“When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!” —Chapter 4, The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill, “Alice in Wonderland.”
“Alice in Wonderland in Central Park” photo by Charles R. Hale
Darkness it was so near to me, i ask of shadow won’t you have a drink? (the eternal perpetual question)
Inside snugandevil. i was sitting in mcsorley’s It, did not answer. outside. (it was New York and beautifully, snowing….
From “I Was Sitting in McSorley’s” by E.E. Cummings
“McSorleys Stove” photo by Charles R. Hale
“By comparison with other less hectic days, the city is uncomfortable and inconvenient; but New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience—if they did they would live elsewhere.” From “Here Is New York” by E.B. White.
Central Park Reservoir photo by Charles R. Hale
“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” — Nora Ephron on New York City
A few months ago a friend of mine asked, “If you could live or retire anywhere in the world where would it be?” My response was immediate…I spread my arms and said, “I”m there.”
I know New York City is not for everyone, but for me, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Last night’s event– my friend Serena Jost’s performance at Pangea on the Lower East Side–served to confirm what I already know. This is home.
I walked into Pangea and noticed a few friends, including Marty Plevel, a great patron of the arts and Theresa Sareo, an enormously talented singer/songwriter, sitting at a table. I joined them for some chat and good times and then we settled into Serena’s performance.
Thursday night I’ll be at the Irish Arts Center for the book launch of “The Writing Irish of New York” and Saturday evening I’ll be at the American Irish Historical society for a live production of James Joyce’s “The Dead.”
I am a very fortunate man.
Over the past thirty months, the David Raleigh Quartet, including Tony Carfora/sax, Daniel Glass/drums and Danny Weller/bass or Evan Gregor/bass and I have taken our audience on a journey…a musical journey, incorporating story and song. The show features the stories and songs of the artists and composers who for the past one-hundred years have paid homage to city they call home. Many of their songs were popularized in New York’s venues like the Village Vanguard where Miles, Mingus and Monk performed and venues that are long gone, such as Cafe Society where Billy Holiday debuted “Strange Fruit.” And then there are the stories and songs that I associate with New York through ancestral, familial and personal recollections.
We are now working on an all new Jazz in the City, which will feature great jazz standards, some well-known, others equally great but not as popular. Once again, we’ll be blending the music with New York themed stories.
Certain songs jump out at me for personal reasons and are contenders for inclusion in the new show. One of them is “You’ve Changed” a 1941 tune written by Bill Carey and Carl Fischer. Click here to hear what I consider the quintessential recording of this tune: Eva Cassidy “You’ve Changed”
More details to come in the following weeks.
I’m proud to announce that the book “The Writing Irish of New York”, which includes an essay I wrote, is available for purchase in hardcover. The book, which was conceived and edited by Colin Broderick, is now available at Amazon. You can click here to order now
They’ll be an official book launch at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan on December 6th.
In the ten years following the Great Famine Irish flooded into New York at an astonishing rate. By 1860 one in every four New Yorkers was Irish, and by the 1920s Irish-American authors like Eugene O’Neill and F. Scott Fitzgerald had transformed the American literary landscape and lay the foundation for a century that would put Irish writing at the forefront of American letters.
This series of essays by and about Irish-American writers traces that heritage from it’s humble origins through the twentieth century. Editor Colin Broderick provides background essays on Brendan Behan’s New York, Maeve Brennan’s heartbreaking decent into madness, Frank McCourt’s rise from school teacher to literary phenomenon, and 23 of today’s top Irish-American authors—including Colum McCann, Peter Quinn, Luanne Rice and Dan Barry—provide personal accounts of how they found their voices in the Big Apple. Taken together, the stories provide a vivid portrait of a community of authors who continue to fight for Ireland’s place at the top of literary canon.
There is a fine green thread that binds them all. These are The Writing Irish of New York.
The Writing Irish of New York includes original essays by:
Peter Quinn, Luanne Rice, Larry Kirwan, Kathleen Donohoe, Daniel James McCabe, Mike Farragher, Malachy McCourt, Don Creedon, Maura Mulligan, Kevin Holohan, Kevin Fortuna, Christopher John Campion, Dennis Driscoll, Billy Collins (poem), Honor Molloy, Colum McCann, John Kearns, Charles R. Hale, Dan Barry, Seamus Scanlon, Brain O’Sullivan, Mary Pat Kelly, and Colin Broderick.
And essays by Colin Broderick on:
Maeve Brennan, Frank McCourt, Eugene O’Neill, Jimmy Breslin, Frank O’Hara, J.P. Donleavy, John F. Kennedy Jr., Brendan Behan and Oscar Wilde.