TONY’S WAY

Philadelphia Story

Tonys way

There are a million stories in the semi-clad metropolis and this is one.

Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, and in each neighborhood there is a distinctive culture or ethnicity.  Each neighborhood has gradually become more mixed and diversified. In South Philly you have the Italians, in Fishtown the Irish. West Philly and North Philly are predominantly black. In Center City you see the greatest diversity, but it too has its own characteristics. In Kensington, where Tony’s Way is located, it is mainly Spanish, as in Puerto Rican. Tony’s Way is a little Puerto Rican bar nestled below the elevated Blue Line in Kensington.

I lived in several different neighborhoods in Philadelphia. For a while I lived in Fishtown in a little house across from the Palmer Cemetery.  Fishtown is a neighborhood that adjoins Kensington.  I  would sometimes walk over to the Blue Line to take it into town. On the way back home when I arrived at my stop and descended the steps from the “El” I would find Tony’s Way beckoning to me in the darkness. So one night I hustled there inside.

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I stepped inside of the brightly lit cantina and immediately was blasted with the sound of Latin music blaring on the jukebox and uproarious laughter.  The joint was juking and very colorfully decorated with tinsel and streamers and signs of various descriptions. Very festive. The bar was in the center with seating all around. Behind the bar were a pair of barmaids in cut off jeans and tank tops.

I stepped up the the bar and ordered a shot of tequila and a Corona. That was what everybody else was drinking. I had a couple of rounds then stepped back into the night and walked home.

Since Tony’s Way was right on my way as I walked back and fourth from the El, I started to become a regular. I would go over in the afternoons sometimes and on the weekends. One day I was in there having a beer and a shot when Tony walks over to me and introduces himself.

He gave me a broad smile and stretched out his hand which I took. He had a strong grip.

“I’m Tony,” he said. “This is my place. Welcome. If you ever find you have a problem here, you see that large fellow sitting over there in the corner? That’s Ricardo. He’s my cousin. And do you see that other fellow standing over there? That’s Edwardo. He’s my other cousin. You just call one of them over and he will help you.”

He smiled again and patted me on the back and strolled off to greet the other customers. That was how it was at Tony’s Way.

One Friday night I walked over for a little entertainment and to see if there might be some Puerto Rican girls just dying to meet me.

There was line to get in.  So I queued up and waited my turn to be let in. As I was waiting I noticed there were a couple of bouncers at the front door. They were frisking people, as in patting them down for weapons, before they were allowed in. Now this wasn’t too unusual for Philadelphia so I didn’t think too much of it at first. When It came my turn they just waved me in.

So I entered the establishment and walked around the bar to the other side so I could keep an eve on the door.  I ordered my usual: A shot of Jose Cuervo and a bottle of Corona with a lime wedge.

I got to noticing the way the bouncers were frisking the patrons. A guy would step up to the door and they would  frisk him and then they would wave him on in. A couple of girls would step up up and they would get waved through. A guy come in gets frisked. The girls get waved through.

As I’m watching this it slowly begins to dawn on me, hey! Wait a minute, I didn’t get frisked. What’s up with that? They must not have thought I was dangerous enough to frisk.  Now in Philly, it’s not enough to look tough. You got to look dangerous too. So this was beginning to bother me a bit and I was feeling a little slighted if not insulted.

I turned to my fellow barfly sitting next to me and relayed my tale of woe to him. He said, relax, they probably just know you.

Ohhhhh! Yeah! I never thought of that! Well, I felt a whole lot better then and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

I moved away from Philly a short while after that incident. First to Trenton then back home to Kentucky. It’s been about 10 years since I had been to Tony’s Way, but I always had fond memories.

Recently I had the opportunity to travel back to Philadelphia on business, and while there I wanted to visit some of my old neighborhoods and stomping grounds

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The first thing I noticed was the sign was down So I was’t sure if it was still Tony’s Way or not. I stepped into the bar from the bright sunlight and waited a few moments for my eyes to adjust to the light. I sat down on a bar stool and ordered a shot and a beer. I looked around and things looked pretty much the same. It was early afternoon so not too many people were in there. My eyes came to rest on a familiar character who was sitting across the bar from me reading a newspaper.

