Wet Kiss on Second Avenue

My new job has me completely buried in the weeds. It’s a workload I’ve not experienced for a long time. I’m also trying to figure out the politics and personalities. I’m overwhelmed and exhausted. I don’t have time for a proper post so in the meantime, here’s another bon mot from my old journals. As usual, I make no apologies, etc., etc. The usual disclaimers.


August 7, 1992

I took Cindy out. She’s always my last resort when nobody else is around. I wonder if she realizes that? Knowing her, she probably does and doesn’t care. The theater, a couple margaritas at Mary Ann’s and then kissing in the shadows on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 3rd Street. Her kisses are really wet and slippery. Over drinks, she said she’s sad that she’s back in the same boat with Laura that caused them to break up in the first place. She thought it’d be different this time but it isn’t. It never is, is it? Listening to people talk about their relationships makes me glad I’m not in one. They seem like such a burden.

We were out last weekend bar hopping and listening to bands and Laura was following us around on her bike from a half block away. We’d walk into a bar with Laura watching from across the street and when we’d leave, she’d still be there. Then we’d walk up Avenue B to the next bar and she’s peddle slowly from a distance. Cindy was laughing at her but I felt kind of bad. I hope Laura doesn’t stab me or anything.

After we kissed for a while I asked her to come over tomorrow night to watch the Presidential debates. I remember watching the last set of debates four years ago with that girl from Nottingham. The one with the smelly feet. What the hell was her name? Her feet smelled like a litter box but I didn’t care because of that accent. I loved how she said my name. Maahhhk.

Cindy just called. She can’t come over for the debates because she was able to book time in the recording studio. So that’s that. Her stuff is really good. I hope she makes it. [Note: She didn’t.]

September 18, 1992

I was alone tonight and happy for it. I went to Cafe Mogador on St. Mark’s place. I had a bowl of split pea soup and then a cappuccino. I watched the pretty girls come and go. I’m invisible to them.

A few days ago, while walking down 2nd Avenue, some guy asked me for a dime for bus fare. The bus was approaching and all he needed was 10 cents but I didn’t give it to him. I felt terrible afterwards. A lousy dime! What the hell’s the matter with me?! So I made a commitment to be more generous. More humane.

Tonight, a derelict was sitting in the middle of the sidewalk with an empty coffee cup in his hand asking for handouts. I dug into my pocket and threw some change in. At the last second, I saw that my ONLY subway token fell into the cup. I asked him, “Can I have my token back? It’s my ride home.” He said, “Sure!,” dumped the contents into his hand, picked out my token and gave it back to me. He joked that even though he doesn’t have a home, he didn’t want to prevent me from getting to mine. We both laughed about it. So I feel a little more human tonight.


To celebrate my new yob, I had dinner with my lawyer pal, Rob, at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. It’s a genuine piece of Olde World New York. A landmark. It opened in 1913 when Grand Central Station opened. The vaulted, Guastavino ceilings made of off-white tiles are a distinctive architectural flourish.

photo 2 (2)Who knew there were so many different types of oysters in the world?! The menu changes all the time, even as the evening progresses.

photo 1 (3)We usually order a dozen from the east coast and a dozen from the west. More if we’re still hungry. In honor of my having recently scaled Mt. Sons and Lovers, I chose the Lady Chatterley’s. They were succulent and delicious. The trick is to not drown them in horseradish, lemon or cocktail sauce. The flavors are subtle and you can lose them if you’re not careful.

75 thoughts on “Wet Kiss on Second Avenue

  1. Lady Chatterley’s oyster sounds kinda dirty…glad you enjoyed them!

    I like the story about the subway token and the change. People acting like humans, who knew?

    • LOL! You’re right! I didn’t realize that. Hummm…back to The Oyster Bar, methinks.

      Do you know that today, all these years later, I still beat myself up about not giving that guy the dime. Because that’s how I roll.

  2. “He joked that even though he doesn’t have a home, he didn’t want to prevent me from getting to mine.”—I love that. A good deed on both your parts.

    I wish you continued success with your breaking-in period. It, too, shall pass.

  3. I’m glad your new employers are rough. That’s what it takes to win, as long as they have integrity. You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you’re pushed. The expectation of excellence is the only way to achieve it. You’ll do fine Mark, and I’m sure it won’t be easy. Hang in there!

    Your piece from your journals is awesome – it is so real I can feel the street grit between my teeth. The beggars were very real – I’ve done that myself: refused to give a small amount and then felt guilty. I recall exiting the parking lot of a liqour store with a friend – Penny – one day, when I was approached by a young beggar. I refused to give him anything and Penny got pissed at me, told the young man to come to her side of the car and gave him $5. When we had left, I challenged her and asked why she would give money to a beggar outside a liqour store when it was obvious he was going to spend it on liquor. She just smiled and said that she gave because he asked, and what he chose to do with it was his business. She was right.

