Our mates over at Living with Legends: the Hotel Chelsea Blog have delivered an extra delicious entry for us today. There is an interview with novelist F.Paul Wilson and a divine extract from one of his popular Repairman Jack books.
The extract sees our [anti?]-hero heading toward my favourite intersection and the Chelsea Papaya, a monument of immense significance in my disturbed world. The papaya never failed to intrigue me. The more unlikely the hour, the busier it seemed to be. The number of interesting people I met at the Chelsea Papaya are way beyond counting. It seems that not only locals call in regularly but that a solid market of people who have stumbled out of clubs and toward the subway are a part of what makes for an environment one could only encounter in NY.
The latino men who work there quickly came to know me, we bonded over their assertion that our countries are 'brothers'. Once in the care of the Papaya guys, I was taken on a guided tour of American fat-saturated junk food and educated in the correct way to order a hotdog in New York. I learned the various combinations of hotdog and how to say them in shorthand. I met the enigma that is 'cheesey fries' and discovered that 'chili', whether on a dog or cheesey fries, is better avoided when sharing a bathroom...
With it's glowing yellow and twenty-four hour convenience the Papaya became a symbolic flashpoint for me. Most every night at the theatre ended up with a visit to the Papaya. It didn't take long to work out that 'papaya' is New York for 'food that is good for when one has gone one martini over the line'.
The welcome extended by the Papaya boys and the genuine warmth with which they guided me through sometimes quite incomprehensible menu items became a metaphor for the cosmic welcome that New York gave me. A substantial cultural exchange took place as we got to know each other.
At one stage I flirted with styling this blog after the Papaya, the site for junkfood sustenance just down the block from the Chelsea Hotel. Papaya related plans are still brewing.
So, viewers, click on over to Living with Legends for a wonderful piece of Chelsea related reading and, take my word for it, the portrait painted of the Chelsea Papaya and surrounds is so accurate I generated just one little tear of nostalgia.
This picture of the Papaya was kindly provided by Living with Legends to go with draft one of this site. It is hidden away on my PC for future use, now seems a good time to preview.