Joey to the World

Joey PlazaI was temping at International Flavors and Fragrances in midtown years ago when a secretary poked his head in and asked one of those Magic New York Questions. “Do you want to sublet my apartment?” It was my second day on the job, I was recently back in town after a year in Dallas (oops), and I was living with my parents. It was an easy question. “Yes,” I said. “It’s on 84th Street just off West End,” he said. He told me the price. “Do you want to see it first?” “No,” I said. “I’ll pick up the keys tonight.”

For the two blocks between Broadway and Riverside Park, you see, 84th Street is also named Edgar Allan Poe Street, and it had been a passing fancy of mine for years to live on that quiet, tree-lined, not-very-affordable block. The apartment turned out to be small and cozy, a few flights up in a south-side-of-the-street brownstone. I loved it there. Edgar moved out of the hood in August of 1845 - he lived on the northwest corner of Broadway - but don’t tell the real estate people. While he was still in residence he wrote “The Raven.”

In a city so relentlessly numerical, sudden outbreaks of street names are irresistible. Up at the north tip of Manhattan lurks the brilliant intersection of Seaman & Cumming (no kidding). There’s a Love Lane not far from here in Brooklyn Heights (it’s a drab alley next to Gristedes). Stuyvesant Street in the East Village is uniquely close to true east-west, more so than nearly any other old street downtown. Named streets are nifty.

On November 30th, the City is renaming the corner of Bowery and East 2nd Street “Joey Ramone Place.” The instersection is just up the avenue block from CBGB, and just down the street from the loft that housed Joey and Dee Dee back in the day. It’s a small thing, and a good one. Now I want to live on 2nd Street. From Nevermore to Gabba Gabba Hey.

One if by Blog: If you have nothing to do until spring, The Truth Laid Bear (“A bear, the world, and a strong urge to hibernate”) is modeling an Ecosystem of lots of web logs (we are #3,632 out of 5,195, which makes us Lowly Insects rather than Wiggly Worms or Insignificant Microbes), and you can sample a thousand or two of their listed sites. The Ecosystem holds a pecking-order contest for new blogs like ours, and I think we’re going to sign up for next week’s round.

Some of the contenders in this week’s New Weblog Showcase include Ruminations on Korea, or rather ruminations on being a large white person in Korea; a meditation on David Lynch’s plans to bring about world peace through ashrams and levitation; and a livid tirade on Senate filibusters. We’ll let you know how we do if we decide to play.

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