I am a big Jay McInerney fan and I heard him speak years ago at the St. Luke's Church on Hudson street. He told a harrowing tale about almost dropping his coffee cup onto the heads of St. Luke's students when he lived above the school across the street. He also told a much more personal harrowing tale about his mother who was publicly shamed in their hometown due to scandal. It made him leave and subsequently dislike his hometown. Post reading I approached the table and told him that I also disliked my hometown and his piercing cobalt eyes locked in and he said, "That is a sign of intelligence."
I am from Boston, or more specifically the suburb of Belmont which borders Cambridge which is hip, while Belmont in my time was a dry town (no booze) with no cable TV nor fast food restaurants (no teenage angst outlets.) As an adult I have lived in New York City for twenty odd years but I retain a certain love (and some dislike) for "Bahstan," as my friend Margie from Dorchester says. It is true that Beantown bars are too brightly lit, close to early, and overall the city could use a little more diversity (and a another Celtics championship - Kelly Olynyk this will only happen if you start wearing hightop sneakers.) My favorite sporting event is the Boston Marathon which as a small child, I would watch and cheer for the costumed runners, especially the guy with the afro and horns. I would see Dick Beardsley lose to Alberto Salazar by two seconds battling police motorcycles and potholes. I would watch a massive guy 1/2 mile from the finish line, on the course, berating the five hour runners to finish, that the finish was just ahead. I would watch him massage cramped hamstrings and wheel his arms towards the end goal. I ran the Boston Marathon in 2007 and my girlfriend ran along side me for 100 yards which was so joyous that I felt all the energy of the finish line guy transferred to her and then to me, propelling me like the runaway train that Dick Beardsley became even in his heartbreaking loss. I feel heartbreak currently, following the Boston Marathon bombing court case, for those who lost their lives, limbs, and joy at such a special event. I grew up thinking that Patriots Day. the Monday day off for the April marathon, was a holiday everywhere. That everywhere one would spill out of an afternoon Fenway game and watch the tired runners push their bodies and minds to their limits, while crowds drank warm beer and cheered. I ran in a T-shirt that I silkscreened that read, "I ♡ Dirty Water," a song originally sung by The Standells about the polluted Boston Harbor and Charles River. It was a 60s mock tribute to Boston as the producer of the song had been mugged and also felt the girls' college curfews too strict. The chorus is, "Well I love that dirty water. Oh, Boston you're my home." I ran with the song blazed upon my chest before it became the Boston Sports anthem it is today. Young kids asked why I liked dirty water while older folks began humming or singing the song which was nice.
The cover of "Dirty Water" by Quincy's (and the world's) Dropkick Murphys is one of their two songs that I knew prior to Monday night's awesome kicksass show at Irving Plaza. The other song, "Shipping up to Boston" was featured in a bunch of Boston movies, but I primary know it as it is played after each Beantown sports victory at Professor Thom's at 219 2nd ave ("Behind enemy lines since 2005.")
I now will posit that one is not a true Bostonian until he or she attends a Dropkick Murphys show. If one ever thought that the banjo or accordion were instruments of pansies, I dare them to take that view to the punk Celtic chaos that is a Dropkick event. Granted the place smelled of stale beer, halitosis, and newsboy cap fop sweat, but the music transported some to the rafters and others into the firm loving embrace of the stage bouncers as they crowd surfed while the band yell-sung anthems, swore, and sweated. The show was pure Boston and I don't mean because it was whiter than an albino in a wedding dress - it was the energy, the fight (not always on the right side - see busing in Boston in the 70s), and the might of a crowd that would lose itself in delirium as if the finish line was only 1/2 mile away. The show reminded me of the 1919 Boston Molasses Flood (OK, fine I just Googled it - don't harsh my metaphor, man) and how before the 30 foot tall, 35 miles an hour molasses tsunami killed 21 people and destroyed an elevated train, all that was heard was a, "dull muffled roar." Perhaps that is why only the Amish like shoo-fly pie and Boston Creme Pie is the most popular creme pie flavor (suck it Bavarians!) The Dropkick Murphys provide a dull muffled roar every show, every city, every time the bagpipes kick in and they play their love ballad, "Kiss me, I'm Shitfaced."
Where was I going with this post? I am glad you asked, because it reminded me that this is the segue where I introduce further controversy by pointed out that the lyrics from the above mentioned love song, "I'm soaked, I'm soiled and brown," can also apply to New York City brisket. Is NYC barbecue an oxymoron? Can the finest cuts of brisket be produced by the city that never sleeps (which helps if you are up all night tending a smoker.) I use to run with the meatcogcenti - a carnivore group that included Mr. Cutlets (nee Josh Ozersky) and Joey Deckle (Deckle being the fattest moistest part on the brisket - on Joey, I would guess it was that loose skin at the elbow.) Robbie Richter, BBQ master use to greet me by name and preferred side dish ("Crazy Legs, German Potato Salad.") I was someone in the meat community based on my years as a competitive eater and buffet food champion (5.5 pounds in ten minutes including brisket, baked beans, cole slaw, and mystery side.) I filmed rib eating commercials for Daisy Mae's BBQ and superstar chef Adam Perry Lang but I was playing it safe, eating Hooters wings with John Popper and accepting free snout from Mt Wilson Farm leftovers during the Madison Square Park BBQ Festival. Monday night at Brisket King NYC, I put my comped admission where my mouth is, as a judge of the 20 plus establishments and chefs who will prove, once and for all, that brisket belong in New York City, because if it didn't...we'd mug you to get it. Join me, Monday, March 16th to prove that you can take the Dropkick Murphys out of Boston, but not the Bahstan out of the Dropkick Murphys the same way you can eat brisket out of NYC, but you can't take that soaked, soiled, brown out of NYC brisket where Monday night, Brisket will be king. And as for Tuesday, St Patrick's Day, as a Masshole and New Yawker, I'll be quaffing green beer and chomping leftover brisket and I'm not even Irish. And as for the day after that, well, there won't be enough wet naps in the five boroughs to clean me up.
Info on Brisket King NYC can be gleaned here and info on brisket sheen can be seen at www.crazylegsconti.com