    • When I first got to NYC, I used to carry a bunch of quarters in my pocket and just dole them out as I walked around. It got to be too much. The homeless were everywhere so I hardened my heart and they became invisible to me. It’s a defense mechanism that a lot of people employ. But eventually I woke up and interacted with them again. They’re just people caught in a bad way.

  4. Honestly, that oyster menu reads kind of like medical marijuana dispensary’s. (My personal reaction at both places would be – wow, so many choices, so little interest to try any.)
    I think you may need to re-date the entry – I don’t think they were still having the presidential debates in 1993. 🙂 Although, of course, we’re in 2014 and people are still debating the 2008 election.

      • I can vouch for all grass not tasting the same, you can definitely tell the difference from one to the next but let’s face it i’m really only after the end result anyway and these days they all have catchy names, the branding of the counter-culture, i’m sure somewhere there’s a post in here i’m to lazy to write but i find it interesting that the strategies of Madison Ave have seeped all the way down, Tangerine, Sour Diesel and Purple Nurple being the last three to cross paths with this derelict. The first is like Zeppelin, the middle a bit more Ozzy-era Black Sabbath and the last early Butthole Surfers…

      • I’ve never been able to buy into the weed connoisseur culture. I’ve had them taste different but, contrary to popular belief, they’ve always delivered the exact same result for me: paranoia and a racing mind. That’s why I left it behind. Last seen in a bag if shitty Mex bought off Bagley Rd.

  5. Bon mot from the diary…there’s something about these “fillers” as you call them that can teach some of us how to write.

    Hope the settling-in is not too brutal.

  6. I like to alternate oysters between plain and dressed. though the last one is always plain.
    We found a great mussel place out in Garden City. gonna have to make another trip soon.

    Glad the new job is going well!

    • I try different garnishments on my oysters. Just horseradish on one. Cocktail sauce on the next. If you and your lovely bride ever want to meet at The Oyster Bar, just say the word.

      I’m not a fan of mussels or clams. But oysters? Yes, please.

  7. Hello Maaahhk. Did you like that, huh, huh? Those tiles in Grand Central are so pretty. I liked you story about the token dropping into the cup! You made it through your first work week at your new job. Congrats!! I hope you load lightens soon.

    • Stop it. You’re killing me. British accents are my weakness. I fall for them the way some men fall for a healthy bosom.

      I should have posted a few more pics or The Oyster Bar. The place is just beautiful. One of the backdrops on Saturday Night Live is patterned after The Oyster Bar.

  8. Are you saying that you stole Cindy away from her lesbian lover? Man, you ought to be horsewhipped for that! Why didn’t you suggest a threesome instead? All three of you should have tasted the Lady Chatterley.

    • Alright. First of all that was pretty goddamn funny. Second, nobody steals Cindy away from anyone. She’s still a good friend, I’m glad to say, and she does what she wants and isn’t steered by ANYONE. That woman dances to her own tune. She always has.

  9. I always like your excerpts from the past. They have a real street-level vibe.
    One question: what presidential elections were you watching in 93? Kept them on VHS?

    • As Mr. X pointed out above, that’s a typo. The year was 1992 and the combatants were Bill Clinton and Geo. Bush the Senior. Clinton was a masterful debater. I don’t have them on tape but thanks to our old pal the internet, I’m sure they’re readily available.

      I get lost when selecting something from my journals to post. There’s a lot there that’s meaningful to me but would bore everyone to tears. Hit rate fail.

  10. Ah, good luck with the ongoing settling in the new job Maahhhk. Great diary excerpts, and I love how everyone is correcting you on the date! Hehe. September 18th is my birthday and I turned 22 that day. That’s a great story about the homeless guy and the subway token.

    I’ve never really had oysters, not properly, I’ve had them baked in some way at a restaurant, and I tried one raw on the half-shell at a Vegas seafood buffet, but I’m not sure they were the best oysters and I didn’t really know what I was doing (swallow? chew?). So I don’t feel I’ve properly experienced them in the way that you should. I love seafood so I’m sure I would like them. I really have no excuse though, I live only half an hour’s drive from a town called Whitstable which is famous for its oysters, they have an annual oyster festival, hey maybe I’ll go this year!

    Ooh, speaking of Vegas, I meant to ask you on your last post how Atlantic City compares to Vegas Maahhhk?

