Wow. Just got home from a fine afternoon spent with Rand Hoppe. It wasn’t anything planned but rather a spur of the moment thing. I slept a little later than usual this morning and once awake and out of bed I went about doing my morning routines. After showering and breakfast, as usual I found myself parked in front of the computer. After a spell of feeding the trolls I got a phone call from Rand. He wanted to know if I would be interested in heading into the city to shoot some video in front of the building where Jack Kirby was born.
I hadn’t hung out with Rand, mano y mano in a while and I haven’t been to the Lower East Side since 2006 I believe, so I was game. Rand was off to Journal Square, to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew his license and the plan was to meet at 1:00 in Hoboken by the Path train. I had enough time to go to the really big supermarket and get some groceries so that is what I did. I was home by noon and after putting things away I was back in front of the computer.
Rand was stuck in the black hole of the DMV and texted me that things were not going as easily as he had hoped. I suggested meeting at 2:00 or if he would rather, doing this tomorrow. Spontaneity was the key and Rand wanted to go with the flow so we just moved meeting up to 2:00 which was just fine. And instead of meeting in Hoboken, we would meet at Ninth Street and Sixth Avenue. I was fine with that and when I found myself on the Path train, opted to go one stop further so I wouldn’t be standing around and waiting for Rand.
I walked the extra blocks and found Rand waiting outside. He was there about 10 minutes so it wasn’t that bad. We walked and caught the F train to Delancey Street. Rand was feeling peckish so we got some lunch beforehand at Tiny’s Giant. Rand had the veggie burger and I had a BLT. After that it was over to 147 Essex Street where Jack Kirby was born. It turns out the storefront of the building is vacant and Rand thinks it would be the best place where the Jack Kirby Museum should be. It is, really.
We shot some video, people walking by in the frame, behind the camera. It wasn’t too long and Rand seemed satisfied with the amount we shot. I suppose I will hear more about it once he sees the footage shot. Perhaps we will shoot some more. I lit a cigar in Kirby’s memory (and also satisfied my own wanting of a cigar) and we strolled around some more, to the spot where Kirby moved to on Suffolk Street, to where Rand and Wolf Knapp and I saw KonK back in the day, to where Rand bought his horn rimmed glasses.
The Lower East Side had a few memories for us. A nice stroll back up to the East Village, stopping into a head shop to check out vaporizers (I want one), walking past the Goth crap store that occupies the space where Farfetched was. It had been a great afternoon and it wasn’t over yet. Rand went into Forbidden Planet (which had moved) and I stayed outside smoking a cigar. Then a walk to the Path at 14th Street where Rand got on the train and sat opposite me and I took about 30 photographs of Rand much to the confusion of the other passengers.
Back in Hoboken, we saw Chris and Dave at the Farmers Market before heading up Washington Street. Rand suggested pints and I couldn’t refuse, not wanting the good feeling to end. We wound up at Mikie Squared, a tavern I pass by often but never stopped by. We sat outside and rank about four pints apiece of Yuengling which at $2.00 a pint could not be passed by. Stories were told, stories revised, rewritten. I mentioned knowing Rand since 1982 and he said 1984 but in hindsight it had to be 1983 at least.
It was a great day spent with Rand, much like days in the past, wandering around Soho and the East Village, hitting Sohozat and Saint Mark’s Sounds among other places. Sohozat is long gone and I was saddened to see Sounds shuttered as we walked past. Now I am buzzed, bought food this morning, not in the mood for cooking it so sandwiches it will be for dinner. I look forward to more wandering around with Rand, in fact there is a plan to go out to NJ on Thursday. We shall see, plans need to be finalized. I do plan on documenting the excursion if and when it happens.
03 Living Too Late