Henry the mensch of 7TH Avenue, Queens, his world, his ghetto, a carpet of apartment buildings built in the early 50s.
Sitting at Chaim’s Deli, a table outside, smoking beedis, sipping espresso mixed with Arak, the night swallowing up the last of the day time sun.
He could sit for hours in the same place, drinking and smoking, watching folks gliding by. People in need of everything you can imagine.
Henry paid his tab around ll PM and caught a taxi to the Chinatown, making his way to John Chow’s for a bowl of wanton noodles and some egg rolls, he liked to bust-up the egg rolls and mix them in the soup. John Chow sat down with Henry, John was a gambler and heavy smoker, broke all the time, talking about the big hit.
Off to Times Square to catch the late show at the New Amsterdam Theater, the “Art Theater” of New York City. “Pull my Daisy” Robert Frank’s film was playing. Henry liked Frank’s work, it was raw, unscripted, allot of 360 degree angles, rapid-fire and rough-cut. “Pull my Daisy” narrated by Jack Kerouac, “What is holy, is baseball holy? Is a cockroach holy? Holy, holy,” done in a single take, unplanned, undirected. A film about a speed-freak and railroad man coming home. A word-festival at Allan Ginsberg’s apartment in Brooklyn for Neal Cassidy, allot of dextrin and wine, Count Basie on the radio, it was the beginning and end of something.
"Pull my Daisy" was a short film, Henry watched it twice. Each screening very different from the other, like two different films. Maybe that is what made it great he thought.
The end of a uninspiring night, he would go to the Cripple's Den in the Bowery tomorrow. The bums never dull, always a great show.