RAMBLING IN WOODSTOCK
Day Two - July 30, 2011
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Saturday morning we departed from our sweet Chelsea digs, caught the #1 train at 23rd St and 7th Ave to 42nd St station. The 7 line to Grand Central was under construction, so we had to catch a different shuttle train across town. Some nice subway cop ladies buzzed us back in the gate without having to pay again. While following the maze of tunnels, I spotted Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo scurrying down the hall. At Grand Central, we quickly bought tickets and just made the 11:40 Metro North train to Poughkeepsie. The train went through the Bronx and we caught a tiny glimpse of Yankee Stadium, and then we were right alongside the truly scenic Hudson River for the rest of the trip.
We caught a cab at the historic Poughkeepsie train station and drove 3 miles to pick up a rental car at Avis on IBM road. We drove across the Mid-Hudson Bridge, saw the Hudson Walkway and caught Hwy 9 N to Kingston. A friendly local in a pickup led us over the old iron bridge to Wurts St. We pulled up in front of one of a few old churches on the block. It took a few minutes to figure out the gate latch, but once we were in the beautiful courtyard, it was obvious we had found a very special place on airbnb.com. Peter and Julie welcomed us graciously into their converted chapel space and we rested for a few minutes after a brief home tour. Our corner loft room had high ceilings and gorgeous stained glass windows.
After a quick detour to the Rondout Creek strand of restaurants by the water near the chapel, we decided to wait and eat later. We took Hwys 28 and 375 into the Woodstock Village, where we parked and walked around for awhile. We stopped at the Bread Alone bakery and admired the Elliot Landy autographed album cover photos. We ate at the Landau Grill across the street, where Julie got a voicemail saying our Hotel Chelsea rooms reserved for Sunday night had been canceled due to the sudden sale of the property. We walked to a couple of hippie memorabilia shops and took a photo on the steps of a former bakery that also appears in the Landy collection. The famed photographer had extended an invitation to meet with us but there was not time to devote a proper amount of time so we declined until the next trip.
FREEWHEELIN' IN NEW YORK
Day One - July 29, 2011
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I have been wanting to cross Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble in Woodstock off of my to do list for many years now, and Julie also had some relatives she has never met in New York, so we decided to just pull the trigger on a weekend excursion. We have both been busy with work and gigs, but we did manage to make some well-researched last minute travel arrangements and reservations.
We got the flight and concert tickets confirmed, and on Thursday night after work I finished off a detailed itinerary of classic dive bars and dining so we wouldn't waste any of our short time in the area. I mapped it out on Google so we could walk a clearly laid out route from Grand Central Station to Chelsea and into Greenwich Village and cover some cool points of interest along the way.
On Friday we left Austin on a 6am American Airlines flight. It connected in Dallas and was delayed on the runway for an hour. We landed at La Guardia around 2pm and caught the NYCAirporter shuttle to Grand Central. The first stop was for some big meaty sandwiches at Bloom's Deli at 40th and Lexington Ave. From there we walked down 42nd street to Times Square and had a quick beer at Jimmy's Corner, a tiny bar and boxing shrine near W 44th st and 6th Ave.
We caught the #1 subway to 28th st and 7th Ave and walked to our airbnb.com apartment, which turned out to be a sleek and swanky loft with big picture windows over a courtyard on 23rd st. After a brief pit stop there, we walked west, past the Upright Citizen theatre to 10th Ave, where we climbed the stairs to the High Line parkway, a lushly landscaped new terrace park built on an obsolete rail line with great modern architecture and indigenous greenery.
At 15th street, we went down to the Chelsea Market, where there are rows of new fancy bakeries, wine stores and upscale organic markets, with an amazing classic rock photography exhibition by Dick Waterman. From there we walked down Eighth avenue to the White Horse Tavern, and drank a pint to its most famous patron Dylan Thomas.
We took W. 4th St east from there to Jones St, and took a picture on the same block as the cover of Freewheelin', while the rain started to sprinkle down. We saw Dylan and Suze's first apartment at 161 W. 4th St., saw Cafe Wha, the site of Dylan's first time on stage in NYC, at 115 Macdougal and 3rd st. We went past Dylan’s 70s era Apartment at 94 MacDougal and then watched a band set up at the Gaslight Cafe at 116 MacDougal St. We stopped in to the Little Lebowski shop, and then we headed down Bleecker St past the Bitter End, detoured north a couple of blocks to Washington Square Park, and then east to Bleecker and Bowery, the former site of CBGB, now a John Varvatos boutique boot store.
We walked north past the Great Jones soul food cafe, which was too crowded to attempt, and turned onto St. Mark's Place. We stopped and took pictures of the Physical Graffiti building at 96 E. 8th, and then dined at Odessa on Ave A at 7th. From there we walked around Tompkins Square Park, saw a Joe Strummer mural and some supersize rodents, and found the Lakeside Lounge at 10th and Ave. B where we met old pal Jonny Myers for a drink and watched the band for a few songs. We walked past the Horseshoe Bar to Manitoba's where we admired the endless collection of punk era photos. Austin poster legend Billy Bishop appeared out of nowhere and tipped us off that DJ Johnathan Toubin was spinning at his own New York Night Train birthday party all night at a club on Houston St.
We stopped into Joe's Bar, but the jukebox playing Santana wasn't living up to its honkytonk reputation, so we walked past the closed Porchetta sandwich place on E. 7th and decided to grab dessert at the dusky and romantic Frank on 2nd ave at 5th st. We called to get on the list at Please Don't Tell, the secret St. Mark's social club, but they never got back to us. As we crossed Houston St and walked up to the throng of hipsters at the door of Home Sweet Home, DJ Toubin came out and grabbed us and showed us through the door. We danced to the old school 45s in the basement and cooled off in the white brick lodge room and art gallery upstairs, before heading back to Chelsea on the F train. Walking back to the apartment we ducked into O'Reilly's pub on W. 31st to use the facilities and then we walked back to 26th St and called it a night.
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