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My Very First Parking Lot


Last Sunday I hopped on the N train for a 90 minute ride to Coney Island’s MCU Park. There aren’t many reasons you would find me in Brooklyn, but Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and the rest of Furthur are pretty damn good reasons. So, I took a seat, plugged in the headphones, wore dad’s Europe ’72 shirt proudly, and enjoyed the ride. By 5pm I was stepping off the train with perma-grin across my face and a stomach begging for a cold beer and hot dog.

I met Greg, my fellow Deadhead co-worker, and his longtime friend at Nathan’s Famous for some pre-show fuel. Other than the shirtless crazy woman one table over, everyone seemed to be rocking a Grateful Dead or Furthur shirt. I felt similar to how I feel when I’m in the middle of Little Italy among fellow Italians – at home. But, the famous hot dog joint was not as homey as it would get. A few blocks down the parking lot thrived…

Hippie merchandise, open grills, fresh vegan burrito wraps, ice cold beer, old school buses, music, Deadheads abound… heaven on earth it was. What was most refreshing was when Greg told me the parking lot scene really hasn’t changed much (Greg’s been to over 100 Grateful Dead shows…oh envy!). I’m sure there are people who would say different, depending what era they experienced, but I have a feeling it’s more of a question of how much your own experience has or hasn’t changed. Everything is what you make of it, right? Whatever the case, the parking lot at MCU park was Deadhead bliss and I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

We strolled the lot for a while oogling homemade goodies and taking in the vibes. I kept wondering, ‘where are these people in my every day!? Why aren’t you around me all the time!?’. I’ve lived in New York City for five years now so, I’m pretty fond of and familiar with our diversity. Yet, it took me by surprise to see so many local Deadheads, or some genus of Deadhead, in one place. And the diversity of the crowd was pretty spectacular to be around. If you feel like an outsider here, you’re not seeing what’s in front of you.

This wasn’t my first time at a ‘Dead’ show. I saw The Other Ones in high school on two different occasions, but Sunday’s show was the first time I felt present. Some of this is owed to my choice to go [mostly] sober and some to my, albeit brief, time in the parking lot. At previous shows I somehow bypassed the lot and went straight into the venue. It was in the lot where I got to acknowledge everyone and recognize the place we were all about to go together. Without that, you might as well be at home listening through headphones. And when you have Bob Weir and Phil Lesh still live on stage surrounded by hundreds of passionate Deadheads sharing the same love, which would you choose, your iTunes playlist or the pre-show parking lot?

Next time, I’d definitely like to road trip it to a show and really settle down in the parking lot. Share some beer, turn on the radio, talk to the neighbors, get on the bus… hit the road… abandon responsibility…

K, I’m awake now.

I’ll stop myself from over-excited, senseless babble and make this post a two or three-parter. Later, I’ll share my first Furthur experience inside the walls of MCU which for me, felt like the first meeting between long distance pen pals. I hope you come back to hear the rest of my story and as always, I hope to hear your own stories. Comment below or email me at

“Sometimes we live no particular way but our own
And sometimes we visit your country and live in your home
Sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own”

Eyes of the World

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 06/30/2010 1:13 pm

    Good times! I have never seen the Dead, sadly, but we did see Dark Star Orchestra here a few years ago, which was an okay 2nd. Furthur is not coming anywhere near us on their summer tour!

    I thought about you last week– I wrote a blog post about a new beer I tried called Long Strange Tripel. :-)

  2. 06/30/2010 1:18 pm

    actually two beers – the other was Jockamo IPA from Abita Brewing. I’m all full of Dead beers!


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