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Friday, March 11, 2011

My First Time


Many years ago when I was
17 and a college freshman, I
met a guy named Kevin.
One day after we had known
each other about a month he
showed up at my Friday
Ancient Art of the Near East
class.  How he knew I had this
class or where it met is still
a mystery to me but that's the kind
of guy Kevin was, he probably
had a contact in the Registrar's
office.  So, Kevin said he just checked
out a State van and had to return
costumes to Ruby's in Queens and
I should join him.  It was a Friday
afternoon and I had no plans so I said yes.

We made our way to Queens in
a rattling old State van, I don't
think it even had a passenger
seat, I think I sat on a chair and
had to hold on so I wouldn't go
flying into the back of the van.
As we were heading back to school
we were on 42nd Street near
Times Square in Friday afternoon
rush hour traffic when Kevin
asked me a question about
Wo Hops.  I said I had never been
there, he looked at me in horror
and made a U-turn - on 42nd
Street - in Friday rush hour
traffic - and we headed downtown
to Chinatown.

Kevin took me to Wo-Hops and
introduced me to Lemon Chicken.
We ate and talked and laughed
for hours, and that was the moment
we really became friends,
partners in crime...

Wo Hops was open 24 hours
and there could be a line at
4am.  It became an institution
among our circle of friends.
Late at night we would be
leaving the theatre and one of
us would get an idea to "kidnap"
some friends from the dorm
and take them to Chinatown.
They would have to go in their
jammies.  When friends went to
Wo Hops they would always bring
the leftovers over to my apartment
at Clove Road since there would
always be a crowd there.
I think Chris H. taught us to drive
33 miles an hour down 7th Ave.
and we wouldn't hit any red lights.

We often followed Wo-Hops
with a chaser of exotic ice cream.
Wo Hops is still part of my life,
and so is Kevin though we rarely get
to see each other these days. 
But plans are in the works
to meet up the next time I'm
in NYC.  I'll be flying into JFK
from Hong Kong on July 5, so
Montclair friends, keep your
calendars open...


  1. He had a key to the Registrar's office...

  2. I think this was also the time that I missed the turn off of Houston Street towards Mott Street and we went across the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn, where we made a U-Turn on Flatbush Avenue. And there was no passenger seat in the van, but we took one of the nice upholstered chairs from the Studio Theatre.

  3. From big brother:
    I was going to Wo Hop 12 years prior to this "discovery" of this place as a tech student.

    In 1985 I took on an assistant, a tech theater student from Montclair who needed #1 some $$$ and #2 experience. I asked him where did the tech crowd go for late night grub. He exclaimed
    "A new place in Chinatown....WO HOP"
    I guess that every tech theater generation has the same taste for late night eats!


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