Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Portugal vs. Spain: A Riotously Good Time in Newark

Since our last soccer pilgrimage to Newark was so successful, we decided to do another, and we didn't feel like we were pressing our luck because Newark's murder-free streak is over--which is a relief-- how long can you keep something like that up?  In a sense, a murder free streak in Newark is exactly like a 0-0 soccer match, you know something eventually has to give, and the tension is unbearable.

We weren't going to the new soccer stadium in Harrison via Newark this time-- this time Newark was our destination: the Ironbound neighborhood in particular, which has a huge Portuguese population.  We thought it would be a fun place to watch the Spain Portugal game, and it was.


Since Terry and I weren't murdered on our last trip, we were able to coerce a few other people into going: Ed, Stacey, and my wife.  Terry is on the far left in the picture above, and he is fascinated by this stuff called "beer."

My wife, Terry and I took the train from New Brunswick, and-- as instructed by TR, The Official G:TB Drunken Public Transportation Correspondent-- we drank some of these "beers" on the train ride, but we did not overhear anything as fantastic as this.  In fact, our conversation was the exact opposite of that one; we ran into our neighbor Roman, who is a medical doctor, and we talked about liver transplants and blood clots.  Not very sexy at all.

Digression:  you know what is NOT funny to say on the train when you are a teacher on summer vacation?  "What are all these people doing on this train? And why are they all dressed up?  Oh, that's right, they have to work."  We're lucky they didn't beat us up and take our benefits.

Our first stop was Iberia Peninsula, which is a rather touristy place on Ferry Street.  Ed and Stacey were enjoying a bucket of ice cold beer in the outdoor seating area, which was festive but loud as all fuck, so Terry, Catherine, and I decided to do a recon mission and scope out a number of bars that were rumored to be "soccer joints."

After a bit of walking , we found ourselves in a Brazilian neighborhood.  How could we tell?  Brazilian flags.  Boi Na Brasa looked promising and a bit quieter than Iberia Peninsula . . . but as we closed in we realized it was too quiet.  There was a tent and outdoor seating, but it was abandoned. Why is it abandoned? we wondered. There's soccer afoot.  It took us a moment to unravel the mystery: the tent was for Monday's game . . . the Brazil game.  Brazilians, despite speaking the same language, don't give a fuck about the Portuguese soccer team.  I guess when you are Brazilian it's hard to deign to watch any other team.  But here is the great thing about America:  you can walk from Portugal to Brazil.  Next World Cup, we know where to head for the Brazil games-- East on Market Street.


We tried one last spot:  The Madrid and Lisboa Restaurant. This place appealed to Terry because he wanted to root for Spain, and he figured at a place with both Madrid and Lisbon in the name, you could root for either team.  He was wrong.  The place was perfect, as long as you were rooting for Portugal.  For the sake of G:TB, I conducted a short interview.  I asked the little dark-haired bartender:"Are you for Spain? Or Portugal?"  She said, with contempt for my questions: "Portugal," and scurried away-- the place was way to busy to answer idiotic questions like that.


The place was packed, and the atmosphere was soccer oriented yet festive, so I stepped into a back room and called Ed and Stacey to give them directions. I used my cell phone (these things are pretty excellent and very convenient in a situation like this one) to convey this information and then I "texted" them the address so they wouldn't miss it.  In the old days, I would have used a "pay-phone" to call the restaurant and they would have "paged" Ed and Stacey, and then Ed and Stacey would have "written" the directions down on a "napkin," but those days are long gone.

When Ed and Stacey arrived, Stacey claimed she was a victim of "white racism" at Iberia Peninsula-- the wait staff ignored her because she didn't look Portuguese and she couldn't speak Portuguese.  They couldn't ignore us at The Madrid and Lisboa because we had three seats at the bar.  I'm not sure exactly how this went down, but when I returned from using my "cell phone," Catherine and Terry were sitting front and center, with a bar stool between them.  Apparently, when some guys got up (this was before the game started) Catherine slid in and grabbed the stool-- which some other guys were eyeing-- and when one of the guys said, "Are you serious?" Catherine said, "Yes" and sat down.  She was one of two girls in the place at the time, and the Portuguese are chivalrous, so the guy backed down. 

