On the town


Spent some time Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in Greenwich Village, the picturesque and historic neighborhood that was rescued from ruination in the early '60s by a band of "anti-growth, anti-progress" meddlers who stopped Robert Moses' plans to turn the area into freeways and parking lots. (Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, was a leader in that fight. Here's a good interview with her that tells some of that story.)

(You Tulsa folks, read those articles and tell me if you don't think the rhetoric from the "pro-progress" bunch sounds a bit familiar.)

Tuesday evening I showed up on my own for Tuesday Night Trivia at the Baggot Inn, a pub on West 3rd Street. I was welcomed onto a team by Jill and Corey, two-year regulars at the competition, and we were joined later by Barry, Frank, and Nick Sarames. (Nick got a mention - with his last name badly misspelled - in Wednesday's New York Observer profile of Dawn Eden. I recognized him when he came in - while at the Will Rogers Memorial, Dawn remarked on Nick's resemblance to the Oklahoma legend.)

Corey came up with our team's name, taking a shot at the prize for the funniest name: "Michael Jackson: From Kiddie Pool to Jury Pool." Eleven teams competed through five rounds of 10 points each -- general knowledge, current events, top 10, audio round, visual round. My principal contributions were recognizing a list of area codes as belonging to the state of Texas, and knowing that Sen. Jon Corzine was planning a run for governor of New Jersey. There was considerable controversy over which baseball team Tropicana Field was built for. A couple of teams pointed out that Tropicana Field (aka the Suncoast Dome) was built to lure the San Francisco Giants to Tampa Bay, but the official accepted answer was the team that plays there now -- the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

In the top 10 round, the team gets a half-point for getting one of the items anywhere in the list, and another half-point if it's in the right place. Nick drew from his encyclopedic knowledge of pop music to rattle off Madonna's first ten top-forty hits in order -- forgetting only one, and putting the team on the path to triumph.

The audio round required recognizing 10 songs based on 30 seconds of the guitar riff. Easier than I expected -- all of them had been hits. The final, visual round involved 10 photos of guys who go by Al (e.g. Gore, Capone, Roker, D'Amato, Kaline, Franken) -- a half-point for knowing the last name, a half-point for knowing the full first name.

Our team led after the first three rounds with 25.5 points and finished with 43 points, a solid victory. The prize: A $25 bar tab for the team, which left us with $12 bucks and a tip to cover between the six of us. One of my teammates said there are other trivia nights at other pubs, some for considerable cash prizes, but the competition is cutthroat and one or two teams dominate -- Tuesday Night Trivia is much friendlier and much more fun.

(This is the second team trivia triumph I've been a part of in a little over a year. Last January I was invited to join my best friend from school and some other classmates and friends of friends on an existing team at the annual Holland Hall Trivia Night. The team had run close in previous years, but last year we blew the competition away. For winning each of us won a $25 gift certificate to In the Raw Sushi and a couple of passes to Philbrook Museum. Pretty nice. The trophy, a gold-spray-painted wooden shoe atop a gold-spray-painted foam-core obelisk, was susceptible to spontaneous disassembly. It spent some time in our living room, but another team member planned to take it along for a climb up Mt. Kilamanjaro. He didn't say which of the twin peaks he planned to climb.)

Wednesday night I headed to the monthly meeting of one of New York City's two Young Republican clubs. (This was the official party-sanctioned club.) There I caught up with Scott Sala of Slant Point, and we had an interesting conversation about local Republican party politics and the inner workings of the party machinery here and back home. Scott was a credentialed Republican National Convention blogger; we first met up at a Communists for Kerry rally in Union Square the Saturday before the convention. I chatted with Judith Weiss of Kesher Talk, too -- we met at a blogger event just before the convention. I spoke to a Republican city council candidate named Bob Capano, who is running against an incumbent Democrat in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn in this year's elections. I also met a woman who said she's planning to attend the 2005 Texas Blogfest in Dallas in March.

It was a nice break to get into the city and to renew some acquaintances, meet some new folks, and walk down some pleasant city streets.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 9, 2005 11:44 PM.

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