A few months ago, I was helping a rather hip-duo-of-gals find an apartment in the Lower Eastside—in an area called Alphabet City. I wasn’t exactly well versed in the coolness of the area, back then, but I tried. Really, I did! Anyway, we found a killer apartment for them to rent on Avenue A. By killer, I mean, the place was 100% renovated: granite counters, recessed lighting, newer hardwood floors and the ceilings were fourteen-feet high—all this for steal at $2700 per month (a 2 bedroom—nicely sized bedrooms, too)!
In order to apply for the apartment, the owners requested to meet these two striking young ladies—in person one chilly night. With my Mother-has-Your-Back attitude, I decided to get to the area a little early (before everyone else) to check out the one-block-radius surrounding the renovated pad, just to make sure I felt comfortable with the girls living there. (I can’t help it, I’m a Mom!) At night, the neighborhood appeared to be just fine and I had some time to spare, so I decided to have a glass of wine. As to where I was going to enjoy this glass filled with lovely red, I had no idea (like I said, I wasn’t well versed with Hanging-LES-Chic). I walked by many places and just couldn’t find a place. But then, I found an ideal place, or so I thought, called The Library. Being the dork I am, I thought, Well that sounds like a charming little place and perfect for me!
Well, as soon as I walked through the front door, wearing my broker-professional-attire, I realized that this Library wasn’t a wine-drinking kind of establishment. It’s a punk-rock bar. Should I Stay or Should I Go? CLASHed my mind with Combat Rock for a second. But I couldn’t turn around, leaving the place, too many people—patrons looked my way, as I opened the door, and I didn’t want them to think I was a snob or something, so I stayed, taking a seat next to a bearded man, who was wearing an aluminum foiled hat (dunce-style).
As I ordered a Jack & Diet (I knew not to ask for wine) from the tattooed beauty behind the bar, the aluminum-hat-wearing-man spoke:
“I usually scare people off. Why did ya decide to sit nexta me?”
I answered him:
“Well, Sir, I thought about that—you being scary looking and all, wondering if you were channeling aliens or something of that nature, but I realized, this seat, next to you, was the best bet for me. It’s closest to the door—in case I need to escape!”
What can I say, I’m honest! And honesty seems to have a way of breaking the ice here in NYC. I had a great (brief) time at The Library and actually had quite a few things to discuss with the other patrons. Now this might be surprising to some people, since by appearances, I didn’t blend in and my musical tastes aren’t exactly punk, but that’s the cool thing about Alphabet City: it’s like a hodgepodge jamboree! And outside of candor–the common denominator, linking me to The Library crowd was my little brother, Stosh. That’s right, my little brother back in Cleveland!
Stosh is an entrepreneur and even though we have completely different musical tastes and missions for success; I’m really proud of him! He’s so much cooler and way smarter than I’ll ever be. He’s a genius, actually. About the time I decided to become a full-time real estate broker in NYC, my little brother (just eighteen months younger than me) quit his cushy job in Cleveland, gambling security to open Spitfire Saloon, a punk bar. Over time, he and I have shared the ups and downs of being our own bosses, a maverick approach to business methods, going months without making a profit—and raising kids in an unstable economy; and being risk takers (with some unsuccessful results), too. In addition to owning a bar, during the 2009 Great Recession, Stosh decided to become a newspaper publisher—starting an independent newspaper that’s written for and by real people. My brother is just that great, and his coolness has helped me time and time again, just like at The Library Bar on Avenue A.
For a great resource on Alphabet City Click HERE. (As far as punk bars, I can’t help you with that—I only know of two!)