    • Where do you stand on clams and mussels? I can’t stand either, although I love oysters. Please don’t say that’s nonsense. I know it is.

      Vegas is a superior city but getting out there is a major time and $$$ commitment. Atlantic City is just :90 minutes down the Garden State Parkway. AC has the ocean going for it. That’s a plus. It’s nice to take a break from all the festivities and walk in the boardwalk or look at the ocean. Try doing THAT in Vegas!

      • I love mussels, I do like clams too except they’re sometimes prone to having gritty bits of sand (or at least I hope it’s sand) in them which puts me off a bit.

        Ah yes, 90 mins vs traveling across to the other side of the country makes sense as a choice! Vegas does have Lake Mead just outside it (which is where I went jetskiing on my 30th birthday), but I agree that you can’t beat an ocean!

      • When I was in my 20s my alcoholic friends and I used to make an annual springtime pilgrimage to Vegas. It was glorious. One by one they all dropped off. Marriage. Debt. Jobs. Rehab. Now I rarely go anymore. It’s bloody tragic in my mind.

        Is there a lake near Vegas? All I ever saw was the inside of a (at that time) smoke-filled casino.

  11. Maahhhk, everytime you post a diary entry, you take me a trip down memory lane. I love it.

    Did you know that Cafe Mogador is still considered one of the best brunch spots in downtown NY? I read a review recently. Love that place. A real bang for the buck.

    The grandiose architecture always feel like I’m on a movie set when I’m in Grand Central. “She rushes towards the train, glancing backwards at her lover, who takes one last slurp of his oyster, while looking at her sadly”

    What band was Cindy in? I had a friend named Cindy who was in a band. She had a boyfriend and wasn’t a lesbian, but then again, nobody was anything and everybody just did what they wanted with whomever they wanted. That was the East Village.

    • Is Cafe Mogador still open?! God, I hope so. Fun fact: the woman in the mural on the wall outside and the woman in the mural on that Asian restaurant on 2nd and 8th (I forget the name) is the same person!

      Cindy had her own band in her name but she was also affiliated with Fang Records. Did you know those guys? Chris Rael. Life in a Blender. 101 Crustaceans. Very Pleasant Neighbor. etc.

      I wonder if out paths ever crossed? Not likely but fun to think about.

      • Nope. Not the same Cindy.

        I think I was there a bit later than you. But I wouldn’t be surprised if our paths crossed. Were you still there in the 90’s?

        Yep, Cafe Mogador is alive and well and flourishing with postive reviews. I met a friend in the East Village for brunch a few weeks ago. We didn’t end up there, but I had checked into brunch places, and that was a recommended one.

        Damn! Now I’m hungry…

  12. I love reading bits of your past, sweet pea! But, I have to admit that when you started talking about oysters, I went off into my own orgasmic throws of delight with visions of every succulent morsel that ever slide down my throat! *sigh* xoxoxoxo

  13. I really like the old journal entries from your past. If I’m reading this correctly, you were going out with this gal every now and again who was trying to make her lesbian ex jealous by making out with you? Awesome.

  14. I like how your journals show how you grew… and made you humane. Never throw them out!
    I have vivid memories of seemingly irrelevant moments that shaped my thinking.
    Good luck with the job… it’ll be like water off a duck’s back in a few weeks time.

    • I like how my journals show what an insensitive clod I was. Calling a good friend because there wasn’t anyone else available?! That’s a terrible thing to say. Also, kissing someone who was already in a teetering relationship wasn’t very nice, either. But…I was young.

      • Ha, Ha!! I was taken by the good bits! You are glaring at the bad! Maybe we both need a bit of balance?!

  15. Aha, I see you got the job. Congrats! I’ve been MIA for too long on the blogosphere and people have had the audacity to go on with their lives and do things I now know nothing about– new jobs, relationships, countries to live in. It’s all rather inconsiderate when I’ve been so busy.

    I liked the bus token tidbit… and the girl following along at a distance on her bike. The pre-internet “find my iPhone” GPS stalking of the 90s.

    • How nice if you to drop in! Ah, yes. New work. Old work. It’s all a blob. The only difference (albeit, it’s a big one) is that new work is with benefits.

      You can walk down a street in New York and peculiarities throw themselves in your path. It’s an unending parade of oddities and potential blog posts.

  16. I agree on the oysters, but I love the condiments. Everytime I’m in NYC, the taste of oysters seems so perfect. They never disappoint. I don’t know why that is.

    I feel bad for the girl who didn’t make it with the band, because you wrote it in a way to make me feel bad about it. Can’t I just steal your memories and entries and slap them into a story as the guts of some reminiscence? I think that would work. I know it would.

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