Anybody want to come have dinner with me on the Upper West Side Friday night? I need to go to Seppi’s to say goodbye to the one man who’s always been there for me since I moved to New York in 2003: Danny Stiles.
Danny Stiles (above right, next to Jackie Mason) is a spry octogenarian who has a ridiculous old-timey radio show on WNYC-AM (yes, only AM) every Saturday night from 8-10pm. The official title of the show is Big Band Sounds, but Danny usually refers to it on-air as The Danny Stiles Music Museum, and to himself as the Vicar of Vintage Vinyl. He mostly plays rare recordings of showtunes and American standards, sometimes from movies, mostly from the 1930s and 40s. In between songs, he tells long stories, sometimes about movie stars, but mostly about his life and times in New Jersey and his sixty years in radio. Sometimes he forgets what he was talking about mid story. It is awesome.
I discovered Danny Stiles my first weekend in New York, in the summer of 2003. I listened to the show on long nights studying in grad school, whilst closing up the pasta factory that I worked at in 2004-2005, on dates, at the start of all-nighters working on my still unfinished book, and pretty much any Saturday night that I spent alone in New York, and there were a lot of them. I will still be able to listen to Danny in Los Angeles, on the internet, but it won’t be the same. Mostly because it’ll be at 5:00.
So, to get to the point: every Friday night at the restaurant in the Parker Meridien on W. 56th street, Danny Stiles basically does his radio show, but with a live band. It starts at 8:30, and this Friday night (my last before I move to Los Angeles), I’m going to go there around the beginning of his show to eat dinner and spend one last night with Danny. I have a couple other things I should be at later that night, so I probably won’t be there long, but if you want to come with me for dinner, and we know each other in real life (or don’t, but know each other well enough on the internet for me to not be scared to have you at my dinner table), let me know.