The Making of a a New Twin Cities Record Label (Part 3 of 4)
As I exited LaGuardia I was reminded how very different NYC is than my little metro-island in the Upper Midwest. Things move at a faster pace in NYC and public transportations are the arteries and veins of the city. Most people there don’t even own a car. After receiving directions from a kind man at an information desk, I boarded the M60 bus, and it quickly filled to capacity. I had explicit directions from Mic on where to get off, what subway to catch, and where to meet him in Manhattan. But this wasn’t enough. I got lost.
As it turned out, I missed my stop and ended up in Harlem, and after an attempted swindling by a gas station clerk, I found a couple nice police officers who guided me to the subway that led to Manhattan. NYC subways could very well be one of the most claustrophobic experiences one can have. As the train neared Manhattan, the oxygen supply lessened. I’m being slightly dramatic here, but all along I thought about the pathogenic particles swirling around the close quarters. It’s worth noting that if a particularly virulent, airborne disease does ever strike NYC, there’s going to be trouble. The subway system may just go bankrupt. That’d be the greatest of worries, right?
2 ½ hours after I exited La Guardia I finally found Mic attending his going-away party at a little bar near his old work place. I exchanged some short pleasantries with his former co-workers and we began hiking towards Central Park in search of dinner. I was starving. I hadn’t been fed on either plane I had taken, and I hadn’t expected (foolishly) to find myself waltzing around NYC, lost in Harlem. Mic wanted to treat me to bonafide NYC cuisine, something I would never be able to find in Minneapolis or St. Paul. But every attempt at finding such a place ended in disappointment. The greatest of these was in Madison Square Park, where we found a line 200 people strong waiting for a shake at the Shake Shack.
Twenty blocks later I was desperate, prepared to storm the doors of McDonald’s if nothing else! We settled for hot dogs from a little dog shop.
Aside from being chased by a guy in a Batman suit, my sole evening in NYC was relatively uneventful. The next morning Mic and I traveled from his apartment in Queens to the car rental place where our traveling SUV awaited. Unremarkable – why is it that dealing with rental places can never be pulled off without a hitch? They didn’t have the larger size SUV that Mic had reserved. Instead, we got a smaller, sportier SUV. They might as well have thrown in a soccer mom to boot. That would’ve made it remarkable.
Yet not nearly as remarkable as our packing job. Years of Tetris playing bore fruit as we shoved every door of the vehicle shut. Some things we simply had to throw out, and a long-dependable computer monitor was one of Mic’s most painful losses. We tied suitcases to the roof of the vehicle with bungee cords and twine, covered by a blue tarp. Had I the foresight I might have photographed the bulging hog, because it was some source of pride for us both. It looked something like this:
As we drove away from NYC reality hit Mic. Sometimes I would catch him throwing “we” into conversations where he discussed his old label, and I would gently remind him that he no longer rode with that crowd. He would be a true Minnesotan again – full residency and all. It was his time now, and it would be the time of and for the artists he would work so hard for.
Nothing would thrill me more than to recollect a crazy story about our 23 hour journey by car straight from NYC to Minneapolis. But craziness didn’t really occur. We took turns sleeping, we had to duck tape the torn tarp on multiple occasions, and we found out that Amish folks like to ride their carriages to Dairy Queen in the dark of night. The road doesn’t wind much either, and there’s very little to see west of Pennsylvania. And that was it. We arrived in Minneapolis road weary and thankful we hadn’t a breakdown.
This was three months or so ago, and many, many things have happened since. But that’s for the next, final article.