Still More Tales of the Hunt

Nick from Brooklyn is back with another from his ongoing Tales of the Hunt series. I don’t have a title for this one, but I will apologize in advance if it offends any little people, drag queens, call girls or anyone else. Nick from Brooklyn, as previously noted, has become an irresistible force and I hate to stifle his creativity with too much editing. This one is pretty much as he wrote it with some minor modifications.

This is going to be three stories that happen in the same building, months apart in the late 1970’s. The building that these three stories happen is around two blocks from the old Madison Square Garden on 49th St and 8th Avenue. I believe the address was 888 8th Avenue. The first story is about a call I get from a record producer his name I have forgotten, telling me he got my postcard and that he has produced hundreds of records and for me to drop by his apartment. We set up an appointment. It was a Saturday, I remember this as if it was yesterday, getting off of the elevator I’m all excited I knock on the door it opens and I am staring straight ahead at nothing but a wall, oh as I look down, it’s a dwarf. He sort of looked like the actor from the old Phillip-Morris cigarette ads. Nick come in, I’ve been waiting for you, tea, coffee, can I get you anything, I thanked him and told him tea. He is talking a mile a minute about this recording artist, this record, that artist, and how he has been in the music and circus business for over 50 years. After finishing the tea and listening to him for close to an hour, I told him excuse me, do you have any records I can look at, he gets up goes in the hall opens the closet

and pulls out a small box that holds 25 – 45 RPM records and hands it to me, I open it and there are around 10 45’s. After looking at them, I tell him this is all pop music, he tells me what do you want the old doo wops, rock, what type of music, I tell him yes, that’s what I am looking for and I could use Jazz LP’s. Ah, he says, they are in my house in New Jersey (Englewood) (A lot of people in the music business live in Englewood and Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey more on this another time)  Well you are going to have to call and make another appointment to look at them, you know everybody wants ROCK, pure garbage and he starts to walk into another room and tells me come here and pulls out a record from a night table and hands it to me. It’s a 10- inch single-sided acetate and then he grabs it out of my hand pulls out from under the bed a little kid type record player and it starts to play the acetate. It’s a great up-tempo rock record and the voice is familiar to me, as I look down it says Aron Presley Chains of —– . I couldn’t make out the last word and I said is that Elvis Presley  and he pulls the record off the player and flings it behind the bed. Yeah that’s him. He then tells me that he knows the Colonel (Tom Parker) for years from the music business and that he came to him 1954 or 1955 and told him about this kid he had and for me to write a song for him, which is that record and that he had a falling out with the Colonel over $75, and he said twice they are all cheap bastards… And I know this record brought out bad feelings in him. After he finished talking I told him, you do know that record is worth a lot of money and he said, kid I can’t do anything with that record, I owe the song title, the Colonel owes Presley, and if I was to sell it I would be sued. I was confused by his statements and said to myself I’ll call him in a few weeks and maybe I could still work this out. I called three weeks later and the number was disconnected.

A few months later I get a call from a female, or so I thought. It turned out he was a drag queen and worked in the theatre in some play on Broadway. Telling me about seeing my ad about jazz and he had a huge female jazz collection and wanted to sell some of them, but they were not going to be cheap.We made an appointment, 888 8th Avenue. I get there, the door opens.  He was beautiful. This guy really looked better than most women I knew. Going through the records I pulled out only eight records which to me were the cream in the collection: Five Beverly Kenny records on Decca and Roost and three other oddball female jazz records that were rare, we settled on $20 a record. On the way out I went to the floor the dwarf lived on, knocking on the door, a young girl answered the door and she was giving herself a mud pack treatment and she sort of looked like a clown! I excused myself and told her I was looking for Mr. —- , she told me he does not live there anymore and had moved months ago and I said thank you and left (On the way down I said to myself I should have asked her did she have any records for sale).

Now this third call really blew my mind. It’s a young female and she explains to me that she saw my ad and she used to go out with a recording engineer and she had around 100 jazz albums she wanted to get rid of.  We arrange for a meeting and then she gives me the address 888 8th Avenue. Again the same address I said to myself, laughing! When she opened the door she looked like a model, tall and slender, we shook hands, she showed me the records, but there was very little jazz in there, mostly mood music. While looking at the records there were lamps hanging all over the place and some were on tables, I told her they are beautiful, she said yes they are Tiffany’s and that she collected them, she pulled out a loose leaf and there was photographed pages and pages of these Tiffany Lamps that were numbered and priced and the prices for most were in the high five figures.  I asked her what do you do for a living, she paused as if she was thinking what to say, oh I am a school teacher. We talked for a little longer and then I left. On the way home I was thinking I had to have looked at least 30 to 35 lamps at xxx amount of dollars each, boy that’s over a million dollars.

Around five years later, a friend of mine who is a shady type of guy, but liked live jazz asked me did I want to see a show in the village. After the show he told me he had to give a guy in the West Village some money, we went to the meat district there is this bar which to me I felt as if I had walked into the twilight zone, all sorts of weird characters. While sitting at the bar, the door opens and who walks in but the girl who collected the Tiffany’s. I did not say anything and I doubt if she would have remembered me. She went to the end of the bar with two other girls, my friend introduces me to his friend, they chat for a few minutes and then he walks over to the three girls, I ask my friend, he knows them, my friend tells me yeah they work for him, they are call girls. On the way home I started laughing to myself and thinking how she had paused when I asked her what she did for a living, and a school teacher with a million dollars in lamps! Yeah right…

This building 888  8th Avenue was full of characters right out of a book – There was the Dwarf with Elvis, the Drag Queen, the Mud Girl (Clown) and the Call Girl. Take care all and good hunting!

3 comments

  • Great story. You need to compile these into a book. Keep up the good work.

  • another great story ,Nick!!

  • NYC baby! Never been there but ………. !
    Bottom line(s) 1) You really never know who or what you’ll encounter looking for records!
    2) What holy grails are in your hands as you leave!
    Great stories Nick!

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