I  finished my drink and walked around the bar and approached the man reading the paper.

“You’re Tony aren’t you? I don’t know if you remember me or not but a few years ago when I lived in Philly I used to come in here. You were always very nice to me. I’m in town for a short visit and I just wanted to come by and say hello.”

“Yeah, I remember you,” he said. “Your hair was a little longer then. What happened to you?”

“I moved away.”

“Where did you move to?”

“To Kentucky.”

“To Kentucky?” He started laughing, Why’d you move to Kentucky?”

I explained I had family there and that was my home state, but he couldn’t get over the fact that I moved to Kentucky.

“Hey Angelina!. Come over here.” He waved the barmaid over. “This guy used to come here all the time, but he moved to Kentucky.”

“Kentucky?!!!”  Then she started to laugh.

She moved away from us and took another customer’s order who had just sat at the bar. And she told them what Tony had said and they laughed.  Then the people sitting next to them started laughing and shouted,  “Kentucky!” when they laughed. And pretty soon the whole establishment was laughing and shouting Kentucky! And no one was laughing more than Tony and me. But after a few minutes the laughter eventually died down, but it did not die down entirely for a long time for always at this table or that  a new area of laughter would begin.

I drank free that day.  Of course I suffered the next day from a hangover.  But it was definitely the best day of my trip.

LUST

The editors of WordPress have chosen “Lust” as the word of the day for my daily inspiration. I am happy to accommodate them with my own interpretation and inspired rendering of this volatile, combustible, and knocked out loaded word.

I take you to the lust capitals of the world, two sister cites really, which gives an extra added dimension to the word lust, if you catch my meaning.

So here we have visual evidence of the lusty nature of these two great cities: Philadelphia and Paris.

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A Philly stripper goes into the Candy Store for stripper supplies.

 

“Of all the worldly Passions, lust is the most intense.”

-Buddha

 

 

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Purple Orchid, Philadelphia

“She was perfect, pure maddening sex, and she knew it, and she played on it, dripped it, and allowed you to suffer for it.”
–  Charles Bukowski

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Ozz Gentleman’s Club, Philadelphia

“Lust is the source of all our actions, and humanity.”
― Blaise Pascal

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Club Ozz, Philadelphia

“I live for sex. I celebrate it, and relish the electricity of it, with every fibre of my being. I can see no better reason for being alive.”
― Fiona Thrust

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Sex Shop on South Street in Philly

“The world is divided into those who screw and those who do not. He distrusted those who did not—when they strayed from the straight and narrow it was something so unusual for them that they bragged about love as if they had just invented it.”
― Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

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Leather and Latex, Philly

 

“Lust’s Passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyrannizes.”

-Marquis de Sade

 

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Moulin Rouge in Paris where girls who can Cancan

“Lust is to the other passions what the nervous fluid is to life; it supports them all, lends strength to them all ambition, cruelty, avarice, revenge, are all founded on lust.”
–  Marquis de Sade

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Pussy’s Gentleman’s Club, Paris

“I can resit anything but temptation.”

– Oscar Wilde

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Sex Shop, Paris

“There’s something here, my dear boy, that you don’t understand yet. A man will fall in love with some beauty, with a woman’s body, or even a part of a woman’s body (a sensualist can understand that) and he’ll abandon his own children for her, sell his father and mother, and his country, Russia, too. If he’s honest, he’ll steal; if he’s humane, he’ll murder; if he’s faithful, he’ll deceive.”

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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La Diva, Paris

 “Only the united beat of sex and the heart can create ecstasy.”

-Anais Nin

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New Girl’s, Paris

“To have her here in bed with me, breathing on me, her hair in my mouth – I count that as something of a miracle.”

-Henry Miller

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Paris Museum of Erotic Art

 

All photos by me.

 

The Gates of Hell

“Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

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Th Gates of Hell, Auguste Rodin

The Gates of hell is a sculpture by Auguste Rodin that depicts a scene from Dante’s The Divine Comedy. There were three bronze casts made; they reside in The Musee Rodin in Paris, The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, and the National Museum of Western Art in Ueno Park, Tokyo.

This photo was taken in Philadelphia.

