I spent much of Saturday sick in bed, not especially wanting to head downtown to review a new venue. Thankfully, I got a text from my friend Phillippe notifying me of his regular session at Paddy’s around the corner, where students from nearby Manhattan School of Music can be found on such nights. Fueled by the Seamless delivery of sushi from down the street and a three hour nap, I threw on a coat and mustered the energy to putter over.

The band consisted of Philippe Lemm (drums), Alex Goodman (guitar), and Sharik Hasan (keys), with many others sitting in. Seldom crossing paths with my music friends these days, I was instantaneously happy to see them and glad for the chance to be present. Though I’ll never have a shortage of friends between the non-musicians that want me to perform at their weddings and the musicians that find me resourceful, it’s good to hang out with people, even if only to exchange a few words and accompany them as they buy beef jerky and milk on the way home.

With its combination of bar games and live jazz, Paddy’s made me think of a tiny Fat Cat, only much more favorable because I could hear the music, save the occasional interruption from the skeeball machine, and didn’t feel suffocating with a crowd, even though it’s only a fraction of the size of the dive bar downtown. Beer brands and logos cover a great area of the bar, and even the mirrors in the men’s and women’s bathrooms.

Paddy's ladies sinkPaddy's ladies tp dispenser

Paddy's ladies trash binPaddy's ladies toilet

The two bathrooms outfitted with sinks, toilets, trash bins and various dispensers, all in black, were well-lit and neither disappointed nor exceeded my expectations. Each red door is clearly marked with the letter corresponding to the words, ladies and men. The space is small and uncomplicated in its configuration so you should have no problem locating the restrooms.

Paddy's mens roomPaddy's ladies room

Sharik, who hails from India, is fluent in English, French, Urdu, and Hindi. Philippe speaks Dutch, English, and likely German. And it’s possible that Alex speaks French since he’s from Canada. I learned that the Hindi translation of our key phrase is identical to the Urdu translation “Bathroom kahan hai?” from the last issue. Sharik tells us another way to ask “Where’s the restroom?” in Hindi 

Toilet kidar hai?

Metropolitan Room

We pick up where we left off last year on the jazz/cabaret scene heading downtown to Metropolitan Room. Excited to finally get to see Annie Ross of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, a vocalist I had idolized in my teens, and shivering from the biting cold, I rushed inside and was seated at a small table a week ago from today. Red velvet cake with tea seemed appetizing but I ended up ordering two drinks instead after the waitress clarified that the two beverage minimum excluded desserts and literally meant beverages only.

My worry that I would have to bother parties on either side of me during the show to go to the restroom after taking in so much liquid was unfounded; the slim glass cup for tea didn’t hold much water and the other drink, which had a curious taste of having been juiced from oranges about to go bad, was filled with mostly ice. Though outfitted with elaborate chandelier lamp shades and glittering decorations, it became apparent that the venue was penny-pinching in other areas. It’s the difference between thick, soft toilet paper and the kind you have to roll double the usual amount; all things being equal, the quality of paper is the real indicator of luxury in a place.

Follow the signs downstairs to visit the men’s and women’s restrooms. I try to avoid going on the heels of the show for fear of a long line out of the women’s room but I was relieved to find it empty. Take note that there are three toilets in a row, even though with the handleless door closed it can look as though the middle stall is bolted shut. There are two sinks clearly visible and well-illuminated by a row of dressing room light bulbs.

To the Metropolitan Room restroomsThere exists a middle stall.

Metropolitan Room women's toiletMetropolitan Room women's

Jimmy Wormworth (drums), Neal Miner (bass), Warren Vaché (cornet), and Tardo Hammer (piano) accompanied Ms. Ross through an entertaining set of classic standards. She charmed and spoke her way through songs, able to engage me more than singers with accurate pitch but little character. Maybe that kind of charisma is just something that comes with experience, age, and legendary status. I wonder what it would have been like to hear her in her youth, back when she had the limber voice that made “Twisted” a hit.

