This evening, with my wife and kids sequestered out at my mom’s place on Long Island for the summer, I was free to go hang out and catch up with a good friend I’ve not seen for several months. I first met Jason during my two-year stint at MSN.com, during the now-distant “oughts.” Our mutually overstated penchants for abject rock geekery immediately made clear that we were kindred souls, and we became fast friends. In more recent years, during the hardest of circumstances for me involving deaths and illness in my family and a protracted state of joblessness, Jason has proven to be an always empathetic listener and solid, supportive friend, for which I am ever appreciative.
In any case, Jason now lives near my old stomping grounds on the Upper East Side, so I volunteered to go visit his hood for some after-work beers. As such, we met up at an establishment called Earl’s Beer & Cheese on East 97th & Park Avenue.
Having grown up but a strong-armed stone’s-throw from this spot, I can handily attest that this particular plot of real estate was an unlikely locale for such a venture a couple of decades back. But, y’know, times have indeed changed. While yes — it’s a studiously stylized craft-beer emporium geared towards folks who probably don’t sneer at the adjective “artisanal” (and did indeed feature a staffer sporting an inarguably hipsterish Rollie Fingers mustache), it must be emphatically stated: The “beer cheese” appetizer (New York State cheddar cheese spread on garlic-infused toasted bread) practically blew a new goddamn part in my hair.
Anyway, another reason I was totally game for this expedition was because it would put me right in a spot I recently discussed here just a few posts ago. Some might remember this post, wherein I waxed rhapsodic about a photograph spied on the excellent Tumblr, Old New York. Being that I’d pinpointed the location of that photo — despite it not involving members of the Lunachicks, the Stranglers, Herman’s Hermits or Emerson, Lake & Palmer — I thought it might be fun to pay homage to the image. Sadly, I still don’t know who snapped it.
Below is both the photo in question and my replication thereof, featuring my friend Jason filling in for the smiling elderly gentleman.
Incidentally, Jason is a tirelessly creative musician who currently plays in an ensemble called the Crier Brothers. Here they are in action…