The game was a good one, and the Portuguese team hung in against mighty Spain.  They even looked dangerous at times. The bar was festive in the first half: people blew vuvuzelas and cheered for anything remotely pro-Portuguese (including an inadvertent kick to a Spaniard's face).


But the second half the bar almost became somber, and everyone watched the game intently, as if their seriousness could convey the gravity of the situation.


And after David Villa struck that perfect heel pass from Xavi Hernandez and then scored on his own rebound, things got downright grim.  Even Terry began rooting for Portugal.  We were all desperate for an equalizer; we wanted to see these festive folk happy again, but alas, Spain was controlling play.  It was downright depressing, but then we remembered: we had seats at the bar!  We ordered more sangria, more buckets of Sagres, and more food.  And it's hard to be depressed when they bring you one of these . . .


It's actually called what it looks like: a "flaming sausage." I won't even bother with the jokes.  If you can't think of your own, ask T.J. for help.  He's not an expert on "flaming sausage" per se, but he knows a great deal about each word individually.  

The game ended and everyone filed out to smoke, but we stayed to finish our Sagres and to enjoy the post-game quiet.  And that's when I saw him. A genuine celebrity sighting!  Here in the Ironbound, in Newark!  Which made perfect sense. What better place to escape your celebrity?  You could vanish into the ethnic neighborhoods and do your own thing.

There he was . . . just outside the bar, through the window . . . Danny Devito!  Wait . . . maybe not.  But it was certainly The Portuguese Danny DeVito!  Or maybe not.  My wife didn't really see it, and maybe I had consumed too much sangria, but if it wasn't The Portuguese Danny DeVito, than this guy looked like somebody.  I got everyone to agree to that.  This guy looks like somebody. Here he is: you make the call.


After the game the Spaniards came out of the woodwork and started parading around the streets, but Terry observed that it seemed to be a "friendly rivalry."  It was a riot, but not a real riot, like the old days.


So, in short, we had a great time in Newark.  There may have been some "white racism" but we were treated pretty well, and most importantly, we weren't murdered.  In fact, we felt quite safe, even amidst celebrating Spaniards.  The city didn't seem particularly dirty or seedy.  For example, we didn't see anyone smoking crack.  In fact, the only crack we saw was this one.

64 comments:

T.J. said...

See, it was a great read...and then you had to go and end it that way. What are you, David Chase?

d-train said...

i say ed asner, much more so than danny de vito

zman said...

The second photo of Newark Portuguese Danny Devito could be captioned "I love you johnnycakes" but I guess the caption game only applied to the last post.

T.J. said...

Zman, it's free form Wednesday...have at it.

T.J. said...

Saw REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar last night at Wolftrap. Pat Benatar absolutely slayed...if that chick is 57 she has Dr. Anthony Galea as a physician.

T.J. said...

The "Commuter Pain Index":
http://bit.ly/cEeyF2

zman said...

There are only two civilized ways to commute: by foot or by boat. You're never stuck in traffic either way (unless Obama's in town and you live in a logistical clusterfuck). I suppose you could lump helicopter in there too but it's noisy and you have to wear those earmuffs.

Dave said...

ed asner! that's who he looks like . . . the Portuguese ed asner! that was torturing me.

thanks d-train

TR said...

I thought of Asner immediately. Amazed you didn't come up with that, Mr. Truck.

But Danny Devito is a Jersey boy, so it would make sense he would keep it real in Newark, especially because he grew up in Asbury Park. Devito is good friends with Phil Villapiano, who some of you may remember as a linebacker on the Super Bowl XV champion Raiders squad. Not sure if Devito or Villapiano rolled with Lester Hayes much.

Free form Wednesday!

Igor said...

Free Form Hump Day!