I had been meaning to go see Annie Ross at Metropolitan Room since I moved to New York. Now that I’ve crossed that off my bucket list, all that remains is Monday night at the Village Vanguard and the Gilroy Garlic Festival. I’ll think about making a longer list.

Ali from Lahore in Pakistan tells us how to say “Where’s the bathroom?” in Urdu —

Bathroom kahan hai?

The Carlyle

With the Great American Songbook as the soundtrack, I visualized the rabbits painted behind the bar in animated motion about the park, kayaking in a lake, hunting with a shotgun, and napping on a bench. These depictions of leisurely rabbit life in the city by Ludwig Bemelmans covered the antique gold-brushed walls, the columns surrounding the baby grand and the lamp shades on the tables. Served by a bartender suited in one of those red bellhop uniforms with gold buttons while taking in the place abuzz with patrons, you could feel the same kind of high experienced as a child on a carousel, but with the adult option of booze.

I felt as though I was on vacation, searching for my grandfather’s whisky among the bottles of spirits and daydreaming as the Loston Harris Trio played. I met Loston last month on Veteran’s Day, which happened to coincide with the Korean Pepero Day. We chatted in between sets and he asked about my Thanksgiving and whether I had a place to go for the holidays. Incidentally, last Tuesday when I saw him at The Carlyle was National Roof Over Your Head Day. I guess every day is a holiday with Loston.

The Carlyle hat and caneThe Carlyle androgynous profile

The Carlyle restroom doors, wide and narrowPlease flush twice at The Carlyle.

Make a sharp left after you step out of the bar to find the restrooms to your right. The door painted with a top hat and cane was significantly wider than the door painted with a profile of an androgynous head and a long neck with a visible Adam’s apple. I figured that the slimmer door led to the ladies room because I had the hat and cane door as a point of comparison.

Of the four stalls in a row, I first tried the one to the far right but moved one over to the left after seeing that the toilet was not fully flushed. The second from the right was missing a hook to hang my bag so I ended up using the one to the far left with double coat hooks, since the other unexamined stall was occupied. Though the paper towels held up to hotel standards, the thickness and quality of toilet paper disappointed. The restroom had Kleenex® brand tissue and four soap pumps for three sinks. You will likely have to flush more than once because the water pressure is weak.

The Carlyle ladies roomThe Carlyle ladies sinks

Loston Harris (piano/vocals), who was joined by Gianluca Renzi (bass) and Ian Hendrickson-Smith (tenor sax), continues his three-month residency at Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle through the final night of the year. He’s a true gentleman.

Alyssa from Luxembourg tells us how to say “Where’s the restroom?” in Luxembourgish —

Wou sin d’Toiletten?

The Jazz Gallery (Broadway)

Promised “spooky surprises” from pianist Glenn Zaleski’s “Halloween” Trio, I went despite the knowledge that Glenn would not be wearing a pumpkin costume. Other than sporadic onomatopoeic sounds from drummer Ari Hoenig and a spooky arrangement of Monk’s “Rhythm-A-Ning,” the trio did not deliver on its promise; however, it did surprise with an inventive performance of “All The Things You Are,” a rare arrangement in that the audience did not emit a collective groan at the song being covered yet again.

Jazz Gallery outletBassist Matt Clohesy completed the trio, bringing his years of experience playing in rock bands for kids, having opened for the likes of the Jonas Brothers and possibly even Miley Cyrus in the nation’s capital. Hailing from Australia, he is one of the trailblazers of the string of fine bassists from down under on the New York scene today. And Glenn—he confided that he sometimes uses the women’s room at Smalls because it’s like heaven compared to the men’s room.

The bathroom at the new location of the Jazz Gallery on Broadway felt homely, in a bare bones kind of way that was epitomized by the outlet on the wall opposite with a strip of black over it and a handwritten sign that said, “SPARKS WERE COMING OUT OF THIS OUTLET. PLEASE INSPECT.” An extra roll of heart-shape embossed household toilet paper rested on the toilet below the shelf with packs of industrial paper towels. A separate closet housed the toilet so that a person could use the adjacent sink even if the throne is occupied and a greenish drape covered the storage area across from the water closet.  Though I read that there were two public restrooms, I only noticed the one.

