THE FIRST BOOK SIGNING PARTY FOR
"THE KNAPPS LIVED HERE"
Mastic Moriches Shirley Community Library
Sunday Nov 21st 2010
THREE FULL PAGES OF FUN, FUN, FUN ...
and a BIG Christmas Surprise Too
My whirlwind trip back home to New York for the first time in 4 years was flat out incredible. My main purpose of course was to do my first signing of the Knapp Book, at the at MMS Library,where I am always welcomed with great support by Linda Knell and the staff. As I said in the pre show postings, this one was going to be a "little different" than my past appearances there. Much to my surprise the word "little" became a misnomer for the entire trip. Overwhelming was the proper word.
Knowing I had a very tight schedule, I still crammed in a weeks worth of activities into three fast days . I started out with a long overdue visit with my son Erik ( the Knapp books designer) to see his place in Brooklyn and spend some time at his Manhattan office at Union Square & 5th Av, where he is the art director for DISCOVER Magazine. I did a bunch of walking too, around Manhattan, including a walk uptown across Central Park because I took the wrong subway and wound up on the east side of town when I wanted to go to Lincoln Center. From Lincoln Center on Broadway & 66th, I walked east again across Central Park South and then down 5th to the location of Stork Club at 3 East 53rd. It is now a park. There I communed with my Grandfather Jack Spooner, who was the Matrie D' for decades at New York City's most famous night club. I took some pictures there and they will be coming soon to another installment on Gramps days as the most celebrated waiter-matrie D' the Big Apple ever knew.
On Friday evening Erik & I took the train out to Port Washington to have dinner with Joe & Therese Ciampa and their newly wedded daughter and son in law, Danielle & Cade (who are Nashville residents btw) Joe as some of you may know, was the bass player & chief spark plug in two bands I was part of in the 1960's ; The Strangers and Mrs. Murphy's Basement. They are profiled along with many other bands in the Long Island Bar Band History section of this Spoonercentral Theme Park -Websight Thing.
Saturday morning it was up at 5 to catch a very early train out to Shirley and start rehearsing with members of my very first band The Islanders, for the musical portion of the Library Show. It's a bit complicated, but the brief story is The Knapp book like all my books started with a song first. When I completed the manuscript, more music just followed . A series of instrumental pieces I call The Elm & McKinley Suite that pays tribute to the roots of where it all started for me , the corner my Mastic Beach house I grew up in was located on and now the name of my book publishing company. I enlisted Doug Percoco and Frank O'Shea who were in the Islanders with me from 1961-62 and Kenny Vitellaro who was in The Del -Fis with me in 1963, to do some of these new tunes. It was going to be the first time we all played together in 47 years and anything could happen!....
Also on my agenda that day was giving a "Knapp Tour" to some of the Knapp family members who traveled great distances from three states to be there for the event. We spent Saturday Afternoon touring Mastic Beach, Southhaven, and Brookhaven at various Knapp Family Landmarks including a very spontaneous surprise, a tour of The 1850 "Woodhull Lodge" now owned, restored and lovingly cared for by my good friend Bob Muse. The Woodhull Lodge was once part of The Knapp Estate in Mastic Beach. We had dinner that night at Ornofrios. I spent the night at Kenny's house in Shirley and before you knew it ,,,it was SUNDAY
On Sunday Morning I woke up very early and walked down to Shirley Beach to practice giving my talk part of the show to a few disinterested sea gulls. Then it was load up three vehicles with band stuff to set up at the Library at 11:30 AM for the 1 PM show.
A LAST MINUTE WARM UP AT KENNY'S BEFORE HEADING TO THE LIBRARY
I tip my hat to Carl Sandbeck for the loan of his Martin Guitar
Bitsy The Dog Is Not Too Impressed Though
THE SLIDE PRESENTATION PORTION HAD A SMALL GLITCH ,
BUT IT PROVIDED SOME IMPROMPTU TAP DANCING ON MY PART AS WE AWAITED THE ARRIVAL OF THE PROJECTOR
The Audience Was Great About It Though ...
ON THE STAGE: KENNY, DOUG & FRANK
WHEN WE CLOSED WITH "WALK DON'T RUN" IT WAS A REAL CROWD PLEASER FRANKIE'S DRUM SOLO STOLE THE SHOW
The entire program was filmed and the Library should have it on their website in near future
I MET A LOT OF NEW & OLD FRIENDS THAT DAY PLUS PEOPLE WHO KNEW MY BIG SISTER, PARENTS & GRANDPARENTS
ONE EVENT THAT WAS NOT 100% SURE WOULD HAPPEN, WAS NOT ONLY A DELIGHT TO US, BUT TO ALL WHO KNEW US
BACK THEN AS "BUTCHIE" & KENNY JOSEPH THE LONG OVERDUE REUNION WITH MY BROTHER WALT.
SUSAN CHEANEY IS THE REASON THERE ARE MANY RARE PHOTOS OF THE KNAPP FAMILY IN THE BOOK. SHE IS THE STEP - GRANDAUGHTER OF JOSEPH F. "Dode" KNAPP. AND GRANDAUGHTER OF MARION H. KNAPP. "TRU BLU SUE" CAME ALL THE WAY FROM NORTH CAROLINA FOR THIS . IT WAS A GREAT PLEASURE TO AKNOWLEDGE HER CONTRIBUTIONS & INTRODUCE HER TO THE AUDIENCE.
SHOW & TELL
I BROUGHT ALONG SEVERAL ITEMS BOTH OWNED & PRINTED BY THE KNAPP FAMILY TO DISPLAY
ERIK WAS A TREMENDOUS HELP TO HIS OLD MAN THAT DAY
I ALSO SIGNED QUITE A FEW WELL READ COPIES OF MY FIRST BOOK "LONG RIDE ON A SHORT TRACK" THE GUY IN THE MIDDLE WITH CHRIS "Two Books" MOSS , IS NONE OTHER MARTY HIMES OF THE HIMES MUSEUM OF AUTO RACING IN BAY SHORE . MARTY & I WILL BE DOING A PROGRAM TOGETHER ON THE NEW EDITION OF LONG RIDE, SLATED TO BE PUBLISHED IN EARLY 2011
YA CAN'T HAVE A PARTY WITHOUT CAKE ! AND MMS LIBRARY SURE PROVIDED A BEAUTY
It almost looked too pretty to eat until I got my first taste of it.
And speaking of eating, a tradition I always try to uphold is, at least one vist to "Neighborhood Pizza" Now known as Ornofrio's in Mastic Beach. It's been in The Same Family since it opened in 1950 (The year I moved to MB) This trip I was there two nights in a row. This was the after party party