IGOR!!!!

T.J. said...

Oh man...it's it free form Wednesday, I fear for all of you what may be posted next...

Igor said...

Teej, how was the Speedwagon? Is Kevin Cronin still rockin it with the 'stache?

T.J. said...

Benatar > Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin has become even more preachy/effeminate/irritating than ever.

Igor said...

Preachy? What, did he tell you to turn some pages, maybe roll with the changes? Did he tell you that you take it on the run, and if that's the way you want it then he doesn't want you around? That bastard.

T.J. said...

Yes, yes...he actually sounded like a televangelist half the time.

And showing montages of your band from 1980 while you crank out stuff off your new album is not a way to win me over.

Igor said...

Come on, boys, let's huddle up. Gonna be a great show tonight. We're sounding tight, feeling great, let's rock this audience's socks off and give these people what they really want. And if we're lucky, if it all comes together for one magical night, we just might even win over that pasty drunk guy in the audience named TJ.

Okay, hands in . . . . ready . . . Speedwagon!!

zman said...

How much did you pay to see REO Speedwagon?

Igor said...

(TJ, round down to answer that question.)

T.J. said...

I think lawn seats at Wolftrap are like 25 bucks.

Igor said...

What zman will explain to you is that instead you could have seen a no-name blue-eyed soul singer who looks like the love child of Doogie Howser and Rivers Cuomo (but he's so much more legit than Rivers Cuomo that washed-up poseur loser) and has the voice of an Otis Redding with the songwriting skills of a Bill Withers but who's keeping it real with the 110th Street soul sound with some hip-hop flavor on the R&B tip, and you could have seen him kick out the sound at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn for $13.50. Poor you.

rob said...

did igor just call someone a music snob? that's some shameless shit right there.

zman said...

Most of Igor said is true (I would substitute Smokey Robinson for Otis Redding), although I really asked because I know a guy who paid $80 to see Def Leppard (and another $40 for a t-shirt) at the Comcast Center in Mansfield MA and I'm curious (and jealous) about how much money middled-aged rock stars make off of their old music.

d-train said...

on the way home from the mines last night, i heard a version of brick in the wall by keller williams. it's bluegrass stuff. it was timely b/c there had been some references to said song yesterday. i highly recommend you give it a listen.

d-train said...

reo was one of my first fave bands as a kid. take away keep on lovin you, and the high infidelity is a rockin album. i always thought your man cronin may have had some tendencies going the other way? is he a bona fided hetero? has anyone here smoked his pole?

Dave said...

you can tune a piano but you can't tuna fish.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha heh heh heh hee hee hee . . .

d-train said...

http://tinyurl.com/2andga2

Dave said...

and i was a little cloudy when i made the "celebrity sighting" and a little cloudy when i wrote the post this morning . . . summer vacation.

but i will say that g:tb has rid me of self-consciousness with my camera-- i now have no problem snapping pictures of random people b/c i am a "journalist."

T.J. said...

I hope tomorrow to post a picture of the most ridiculous "bro" I have seen yet...I guess being a "bro" means wearing an outfit that makes even the Teej want to punch you in the face.

TR said...

Did The Teej just go racist on us?

T.J. said...

No, no, TR...I'm talking the kinda "bros" that ice other "bros".

d-train said...

the brohsome! kind

zman said...

I believe they are "brahs" not "bros."

TR said...

Ohhh. You mean this kind of bro:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmpsfySm3b0

TR said...

Wrong youtube link. I meant this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEJ5bfuBehs

KQ said...

For those of you not watching, here is this morning's Wimbledon update:

Federer - out.
Williams sisters - out. (doubles)
Ben Stiller - looks like he's wearing a rug.

Greg said...

The guest: Marlon Brando
The book: "Songs My Mother Taught Me"
The cookies: Probably excrement

Igor said...

Rob, I was ready to fully acknowledge that I am a music snob except I remembered that Dave accused me on this blog of being the Mikey of music and that I never met a band I didn't like, which is the opposite of music snobbery. What gives?

