Bridgette Celine and her friends in The Fury hung out there. Stu Carlucci and Tina Rivera in Hezbollah got kicked out of there. Tommy Jackson and Orrin Rampersad in Transplant go there to commiserate between interviews. So how is it that author John Reinhard Dizon hasn’t been there yet?
“I haven’t been to Alphabet City since we last played there,” JRD admitted recently. “It’s on the top of my list for my next visit.”
Flashback to the Punk Revolution of the Seventies when the Dictators were among the top bands in Manhattan. The Spoiler was the Innovators of Punk in Brooklyn. Handsome Dick Manitoba and Broadway Turk Superstar were aspiring pro wrestlers. Lead guitarists Ross “The Boss” Friedman and Lou “The Wizard” Cazucci bore a strong physical resemblance. Both bands’ favorite cover song was “Search and Destroy”. The list goes on.
The bands rubbed elbows but were never destined to meet. Dick Manitoba opened a punk bar in 1999 bearing his name that remains as a tribute to the glory days of the venerated genre. When JRD’s writing career began its next evolution in 2013, he couldn’t think of a better place for his characters to hang out.
Manitoba’s website can be found at http://manitobas.com/ . There’s a large selection of beers, tasty food, great atmosphere, an eclectic crowd, a top-notch punk jukebox, and, of course, a chance to exchange barbs with Handsome Dick himself. Who could ask for anything more?
The Mad Doctors seem to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths – but what about the detectives on their case? NYPD Detectives Tommy Jackson and Orrin Rampersad are in the same boat. Tommy has a wife and two daughters, while Orrin has a wife and a son. All three children are in grade school. Both women are stay-at-home Moms, and their hubbies are bringing home $90K per year. How does that work for them?
Tommy lives on Prince Street just outside Greenwich Village. If you check out http://www.apartments.com/New-York/New-York , you’ll see that apartments average about $35K a year. Plus he says he spends $1,000 a year to park his Camry. That doesn’t leave him a whole lot of spending money. Orrin, on the other hand, lives near Delancey Street on the Lower East Side in an apartment building like the one pictured above. He pays about as much as Tommy per year. You’d think he’d be saving money, but…not in NYC.
$90,000 would be a pretty nice score in most places around the USA. In NYC, having to deal with Mad Doctors, chasing Dr. Cyclops, interviewing Patch and Combo, and then going home to be a good husband and father…New York’s Finest probably don’t get paid what they’re worth. You be the judge.
Transplant‘s Dr. Adam Rauch and the Mad Doctors may not be quite that mad. The rise in numbers of amputees around the world has resulted in tremendous breakthroughs in bionic limb research. Here’s an article about research sponsored by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Products Agency) in The Register discussing the progress of Staff Sgt. Glenn Lehman: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/01/darpa_bionic_arm/
TIME Magazine also reports the first mind-controlled bionic leg: http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/26/the-first-mind-controlled-bionic-leg-steps-into-reality
We also have the BBC’s account of Cpl. Andrew Garthwaite having his nervous system rewired to control his bionic hand: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/25331063
Although these procedures are highly expensive and still in the developmental stage, the day is coming soon when Mad Doctors won’t be relying on a Dr. Cyclops to help give patients a new lease on life.
For tourists, visitors and sightseers alike, Manna’s Restaurant at 486 Lenox Avenue near 134th Street is as close to the tastes, sights and sounds in Transplant as you can get. Known as a top-notch soul food restaurant, here’s Yahoo’s Restaurant Details:
“Manna’s Soul Food Restaurant is a family-operated business that serves as NYC’s finest soul food salad bar. In 1984, founder Betty Park opened her first restaurant in the Harlem neighborhood, a corner BBQ joint. Then in 1991, she opened Manna’s Soul Food Restaurant. Today Manna’s has four locations in Harlem, and all of them offer an extensive menu of hot and cold items designed to satisfy every hankering and craving. Manna’s Harlem soul food restaurants accommodate lunch and dinner guests from every borough as well as out of state tour groups (up to 50 diners at a time) in addition to offering catering services to feed your soul!” —Yahoo.com
As you can see by the photo, Manna’s is located in the middle of the ‘hood, and you’ll be able to experience the sights and sounds of East Harlem as you take in the scenery. The restaurant is located two blocks of 137th Street, the fictional location of the Mad Doctors’ lab. CAUTION: The 137th Street Gang is a real-life organization, and one would proceed with extreme discretion onto what may or may not still be their turf.
It goes without saying that dining at Manna’s is a safe and unforgettable culinary experience. Fried chicken here is highly praised as ‘legit’, while oxtail, collard greens and cooked cabbage will make you think you closed your eyes and woke up in the Deep South. If you’ve been on a lifelong search for that perfect Southern meal, Manna’s Restaurant is a dream come true.
Transplant‘s Django Tamsulosin will startle readers as a larger-than-life character, as demonic a figure as Dr. Cyclops himself. Only Django may be seen as a caricature of the real deal, Sixties drug racketeer Frank Lucas. By all accounts, Denzel Washington’s portrayal of Lucas in the Hollywood blockbuster American Gangster was a candy-coated account of the true-to-life Godfather of Harlem.
Lucas’ claim to fame was his achievement in circumventing the Mafia drug trafficking network. He made a deal with heroin manufacturers in the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia to purchase the product directly. He then smuggled it into America by hiding it in the pallets used in transporting the coffins of soldiers killed in action. Lucas bragged that he stashed the drugs inside the coffins, but the truth was not quite as ghoulish.
Most of the Tinseltown details of Lucas’ life was dismissed as ‘ninety percent Hollywood’ by his detractors, particularty claims that he was heir apparent of Harlem gangster legend Bumpy Johnson, and that he had risen above the Mafia in the American drug trade. Despite having the polish removed from his screen image, most insiders would agree that Lucas was a hardcore killer who ruled his turf by means of terror and murder. He was a ruthless adversary who rivals like the notorious Nicky Barnes held in high esteem.
Sound like Django Tamsulosin? Well, as they say, truth is stranger than fiction.