Friday, October 8, 2010

On Roy Orbison, Synchronicity and the Theater Row Diner

Roy and Barbara Orbison
I blogged last week about Roy Orbison but haven't blogged since because I visited my 96-year-old dad in Deerfield Beach, Florida (which is just south of Boca) and left my car at home. He's still driving his Ford Crown Victoria.  The weather in Florida was ok but not great.  Returning back to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, the plane from West Palm Beach arrived at 8 pm and I had to catch a 9:30 bus to Kingston, NY.  As luck would have it there was a traffic jam at the Queens Midtown Tunnel and  I missed the Kingston bus.  I thought I'd find a diner until the last Kingston bus, the 11:30, but all of the eating places near Port Authority were a bit chichi or fast food, and I wanted a Greek salad.  So I wandered around the bus depot, walking west along a desolate super-block.  No one seemed to know where a diner might be.  Then I walked north on Dyer Avenue, which is west of 9th Avenue, and right as I came to 42nd Street and Dyer, there was the cozy Theater Row Diner.

I sat down at the counter and noticed a "reserved" sign at the leftmost counter stool.  I sat two stools away from the sign.  Nothing is cooler than a Manhattan diner at 10:30 pm, and a "reserved" sign at the counter gave the Theater Row just enough idiosyncrasy. I ordered the Greek salad.  As I was enjoying it, a fiftyish guy sat down at the seat with the reserved sign.  He and the owner started talking about the Yankees. Then the subject turned to Roy Orbison.  He talked for a few minutes about how great Roy Orbison was and all his great songs like "Only the Lonely", "Dream Baby" and all the others.  I chimed in "Yeah, like 'Blue Bayou'".  We got into a conversation. He told me that Orbison started in Sun Records in Memphis and that he also was a big Elvis Presley fan.  The guy is a FedEx driver who grew up in Long Island City, and I come from Long Island City and my parents' apartment is still there (I stayed there last Sunday night on the way to LaGuardia).  Then he told me the owner lives in neighboring Astoria and we got into a conversation about it, and the owner's friend works in the development next to where I live.

Previously, Tanja Crouch of Roy Orbison music had e-mailed to send me a thank you for blogging about the great rockabilly star. When I arrived home after catching the last bus out of Port Authority,  a package from Barbara Orbison Productions containing a four CD set "Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock and Roll" was waiting for me.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Roy in that picture looks EXACTLY like you when you when younger! Put a pair of thick black glasses on and you'll see what I'm saying. And OMG, Barbara looks EXACTLY like your wife when she was younger. That's not a picture of Roy and Barbara, that's a picture of you and your wife years ago! (The above are all compliments. Please don't take them wrong)

Mitchell Langbert said...

I am Brooklyn College's Roy Orbison equivalent.