gay Irish Queens Parade!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A tale of two stories

Just when I think I own the rights to the life ridiculous Swason comes along and one ups me.
This past Valentine's Day after receiving a 10 minute heads up from my long term booty call I was frantically shoveling three
days worth of dirty laundry into my closets, hiding the boxes of take out Chinese leftovers and attempting to rid my body of all offending hair that had accumulated since returning from Florida in mid – January. While double fisting my Barbasol and Lady Gillette, “The Flight of the Bubble Bees” screamed through my cranium. However while I was the lead player in my very own version of Beat The Clock (booty edition) little did I know Swason was just a few miles away spending a way too sober evening at a fondue party going toe to toe with a drunken douchebag. Swason, the ever emphatic competitor, had been reduced to a frustrated party goer when she was forced into participating in what may have been the lamest party gaming experience ever. Meanwhile back in my apartment with the clock ticking down and still half covered in shaving cream I quickly realized that I would have to opt for dim lighting and creative slight of hand to redirect attention from my hot-messness. Now back to Swason – after a few apathetic rounds of the party game, “Challenge”, Swason’s nemesis announced, “It’s time for a push up contest!!!” What the what? What kind of grown man says this? But the odd thing is, nobody stopped him or even suggested that the living room of a one bedroom Astoria apartment during a fondue party may not be the best venue for such a competition. Over in Woodside with my head full of shampoo and ¼ of my left leg still fuzzy my phone rang….really? I didn’t even try to grab it, no time… NO TIME!! But it kept ringing…ughhhh so I slopped my way out of the bathroom and across the living room praying that I wouldn’t short out my phone as I pressed the speaker button and yelled “YES!?”. Faintly my Booty Call’s voice traveled up from my blackberry, “Hey I’m here”, I feigned enthusiasm, “Ok great, come on up”, he responded, “Ummm I can’t, I’m in the taxi and I Umm…I don’t have my wallet”. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Swason’s got a guy challenging a group of melted cheese laden drunkards to a pushup contest and I got my Booty Call phoning me from the street begging me to bail him out of a $26 cab ride. Now as if this could not get any better (better may not be the correct word choice) as Swason’s iron man prepped for his first set he announced, “Ok are we gonna do this thing, or what?! Cause if we are gonna do this, let’s do it the RIGHT WAY!!!” and as he finished his battle cry he kicked off his shoes and removed his PANTS. Yes, now Swason was attending a fondue party in Queens with a man competing against an imaginary foe in a pushup contest while only wearing boxer briefs.
Flash-forward to 1am, I was biding adieu to my paramour and 17 more dollars so he could get his
sorry broke ass home (did I just pay for a male prostitute?) while Swason was held hostage in her hosts’ kitchen because the duchebag had positioned himself directly between Swason and the apartment door while engaged in a full on knock down screaming match with the hostess. But Swason, forever pragmatic, helpful, and a preeminent avoider of conflict turned her focus on a sink full of dirty dishes and for the next hour washed every last dish.
And that is how 2 single thirty somethings spent St. Valentine's Day 2010 under the bright lights of the big city.