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April 18-New York
by Lenny Hughes
Where were we? Oh, yes, in sunny Florida, ready to hit Melbourne, then fly out of Orlando.
Florida's nice because we get to see many of our old friends who have flown south for the metaphorical winter. We saw Rick Redcay during the day in Tampa. And our friend Ed Wasserman came to the show in Miami, and weighed in on the whale-manatee controversy. He said he never saw whales in Miami, where he has a place, because, he said, whales have better sense.
The fans in that east-coast Florida town of Melbourne are always enthusiastic. Lew stopped to sign an autograph for one of them in the back lot behind the King Center, as John serenaded under the palms.
A fan gets an autograph & a serenade in Melbourne
On the way to the airport hotel in Orlando, we tuned into one of our favorite passions: Cutlery Corner-a cable show where apparently deep-southern men sell various weapons (mainly knives and swords) in huge lots of hundreds. We almost called in for the Donald Trump model. Lewis was so enamored, he took a shot of it with his cellphone, presumably to record the info so he could order them for gifts.
Lewis getting gift ideas from Cutlery Corner
The Trump Knife
After a brief stint at home, we all converged in Secaucus for a run up the Northeast Corridor.
First stop was the Palace Theatre in Albany. On our way in, we got a look at another theater, affectionately known as "the Egg," and you can see why it's so dubbed from the photograph I took. The Palace was refreshingly less modern. One of those great old movie theaters beautifully restored, it even includes the original seats (I always wondered what "RKO" stood for in those grand old playhouses).
The Egg in Albany
The ceiling in the lobby is an impressive throwback to a glorious time when art and architecture mattered, even in movie theaters. Today, stuff like that would cost too much or be censored as pornographic.
Next day, we shot up to Massachusetts for a show at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester. Afterward, Frank drove us overnight to Syracuse. I visited there in the early '70s, right after the "Energy Crisis" sent U.S. industry south to avoid killer heating bills. The whole place was boarded up like a massive hurricane had blown through. The boards are gone now, but there's still not a lot there to write home about.
We had another overnight drive facing us, so I closed down the Merch table after intermission and packed up. That was a nice break in a way. Stood in the wings and watched the end of the show, as Lew sparred with Syracuse U. basketball fans, telling them his Tarheels showed them how to play the game.
We couldn't do a meet-and-greet, either, but Lewis went over to a crowd that gathered near the Bus and posed for pictures and signed every autograph.
We got into Secaucus before 3 a.m., after watching "Tropic Thunder" and "Pulp Fiction" on the way down.
I boarded the Acela at noon, and just crossed the old Bush River where my parents retired many years ago.
Next week: the return to the Borgata. Stay tuned.