Same with beer. Love the Dale's, love the Schlitz, and many, many beers in between. Many times I'm utterly indiscriminant. Beer snob, you say? Pshaw.

Wait for it...

Oh, but boy bands, Michelob Ultra, Boston, Rolling Rock, Jethro Tull, any beer that's cider, Yes, Coors Light (sorry, dudes), that shitty faux emo radio drivel of the new millennium, and most anything that uses AutoTune can go fuck themselves and their housepet. They suck. Jack, don't they suck? They suck.

Yeah, okay, I'm a snob.


IGOR!!!! Just being IGOR!!!!

d-train said...

there's nothing wrong w/ciders. they're very refreshing. same with Color Me Badd!

zman said...

Bon Iver uses AutoTune.

zman said...

Was TR's bro video filmed at W&M?

TR said...

I don't mind cider. Rolling Rock is not that terrible, but it's hit or miss, like many other green bottle beers tend to be. I struggle nowadays with really bad canned beer, unless I'm drunk.

I love love love me some Miller High Life in a bottle. It's my favorite of the big domestics in a bottle.

d-train said...

mgd in a bottle too....hmmmm yummy.
in a can: tecate - numero uno

zman said...

High Life bottles is the bomb.

(NSFW)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5odrtwNoTW0

TR said...

So Koby Clemens is aa AA all-star. He's 23 years old and has legit power. Hit 22 HRs in 121 games last year and has hit 16 in 73 games this year. He will participate in a home run derby and Rocket will pitch to him.

I want that family to go away.

d-train said...

you chaps remember the little high life pony bottles? those were way nice. brohsome in fact. today, maybe not so much, but when learning to imbibe at the young age of 13, they were quite suitable.
as you were.

d-train said...

how's elin doing? she lawyered up well no?

http://tinyurl.com/34nrwmt

zman said...

Wow. She must know some other serious stuff to make her silence worth three quarters of a billion dollars.

d-train said...

that's some pretty good coin. she probably won't have to work again.

now, how does that work - that $ has already been taxed once - does she get taxed on it once she receives? let's go to g:tb's legal correspondent for clarification....who is our legal correspondent?

TR said...

The assets were in accounts of one married person. Transferring them to another account, or transferring ownership of homes, shouldn't be grounds for paying taxes.

T.J. said...

Zman and Mayhugh are the legal team, TR appears to be the swing coach...and rob is of course the fluffer.

Mr. Truck said...

i listened to some thing on NPR, and pretty much everyone uses autotune (except greasetruck)

it's just a matter of how much you use it.

igor's taste in beer, music and women: insanely broad.

MR. TRUCK!

TR said...

Are we still holding on to the "I don't think he is/was a juicer" story?

http://espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?playerId=4574

Igor said...

Yes. Give me a beered-up girl dancing to Greasetruck (who needs AutoTune more than ANYONE), and I'm hers for the night.

zman said...

I imagine that Tiger doesn't hold all his assets. He likely has some sort of "Tiger Woods LLC" entity that holds his investments. I have no idea how this impacts things. But either way she's getting a metric shit-ton of cash.

TR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TR said...

So is she now officially the world's greatest MILF? Or still second behind Mrs. Stifler?

T.J. said...

That douchebag Whitney is censoring people again.

T.J. said...

The world's greatest MILF isn't Peg Bundy?
/confused

zman said...

I think she's still behind Mrs. Bryden.

T.J. said...

I wish Boner would visit G:TB. He could be our legal counsel.

Squeaky said...

I think this settlement will drive the tabloids to dig deeper into Tiger's after hours entertainment. You got to think there are even more skeletons in his closet if he is parting with $750M to keep his ex-wife silent.

d-train said...

i think elin was pretty near the world's greatest milf even prior to the motherload. she makes me feel kinda funny.

Squeaky said...

Damn it, cure for Camel toe.

http://tbz.me/iW6lz

Thank god, I can still laugh at moose knuckles.

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