Jazz Gallery bathroom entranceJazz Gallery bathroom

Jazz Gallery toiletJazz Gallery storage

Located in an old building in the Flatiron District, the space surprised a couple visitors with its fifth floor instead of basement level occupancy and boasted unusually high ceilings for a space that functions as a jazz club. A music student sat in the modest foyer of the building to direct people up the elevator, while practicing guitar surrounded by his MacBook, music stand and space heater. That doesn’t seem like a bad gig, considering the difficulty of finding a practice room in this city.

With the exorbitant rent in Manhattan, it makes economical sense for the Gallery to share the space with a church, incidentally called Gallery Church. There are a number of churches hosting jazz events from St. Peter’s Church to Neighborhood Church of Greenwich Village, but the concerts at the Jazz Gallery differ in that they are run independently of the church supplying the space. Glenn runs concerts in an alternative venue too, along with his girlfriend/violinist Tomoko and invisible cat Stella, presenting their peers and the most promising young jazz artists in the cozy setting of their Brooklyn apartment.

Jazz Gallery paper towelsJazz Gallery loves you.

Jenny from Thailand tells us how to say “Where’s the restroom?” in Thai. If you’re male, make sure to change the last word to say “Hong nam yoo nai krab?”

Hong nam yoo nai ka?

B.B. King Blues Club

If there’s one thing I wish more jazz concerts had, it’s an arc governing the performance that unites the sequence of songs into one cohesive piece. With the exception of a few consummate performers, musicians tend to play one song after another, prefaced by some generic introduction that ends with “I hope you enjoy it.” That usually gets me thinking, “I hope this is the last song.” While every concert certainly does not need to be planned according to the golden ratio, I would appreciate the band making an intentional choice about the way their performance flows, instead of defaulting to a linear, static model.

BB King big dressing room bathroomJohn Scofield’s Überjam Band, whether by default or due to the nature of the music, upheld the jazz tradition of stringing tunes together with Avi Bortnick (guitar/samples), Andy Hess (bass), and Tony Mason (drums) on the first day of autumn. Scofield’s mouth opened and moved, as if he were singing and not his Telecaster, wailing through guitar solos and providing contrast to the ambient and at times hypnotic mood of the long set. My friend Adam informed me that Scofield has been using the same Ibanez for decades and only parted with the guitar for the Überjam album/tour. Albeit untouched, the Ibanez was displayed on stage, likely to fulfill an endorsement deal.

I looked around to the bar in the back and to the dance floor in front of the stage, where a small but growing crowd stood, many holding up phones to record video and take photos. I looked across the cramped communal table into the clueless libertarian eyes of my men’s room correspondent KMac and wondered how we are able to be friends and work together. Truly, JAZZ TOILET is an equal opportunity employer.

I put KMac to work in photographing the men’s room at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill while he complained that I’m a tough boss. I’ve been called worse.

BB King Mens urinalsBB King Mens room

BB King Womens roomBB King Womens toilets

The men’s room had two urinals and two stalls with toilets, one of which is wheelchair accessible. The women’s room had four stalls with one wheelchair accessible. The photos were taken before doors opened so they do not show the lotion and candy that the bathroom attendants maintain for tips, like in its sister venue, Highline Ballroom. B.B. King’s genial Drew showed us the bathrooms in the two dressing rooms backstage as well. The larger dressing room’s bathroom had bigger square black floor tiles instead of the colorful little ones in the other three. All were clean.

BB King small dressing room bathroomBB King small dressing room toilet

The venue is located in the heart of Times Square, half a block away from the subway station and across the street from Madame Tussauds wax museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium. Their dress code discourages shorts, though it didn’t seem like it would matter, and the conscientious waiter discouraged us from ordering the fried green tomatoes, which we ordered anyway.

Moses from Malawi translates “Where’s the toilet?” into his country’s common language, Chichewa —

Chimbudzi chili kuti?