Sunday, March 01, 2009

Taking a Walk Back In Time

Last night was a special night for me, as I went to a reunion of many of my old friends from the days I spent at Tower records. I first got to Tower in October 1984, and stayed there for over six years, until December 1990. I stayed around the store for many years working for TRIP (Tower Records Import Product), Bayside and Ryko Distribution companies. So Tower was a big part of my life for a long time.

It still boggles my mind at times that Tower Records is truly gone. I remember the days so vividly of a jammed packed store every Saturday afternoon and every day leading up to Christmas. I thought the store would be there forever. But on December 22, 2006, it closed for good.

I have a million memories of my time there, and last night a number of us gathered at the Bleecker Street Bar, just a few blocks south of where the store was, to reconnect and talk about old times.

But before I got to the bar, I checked out my old boss Kenny Altman, who I worked with for two years, doing a standup routine at the Gotham Comedy Club on W. 23rd Street with some other up and coming comics. Kenny told me he'd only be doing standup about there years, but did about 7 minutes and was sharp and witty. I was there with my old friends Rob and Lori and I still couldn't believe I was seeing my old boss cracking jokes before a live audience. Great job Kenny...

We got to the bar at just after 9 PM, and the first guy I run into is my old friend Jimmy, who greeted me with "I owe you 100 bucks." I was shocked that he remembered on the day he left Tower in 1987 we made a $100 bet over which team would win the World Series first: his Pirates or my Red Sox. (I actually thought of him the night the Sox won in 2004, and Jimmy told me thought of me that night, too.) I told him it was OK, but we plan to get together one night for dinner so he can settle the bet.

The night was filled with reminiscing and catching up with old friends. The bar was crowded and a lot of old Tower folks turned out. (I was pleased to hear from more than one person that I hadn't changed at all!) Among them were Billy D, Russ, Dave, Jennifer, Chris, Cassandra, Charles, Brian, Paul C, Paul H, Rina, John A and John S. The years seemed to disappear as we talked about old times, and how things were going on now. Many of my old friends now have kids, which made me feel a little bit older. It was sad that two friends, Carlos and Jet, couldn't make it for different reasons. Carlos was instrumental in putting together the reunion on Facebook, but an illness kept him away and I know he was really disappointed in not making it down. My dear friend Jet was forced to stay upstate because of fears over the weather up there this weekend. They were both missed.

We also missed some old friends who couldn't make it because they were in other parts of the country and couldn't get to New York for the occasion. And we also missed those special friends who are no longer with us, but I know that Joyce, Wooz, Jet Boy and many others were there in spirit.

I stayed at the bar until just after 1 AM, when many of the Tower folks had departed and the people coming in were far younger than I. I thank all of you who came out last night and made it such a special evening. Hopefully we can do it again in a few months (June has been mentioned) when we don't have to worry about the weather.

Tower maybe gone, but the memories of that special place will stay with me forever. And seeing so many friends last night brought that time back. Thanks everyone.


Steel36 said...

No matter where I go, Tower will always be my favorite job. I got to work around music all day. I met people who will always be my friends. I hang out with a few of them at least once a month.

Sure the pay was low, the customers crazy, but we were a merry band of misfits. Even with both ears pierced, I was the conservative looking one!

I remember telling the kids(I was easily 10-15 years older than some of them) once at a store meeting that enjoy your time at Tower. The real world is not fun. It is serious and can be brutal. Tower is the last fun job you'll ever have.

There are days when I really miss that place. I still have those crazy people-so I hang on to that.

The Omnipotent Q said...

I could write the same exact thing you said, Steel. Thanks for writing it for me.