Monday, October 19, 2009
Gone But Not Forgotten (1st in a series)
There was a time in NYC where if you walked down the dark streets of the Lower East Side on a Friday or Saturday night you had to be on your toes. You could walk for a little bit and not see an open store and thus no real light. During the 90s this was a recipe to become the next victim of the night. However it was during this time that I ran the streets from Ave. A down to Chinatown. I would close down an old staple restaurant in the LES called Mekka (RIP) and then walk down to a little hole in the wall spot at the end of Orchard St. called Good World. This was a place for the true lover of Hip Hop and Soul music overall. My boys Shan Boogie and Torbitt (drummer for Chin Chin) would get together every Friday night and tear this spot down!
I've had so many good nights there man. The way I would go is just walk down Orchard past Max Fish, crossing Delancy St. walking by small chinese internet "cafe's" until you see the USPS mail trucks and hear some music. That's how you know your in the right place. There was this ill muscle marine forces black dude on the door checking IDs. Once I got inside I would walk pass the bar and say what's up to my man Marcus (member of Antibalas now) and hit the back where Shan and Torbit were rocking. Once my bag was down the dancing didn't stop until Marcus would let out this famous yell "If you are not working here or f*%king someone working here time to go!".
Man I would go to Good World every Friday to hear joints like Aretha Franklin's Rocksteady, Poor Righteous Teachers' Easy Star and Michael Jackson's Baby Be Mine. In fact I would have to ask Torbit sometimes if I missed Baby Be Mine if I got there later than normal. I remember one time this cat tried to buy me a drink because I was going so hard to the Doobie Brothers' song Long Train Running. He was just happy to see me loving that song so much.
Well years have passed and the LES is no longer the same. The weekends are packed with limos and filled with folks from New Jersey with gel in their hair and their bottle service business. Orchard St. is now filled with little boutiques and crepe spots. I was in Chinatown about a month ago for dinner at a cool Italian restaurant. I noticed when I got there the old mail trucks were still on the scene and thought I'd go around the corner and visit an old friend. I saw a demolished building undergoing construction and felt a lump in my throat. The sounds of racing rats ran me away as if to say "get out of here New York Native, this aint for you any more!". Another piece of NY is gone.
The picture you see above is all that's left.