Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Vroom, Vroom, Vroom!

For sheer joy, not many things can beat a motor scooter, fewer things can beat a motor scooter with a side car, and very, very, very few things beat a motor scooter with a side car that's lipstick red with chrome trim!

It all started when, in staid old midtown, Valerie spotted this wonderful contraption. Normally, there would be a moment of wonder and reverence, maybe a minute to compose a commemorative photograph to post to the blog, and then back to the business at hand because the owner would be anonymous. This time, however, there was a huge decal on the front of the scooter. BAR AND BOOKS, it read. Bar and Books is a small chain of bars where patrons can savor not only drinks and literature, but cigars and cigarettes. That evening, Valerie visited the midtown branch, asked a few questions, left a business card, made a few phone calls and connected with general manager Adriana, basically begging her to let us pose on the scooter. We are delighted to say that they agreed and a few weeks later, we had this gleeful encounter with modern machinery. We should probably reveal that we told the owner he could keep the ignition key in his pocket. We did not intend to ride it (although that would have been great), we explained - we only wanted to give free reign to our vehicular fantasies.

Below, Valerie indulges in a Bar and Books brand cigar, thoughtfully provided by the management.  Jean's driving, so she has to keep both hands on the handlebars.

Dressing for the occasion was fun. We already had two different sets of matching helmets.  Jean found the Union Jack motorcycle jackets one day at Patricia Field's on the Bowery. They looked so punk that Valerie bemoaned not having found them in time for the Punk show at the Metropolitan.  But Jean, smiling wryly, pointed out that they would be absolutely perfect for the then still percolating scooter gig. Sheer genius! Just yards away from the jackets, we found our goggles, complete with wings. Brown wings would never do, we thought, so Jean flecked her wings with gold and Valerie painted hers silver.  We couldn't make up our minds about the helmets, so we wore both types. Here, we're wearing our felt flapper cloche hats designed by Carol Markel.

What's that up ahead?


Look, ma, no hands!

Of course, scooters are guy magnets, but you already knew that, right?

Usually, we take each other's picture, or buttonhole a passerby to photograph us.  For this little escapade, we needed someone who would take a series of pictures, in focus, with a sensibility similar to our own, so we asked Rolly Robinson, graphic designer for StyleCaster, and were soooooo happy when he agreed to help us out! Here, Rolly hitches a ride and joins in the fun.

Here we are wearing our serious pink rubber Mowawk-spiked helmets which regular readers may recognize from our Citibike test drive blog posting.  Both seats have their attractions - control for the driver, il dolce far niente (delicious idleness) for the passenger, so we had to try both.

Ajay, the Bar and Books manager who kindly agreed to give us this wonderful opportunity, asked if he could photograph us with Bar & Books cigars.  Here, we channel our best Winston Churchill.  (Yes, we know he never wore the Union Jack in public.  It's the spirit of the thing.  And anyway, how do we know he didn't have a Union Jack bathrobe?)  Note that neither cigar is actually lit.  That close to Winston we didn't quite get.

In order to take these head-on photos, Rolly, our intrepid photographer, had to synchronize his jumps out onto Lexington Avenue with the stop light on the corner and the traffic flow. We are happy to report he emerged physically unscathed.

We were having so much fun that Ajay got into the spirit of the moment, donned Jean's helmet and goggles, and posed for a photograph outside the establishment, after taking quite a few photographs of us himself.  The gilt goggles work really well with his tie.  Ajay, thank you so much for making our day!  (And thank you, Genuine Scooter Company, for manufacturing this little marvel.)

Do not attempt this at home, ladies and gentlemen! Trained professionals at work! (Okay, trained Silly Persons.)

People who were passing by in cars and on the sidewalk seemed to get a kick out of our harmless fun. We got a lot of thumbs up and smiles and honks from drivers who were driving past on Lexington Avenue at rush hour.

After we'd taken a gazillion pictures and the sun had begun to set, of course we headed inside Bar and Books for some of their fabulous cocktails, and a mouthwatering plate of charcuterie.  We visited two branches of Bar and Books, and in neither did we have to scream to make ourselves heard.  A big plus, and a rare find these days.  For the adventurous, Bar and Books has a branch in Prague, and will soon have a branch in Krakow.

Well, dahlings, off to another adventure!  Ta ta!



  1. You guys always look like you are having a blast! What fun. I LOVE your Union Jack jackets, but thought you would have worn stars and stripes?

    Love looking through your blog and seeing what you "get up to!"

    Love from England,
    Rosemary of

  2. When you become rich instead of just famous, you must buy one of these - it is THE PERFECT mode of transportation for you two. Loved this set of photos; a smile-inducing start to the day! I am coveting your jackets....