Dad's Memories

Hijacked .... By the Local Fuzz - A Freeport "gig" Tale

- 28 June 2001 - 28 June 2001

One gig in particular still rankles me & merits a spot in the memory chronicles.

The locale -  Freeport, Long Island & an "upscale" beergarden.  Freeport - a "hicktown", then a fairly small fishing village on the South shore of Long Island Sound, about 35 miles out from Brooklyn.  The inland areas of Long Island were largely undeveloped in the early '30's - mainly large potato farmlands.

The "beergarden" - located a short distance inland from the center of Freeport, a fancy interior bar with an outdoor summer beer garden and a small dance floor - about 15' square.

The "gig" - Occasional Saturday night dancing, play from 8 PM to midnight@ $5 per - plus additional to stay on after midnight.  A 5 piece group "gig", piano, drum, trumpet, alto & tenor sax - $ 25 base plus $7 for an after hours set - depending on the croud on hand.

This Saturday nite we stayed on for an afterhours set and it was past 1 AM by the time we were all packed up in my fathers Essex Sedan for the trek back to Brooklyn.  We had to cross the LIRR tracks to get back to the highway home - the LIRR had a line that roughly paralled the shoreline.  Bumped across the tracks and at the junction of the highway were stopped by the Freeport police.

"You did not stop before crossing the RR tracks - that will cost you $25.  You can pay me now or go before the judge on Tuesday morning."

So ....... our treasurer (Alto Sax) counted out $25 from the nights receipts - in crummy one dollar bills - and handed that to one of Freeport's finest (PIRATES) - who bade us "stay put" while he repaired to his cruiser.  After a bit he returned, now it's well past 1:30 AM, and said we could go... and we drove cautiously out of the Freeport city limits.

Made our normal stop at the Greasy Spoon, a 24 hour Diner located at the junction of Flatbush & Nostrand Ave - the site of the last stop on the IRT Subway.  Had our usual late nite snack / early morning breakfast of Ham & Eggs, Taters, Toast, & Coffee - and settleup for our nite's work -

gig pay, $25 + $7                                        $32.00
car transportation                       $ 1.00
Botle of Old Orchard Wiskey      $ 1.00
New music "slush" fund              $ 1.00
late nite "snack" - for 5               $ 2.00
Tribute to the Freeport "pirate"  $25.00
Total expenses                             $30.00

nite's "profit" - to split 5 ways     $ 2.00  !!!!

Our Tenor Sax player was also a gifted pianist ... & between sets he would just doodle about on the piano.  With an empty beerglass atop the piano & a few "seed money" coins in it to encourage contributions, he'd just flow from one tune to another ... adding "super riffs" here and there ... he'd move to a vamp & let the left hand rumble away, listening so somebody's special request - nod "ok" & be off & running with their new tune.  He'd finish the nite with a pocketful of change in tips - mostly nickels & dimes - and we considered this to be his own private hoard.  This nite he emptied his pockets & dumpedover $3.50 in change on the table ... threw $3.00 into the group's kitty, and we each ended up with $1.00 for the nites work.

Now it's pushing 3 AM & I drove "Sticks" the drummer to his house, the others took the IRT Subway back to downtown Brooklyn where they lived & I too went home .... all of us unhappy with the Freeport "Hijacking".

We told the manager what we thought of "Freeport's Finest" ... next time we played that place.

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