Earlier today, after leaving Rochester and the Mayo Clinic, we made a pit stop at Al’s Breakfast in Minneapolis for our days worth of nourishment. Though we were warned of the lines and the wait to get in, we could have never expected the time we spent waiting for people to exit the diner in order to let the next ones in. Imagine our surprise when we got in the door to find out that there were no tables. Just more people lined up against the wall like a police lineup, waiting for a spot at the counter to open up.
As one who’s always loved diners and preferred sitting at the counter than be being seated at a table. Just watching the crew slide by one another taking orders, cooking and bringing food or fresh coffee to patrons can help build your energy and the appetite needed to complete the overloaded plate that will soon arrive. While enjoying our breakfast we met some locals and learned that Al’s was once an alley that cut through the block and had been serving breakfast since 1950. In the end, we had a great experience, service, food and conversation. We’re heading back to the area in late September and will definitely make Al’s a priority. If you’re ever in Minneapolis, you should too.
Here I’ve posted two images I took of Capital Hill’s Rite Aide. Located on the corner of Broadway and Denny. The pharmacy looks more like an old theater than a one stop drug store. I took the first image on monochrome mode with my 40mm pancake lens and the second, in color, with my 15mm fish eye. (A lens i use almost exclusively for concert photography.) I really love how the edges bend the closer you get to the subject. In comparison.,the monochrome image stands out for me due to the antiquated feel monochrome provides. I can’t help but feel as if I’ve been transplanted to another time. On the other hand, the fisheye lens offers a trippy vibe that makes me feel as if I’m swimming in the pages of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
In my ten plus years as a Hoboken Resident I’ve driven or walked past the Neumann Leathers building countless times. And though I had taken many pictures around and outside of the sizable landmark. I had never once ventured inside the building. That was until today. In recent weeks I’ve had the pleasure of running into Pete Martinez. Best known to me as the drummer for New Jersey Power Pop kings Stuyvesant. I consider him, like many of the musicians and bands I rub elbows with to be more of an acquaintance than anything. Yet during the last couple of times we’ve talked at shows, he’s extended a hearty invitation to come pound on the drums at “The Drum Den”. Which, by the way, is located just inside Neumann Leathers. So today, with a few hours on my hands and a lot of aggression to work on. I took Pete up on his invitation.
Following a hearty welcome and a healthy tour of the facilities, (The place is a lot larger and organized than I ever envisioned.) we got down to business and started laying the foundations of learning to play the drums. Though I went in there to just basically make some noise and take out some pent up aggression. I found myself listening and wanting to learn more. Though I lacked any sense rhythm, I listened and learned about the kick, the snare, the toms and the symbols. I learned how to position myself, hold the sticks and hit the snares properly. Honestly, I got a lot more than I came for and Pete? I just can’t say enough about the guy. He put up with my lack of timing and rhythm and was a true teacher. So much so that I’ve convinced myself to go back and take some lessons.
After we finished I managed to stick around for a while, take some pictures and eventually meet Mitch Cady. We briefly spoke about the place and me wanting to take some shots. I gave him a couple of business cards. Both of which featured images taken at Maxwell’s. Turns out he used to do sound there. Well, small world. From there I creeped around the building getting some shots of the old factory. It’s become quite evident that there are fewer and fewer of these places around anymore. Places with a sense of history and character. I feel lucky to have had a chance to see it in it’s original form. I’m sure that my return will reward me with further corners and crevices to explore. Hopefully my rhythm and timing will be improved when I do. Thanks Pete. Thanks Mitch.