The first time I walked into Gleason’s was in 1975. That was the old Gleason’s in Manhattan. The new-old Gleason’s has been around for about three decades. It has the same ambiance as the old Gleason’s. Not only does it have the same red walls but also the same smell that permeates Gleason’s. I’ve taken several hundred people there and they absolutely love it – as they should. It’s not only a piece of history but it’s also living history and, as we all know, a little bit of sweat equity never hurt anybody. Bruce Silverglade is the the current owner and his father before him was the previous owner. The original Bobby Gleason’s wasn’t Bobby Gleason’s at all- it was Bob Gagliardi. The reason Bob changed his name to Bobby Gleason is that the fight game back in those days was predominantly Irish. Wow, I wonder what Donald Trump would say about that? The Irish were rapidly followed by the Italians, then African Americans, the Hispanics, oh my god- everybody! That’s why they call it a melting pot! Gleason’s remains the oldest boxing gym in the United States. Every time I leave Gleason’s, I feel younger, stronger, and that my focus is better. I absolutely love it. It’s like going home. The purpose of my visit was to interview Khalid Twaiti. We have been following Khalid for the last 12 years. Khalid is a brilliant young man who will be graduating LIU with a major in business and he’ll be having his first professional fight on December 10th. Khalid expects to have three championship belts in three different weight classes within the next four years; I genuinely believe he will attain his goal.
I also had a great surprise at Gleason’s. I met Bruce Silverglade’s son, David, and David is cut from the same cloth as his dad. Extremely bright, well read, well spoken, and a tough S.O.B. – and that’s a good thing! We had a great one-hour conversation. David opened my eyes to a few things- let’s call it a little bit more education. You know what? It’s all good.Last but not least, it was great to see some old friends (even though they like to beat up on me!)
To all the ships at sea, Gleason’s will be closing their doors in early December… not exactly! They’re moving to a new location just a few blocks away from the current location. I’m looking forward to photographing it before doors open. I understand Bruce got a great discount on some red paint; I can’t wait. A new era will be born at the new Gleason’s and it will be as great as those before it.
When we closed our studio in Manhattan, and relocated to the Upper Delaware Valley, one of the problems we had was finding great models that had flexible schedules. I was extremely fortunate to run into an extremely beautiful young lady by the name of Luisa Weinstein. As it turns out, her husband Michael and I attended the same high school, Richmond High School, a couple of years back. Michael’s a great trial attorney and was the District Attorney of Pike County. While cleaning up an old file, I came across this photograph of Luisa, just thought I would share it with you. Luisa and I did several shoots where she was an actress, an airline attendant, an ER doctor, an EMS tech, the list goes on. The camera really loves her.
It never ceases to amaze me how small the world really is. JoAnne had an assignment in Manhattan the other day and I acted as her chauffeur. We make it a practice of never going on one another’s assignment unless the client hires both of us. That’s the only time we work together. She had a long, difficult day, but a great one. We were very close to a new restaurant to us called Barbuto‘s. JoAnne knew the chef from back in the day and the food was magnificent. Here’s something you need to know: There was no salt, no pepper, and no condiments on the table and I doubt anyone would ask for them. The reason is simple, they really know what they are doing. Everything was fresh, well seasoned and off the charts. At the end of the meal Jonathan Waxman, the owner of the restaurant, came over and wanted to make sure our dining experience was everything it should have been. Many chefs and many photographers get a bad wrap about egotism, but Jonathan was simply a sweetheart. We mentioned something about the west coast and I said to him “If you’re ever in San Francisco you need to visit one of my favorite restaurants, Tomassos.” He informed me that he went to Berkeley and has been going to Tomassos for decades and it is one of his favorites. Carmen, he loves your restaurant! So after a long day of photography, film-making, or just a casual stroll in one of the two greatest cities of the world, stop by either restaurant and mention my name. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a free glass of wine next time I’m in! To all the ships at sea, 2.8 and be there.