Who's Frank anyway?
(click on the section titles to see pictures. Click on the Gold Text to go to Frank's American places)
I'm an Irish Italian Brooklyn Cowboy, born in the '50's. I was raised in Brooklyn, NY and spent an idyllic childhood in a quiet tree lined neighborhood. Brooklyn is a special place, renowned and ridiculed. My quiet neighborhood was a short bike ride from beach and a short subway ride from the center of the world, Manhattan. New York City was and still is, an eclectic mix of vibrant energy collected from all corners of the world . New York City shares that magical mix of a beautiful and safe harbor beckoning commerce, people, and culture to mix and mark it as a great city. It is a great place to grow up!
The subway, took us to the Village, Washington Square, and the Fillmore East. The city nurtured me and mixed me in a new stew of freedom and possibility. I started listening to the Grateful Dead, Merle Haggard, and The Country Gentlemen and went looking for America. I played music in noisy bars and thumbed across the country with SunnyLand and The Sun Hill String Band. I spent time in California and the Rocky Mountains. Along the way we stopped off in Nashville. Click the link to see Brooklyn Cowboy's lyrics. I wrote the song in 1974 after returning to NY from Nashville. While I was away, my city was slowing decaying. By the mid 70's the city I loved had lost it's luster. The bankruptcy of the city in '75 signaled it was time to move on. Like Mr. Kotter I dreamed of my ticket out.
When I finally got it, I moved to the suburbs of Wash, DC, "the bluegrass capitol of the world". There I got my first real job, raised my family and played lots of bluegrass. As fate would have it, before to long I ended up in a "Levit" built suburban town, Bowie, Md. Modeled after the original Levittown in Long Island, it featured 4 house styles. Very Pleasant Valley Sunday! But like the Brooklyn of my youth, it was quiet and tree lined, and close to another bustling metropolis. It was a great place to raise a family. I settled down to a steady job and began a much more lucrative and musically rewarding seven years playing bluegrass with other parents who had day jobs. Known first as The Takoma Valley Band we later became Nothin' Hokey. We could bring our kids to the gigs, and we did, as we played in parks all over the DC area. I discovered bluegrass and re-discovered the fun of playing music in the DC area. I owe much to the people I played with there.
DC during the Reagan years was a interesting place. During this time I worked for Savin Corporation, and repaired copiers all over the DC area. As a copier repairman, I traveled the corridors of the Pentagon, State Department, FBI, CIA, .............. and I got a chance to see the workings of our government in a way that few Americans experience. I saw the $1,000 hammers, but I also saw a lot of really dedicated people.
Like Mr. Kotter, as much as I had dreamed of my ticket out of NY, I missed the city, my friends, and my family. My life had taken personal and work related twists and turns, and as fate would have it, a Brooklyn girl entered my life. I transferred my job to Stamford Ct, and moved to Danbury, Ct where I currently reside. And I married that girl from Brooklyn and we now live happily ever after in our little house on top of the ridge. Living in Danbury, Connecticut I can now also claim to be a "Yankee". Connecticut is a beautiful state. Check out Mystic Seaport!
And New York City has become vibrant, pulsing, beautiful, and very much alive again. Now, Metro North takes me down the line to Broadway, Lincoln Center, and a very different city life. Ah age! The Philharmonic has joined the Grateful Dead in my repertoire of music loves.