We left New York right after our show on Monday night and headed to the Island for our day off. Ideally we would have stayed in the city and spent the day (and more importantly, the night) enjoying Manhattan. But paying for two nights of hotels for seven people in a city as expensive as New York is just not a good business practice these days, so we headed to Long Island, somewhere near Bay Shore, somewhere near Bay Port….in actual fact we were near absolutely nothing…except for the dump. Long Island is just a weird, weird place. I don’t think I have had as many insults hurled at me from passing cars as I have in the past couple of days. Maybe it’s because they aren’t use to seeing pedestrians or bicyclists out here. When you don’t build sidewalks or bike lanes you are kind of sending a message. Most of the insults I couldn’t understand because the cars move at such a clip out here (Jeremiah, our new guitar tech, observed that everyone drives like their being chased by the cops). I think one of the insults yelled at me was, “NICE HAT HOMO!!” Is a Blue Jays cap really that offensive? Do people still use the word “homo” as an insult? This part of the island is littered with non-descript malls and industrial parks. Occasionally, if you get close enough to the water, you come across a quaint, classic Long Island town. Bell Port is such a town, with its two antique shops and one Japanese steak house, ice cream parlor and a marina at the foot of the town open only to town residents. The houses in these exclusive little towns are beautiful; immaculately maintained classic New England-style clapboard homes. These little enclaves are mainly the preserve of those sweating their asses off back in Manhattan: membership does not come cheap. I borrowed Jeff’s bike and went in search of something, anything, near our hotel…I pedaled for miles and found nothing and nearly got killed a half-dozen times. I finally stumbled on the town of Bell Port and bought a root beer float in celebration. The highlight of my day off was riding by an empty Outlet Mall and buying six pairs of underwear for twenty bucks: a successful day off.
The town of Bay Shore is not one of those quaint Long Island towns….it’s a bit of a mutt. But I did have some of the best sushi that I have had in a few years (I highly recommend Aji 53, located on the main strip of downtown Bay Shore.) The other thing that this town has is a great little theater. The Boulton Centre is not a pretty venue, but it has fantastic acoustics. You would never guess by looking at it, but someone got it right (probably by accident) when this room was built. We had a sloppy, loose, fun show. The audience was great. This was the last stop for my Mom on her rock ‘n’ roll adventure. A couple of shows, one overnight drive and a day off, not bad for an 80 year old…I think she might be a road-dog.