Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Prom Night

Don't know why this story popped into my head but here it is:

The year was 1988 and I was going to Prom. We had a nice group of friends that were sharing that weekend, pre-/post- and day after prom (Rye's Playland, were they shot the movie Big was in our backyard). So anyway I said I would take care of getting the limo. When I started looking into it my grandfather (Pop-Pop, mother's side) heard about it and told me he would take care of it. Now my mother's side is 100% Italian, I am the 2nd generation born in the US, my mother the first and my grandparents were born in Italy (same on my father's side except they were born in Ireland). My great-grandparents brought their families over on the boat and through Ellis Island and settled in Brooklyn. Being Italian in the early 1900's and living in New York City you have certain relationships with certain elements of society. My great grandfather had an early relationship with the Black Hand (pre-Mafia). He owned a horse and cart and would walk the streets sharpening knives and scissors and at night when he worked in his shop certain men would come to gamble in his small backroom (he had no choice and I am told my great grandmother prayed the entire time he was in the same building with them). Apparently that association continued through the rest of the family as I grew up with great uncles who were wanna-be's, actually made and one who did some time for murder (button-man).

That being said, my grandfather took care of the limo for us and on Prom Night this huge stretch pulls up and a big gentleman gets out. Now he was not big fat or big football player, just a big presence of a man. The limo was beautiful, but none of the windows rolled down as they were VERY THICK and permanently in place. We had a great time that night and were to top it off at Dangerfield's (Rodney's comedy club in NYC), one of the girls took care of the reservations. We show up and there is a huge line going round the corner (a 2 hour wait we learn) but our driver drops us off and says he'll see us when we come out and we walk to the door. We tell the man at the door we have reservations and would like to see our seats. The man laughs and says that all the people there have reservations and we had to wait in line. We argue for a moment and see that he is not moving and start towards the end of the line. Our driver appears and asks were we are going. We tell him what happened and he tells us he thought we had reservations and we said so did we. With that he takes me back to the front of the line and confronts the bouncer at the door. He tells the guy to get the manager, the bouncer starts to brush him off and the guy says something I never heard, he disappears and out comes another guy.

Manager: Can I help you?

Driver: Yes, my young friend here has reservations tonight, it's his prom.

Manager: All these kids have reservations, they will have to wait.

Driver: I am sorry, do you know who this kid's grandfather is?

Manager: Excuse me?

Driver: Can I see you inside a moment.

With that they disappear, and then the bouncer comes out and motions to me and my party to move our asses and get in there. As we walk in, our driver walks out and tells me he'll see us later. As we walk into the club there are 3 guys carrying tables to the front of the stage (yes just like in Goodfellas) and they bring us our first round (of non-alcoholic) drinks for free. We then sat and watched as Andrew Clay (later the Diceman) regaled us with his comedy stylings.

We finished with a carriage ride through Central Park (the driver got one for our group and one for me and my date) and we arrived safely home at 3:30am. My memory goes fuzzy sometimes but I will never forget that conversation or that night for a long time.

Thanks Pop-pop!


At 9:24 PM, Blogger Brent said...

My wife is Irish and 1/2 Italian. Her grandmother and several of the great aunts and uncles still speak Italian at family gatherings. I tell everyone that her family reunions are like scenes from "The Godfather"!


Post a Comment

<< Home