Bridge

Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I have always loved bridges….I have been photographing them my whole life. This in one of my all time favorite bridges in the world which spans the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden. Informally it is known as the Ben Franklin Bridge.   Work began on January 6, 1922. At the peak of construction, 1,300 people worked on the bridge, and 15 died during its construction. The bridge opened to traffic on July 1, 1926, three days ahead of its scheduled opening on the nation’s 150th anniversary. At completion, its 1,750-foot span was the world’s longest suspension bridge.

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NUTCRACKER

 

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Once upon a time in a land far away

In the country of New Jersey

I endeavored to to take my Jersey wife to the ballet.

We also took along my mother-in-law for the ride

Whom I deemed Mother Nature

And we crossed the river to the Philly side.

And there for one brief shining moment

There were two ball busters at the Nutcracker.

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Snow Queen

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Sleeping Beauty

It was a fairy tale romance…..

Philly PD

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When I moved back to Kentucky a few years ago I got into the car business for a while to make some quick easy money. I did this for a few years with a little time off to do some teaching in the Jefferson County School System.

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One day while I was at the car lot a customer came in and said he wanted to take a look at that Land Rover we had on our lot. I said sure and proceeded to show it to him. During the course of our conversation I noticed a medallion hanging around his neck from a gold chain. I recognized the symbols on the medallion and I asked the man, “Say, were you ever a Philadelphia Police Officer?”  “Why, yes,” he answered, “But I retired from the force to move down here.”

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“Oh, I see. Well, I lived in Philly for 18 years and I recognized the medallion. What made you decide to move to Kentucky?”

“The cost of living is much cheaper here,” he answered. Which is true. “And I got a job teaching kids with learning disabilities here in Louisville. It’s an easy $50,000 a year. You should give it a try.”

“I just might,” I answered. Little did he know he was the inspiration for my short lived career as a teacher.

As we got to know each other a little better during the demonstration process he let me know that he also did a couple of tours in Iraq.

“Wow!” I said. “Let me ask you, I just have to know, what was more dangerous, Philly or Iraq?”

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Without an instant’s hesitation he said Philly. I smiled because I was pretty sure I knew the answer to the question. I thanked him for his service. I didn’t sell him the car, but I got a good story out of the deal.

 

 

 

 

Tony’s Way

Tonys way

Tony’s Way is a little Puerto Rican bar nestled below the El in the Frankfort section of Philadelphia. I used to like to stop by here on my my home from an excursion into Center City. It was a great place to have a shot of tequila and a Corona. Shot and a beer. Shot and a beer!

One afternoon I was there and Tony came over to greet me. He smiled broadly and extended his hand and gave me a firm and friendly hand shake. “Welcome to Tony’s Way! If ever anyone gives you any trouble here you see that large gentleman over there in the corner? That’s Ricardo. He’s my cousin. Just call him over and he will take care of it. You see that other dude over there in the other corner? That Eduardo. He’s my other cousin. He can help you too. Enjoy!” Then he walked away to talk to the other customers.

One night I stopped by to see if there were any Puerto Rican girls there that were dying to meet me. As I approached the place I saw that there was a short line to get in. There were two attendants at the door greeting the customers. I noticed they were frisking the guys and letting the girls go on in. When it came my turn they just waved me in. I proceeded to the other side of the horseshoe bar so I could keep an eye on the door. I ordered my usual shot and a beer and watched as the bouncers continued to frisk the guys and pass on the girls. Then it slowly began to dawn on me that, hey! They didn’t frisk me! How come? The only thing I could come up with was that they didn’t consider me dangerous. Now in north Philly that could be hazardous to your health. So I sort of was conflicted about the whole thing and took it as kind of an insult. I asked my drinking companion to my left what he thought about it and he said, “Well, maybe they know you.” “Oh!” I said. I hadn’t thought about that!” So I felt a lot better about it after that and I finished my drink in peace.

Another time I took a Puerto Rican friend of mine there who was visiting from New York. Thought she would like it. Wrong! She was one of those high class New Yoricans and she didn’t really like those little neighborhood dive bars like I did. But she didn’t like J Lo either. Go figure! What are you going to do?!