- A brief "brush with greatness" for Steve! Can you name this current "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" star, pictured here with Steve?
Give-up yet? Well, it just happens to be one of my favorite people in this whole world, Maya Rudolph!!!
I have been friends with her dear father, Richard Rudolph(or, as he sometimes refers to himself, Ricardo Rudolph) for decades now, and Maya has been a part of my life as well. I have always felt like her adopted "uncle" or something. I cannot begin to tell you all how very proud I am of her talents and her current success. I am just overjoyed that this is happening for her, and for her father, and her dear brother, Mark as well. The photo was taken, to the best of my foggy memory, in '85 when I was in Los Angeles to play a concert with singer/songwriter Michael Franks, and we were rehearsing to add a duet song with the fantastic, Brenda Russell.
Of course, on a side note, the outrageous looking Strat in the photo is the very same one which was stolen in Chicago, along with our truck, which had been parked in front of the Lake Shore Drive Holiday Inn, just one year later, while on tour with Weather Update!!! Hey Steve, what's up with those shoes?
- On a side note, but still in the "brush with greatness" category, I am here to report the following, only in New York, recent and not so recent sightings and/or encounters!
 Actress Tamara Tunie filming something on location in the neighborhood. Wow! She's beautiful!!!
 Former New York Giants LB, Carl Banks on the subway. We had a great conversation, and he was a totally terrific person.
 Tino Martinez, Yankee 1B, walking down Madison Ave. during baseball season.
 CBS news anchor, Russ Mitchell, leaving an early morning showing of the wonderful film, "CRASH." We had a great conversation too, and have become friendly since then.
 Actress Kate Mulgrew with a group of friends having lunch at French Roast on the Upper West Side.
 Wynton Marsalis having dinner with his sons at a Japanese restaurant on Amsterdam Ave.!
 Actor Bob Balaban shopping in the local Korean Market.
 Economist Louis Rukeyser while walking down West End Ave. Sadly, he passed away not too long ago.
 Actor Jeff Daniels heading into Barnes & Noble unnoticed! He ain't no dummy!
 CNN commentator Jeff Greenfield walking down Broadway in front of Barnes & Noble.
 Bebe Neuwirth having an early dinner with an obnoxious friend at that same Japanese restaurant on Amsterdam Ave.!
 Michael Gelman(Producer of that mega-nebbish, Regis Philbin) walking across Broadway with his daughter.
 Journalist/Reporter Vicki Mabry having a business lunch at an outdoor Italian restaurant on Broadway near 65th St.
 Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick strolling up Broadway, with Kyra jabber-jawing on her cell-phone! Very rude!!! And, saw them a 2nd time more recently. No cell-phone this time!
 Local WNBC news anchor, Rob Morrison riding uptown on the #1 Subway! Just saw him again as '08 began!!!
 Stiller & Meara[Ben's parents] flagging down a cab on West End Ave.!
 Actor William Fichtner heading into one of our neighborhood gyms to work out.
 Newsman Forest Sawyer walking down Broadway with a lady friend.
 Local CW11 news anchor, Kaity Tong dining at Ollie's.
 CNN news anchor/reporter, John Roberts heading into the Essex Hotel on W. 59th St.!
 CW11 weatherman, Irv Gikofsky, a.k.a. "Mr. G." walking briskly on Columbus Circle!
 Actor/Comedian, Richard Belzer("LAW & ORDER: SVU") heading north on Broadway near 80th St.; which reminds me of an interesting and amusing Don Grolnick anecdote. You see, during the '80s when Don was stationed out in Los Angeles and residing at the Chateau Marmont while recording with Linda Ronstadt, he and Richard Belzer somehow became friendly. And, of all things, Richard asked Don to accompany him on piano during his stand-up act. And so, Don agreed. But, he not only played piano, he had also rented a snare drum and, issued various "rim shots" at the appropriate moments. Now, I never actually got to see this, but Don told me that it was quite hysterical!!!
 Actor/Comedian, Chris Rock blabbing on his cell-phone, about his "new screenplay," and slurping down a Jamba Juice near the corner of 86th and B'way!!! An awesome sighting just before my summer haircut!
 "TODAY SHOW" host, Meredith Viera walking north with her husband on the East side of Broadway near the corner of 82nd St.!!! Very nice couple!
 While going to see "THERE WILL BE BLOOD"(which stars Daniel Day-Lewis) at the Sony IMAX, in the lobby I saw "REEL TALK" co-host, and insane Boston Red Sox fan, Jeffrey Lyons. Without his sport coat on, it would seem that Mr. Lyons has been enjoying a few too many hot dogs at Red Sox games or too much movie 'food' at all the screenings he must have to attend!?!?!?!
 Sauntering along one of the numbered streets on the Upper West Side, I bumped into "NEW YORK TIMES" Op-Ed contributor, Frank Rich. I have enjoyed his writing about National and International events so very much. However, years ago, he was the Broadway theater critic for the same newspaper, and his reviews of my father's last musical, "LOOK TO THE LILLIES" nearly sent dad to an early grave! But Frank, all is forgiven!!!
 Walking back from the post office, and passing by Le Pain Quotidien, who should I see sitting there, having a casual business meeting? No one but the young actor, Ethan Hawke. I actually had to do a double-take, because I wasn't at all certain that it was him. But, it was!
 While riding back uptown on the #1 Local Subway in Manhattan, I happened to see former New York Islanders goalie and now New Jersey Devils TV color commentator Glenn "Chico" Resch. As usual, at first, I couldn't be certain, but, as the ride progressed, I was certain that it was him. What was he doing in Manhattan and riding on the subway? Who knows?
 While picking-up some soup to go in Artie's Delicatessen, I happened upon actor Matt Servitto, who plays Representative Donatello, the Speaker of the House, in Showtime's "Brotherhood." A pretty great series, by the way!
 It was so exciting for me to run into former New Jersey Net and New York Knick, Len Elmore, at one of my neighborhood bodegas. It gave me the opportunity to say, "Hell-o!" and, to tell him how very much I enjoy his no-nonsense style of broadcasting for college basketball. I told him that I love the fact that he does NOT have an "act" like all the other ESPN, video game-oriented morons! He was very, very nice, just as he appears to be during his work.
 While doing some mailings at my local post office, who should I espy standing in line with me? None other than the great film director, Sidney Lumet who is known for such great films as: "FAIL-SAFE"; "LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT"; "THE PAWNBROKER"; "12 ANGRY MEN"; "DOG DAY AFTERNOON"; and "NETWORK" just to name a few. I had the strange pleasure of working with him when, in 1978, we recorded the soundtrack for "THE WIZ" with Quincy Jones. It was very 'interesting' to hear Sidney deal with such personalities as Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and others!!! As I am certain that he never would have remembered me, I said nothing to him on this day!!!
 Running from his table at Ollie's Chinese Restaurant, "Pop Art" icon, Peter Max was rushing to answer his cell-phone, and then promptly returned to pay the bill.
 While taking two friends from Bogotá, Colombia on my guided tour of New York City, after viewing Washington Sq. Park and walking north up 5th Ave., we happened to spot actress/singer, Vanessa Williams filming something in front of a building. Just before that while walking in Greenwich Village, a woman started screaming that she had just seen actor, Jude Law walking down the Carmine St., but, as I did not actually see him myself, this does not count!
 And then, I was visiting Bogotá, Colombia, and I was having a nice, quiet dinner at one of my favorite restaurants there, Guido Murillo with my same two friends, guitarist, Julián Ávila, and his girlfriend, singer, Daniela Hernández when, all of a sudden, we saw actor/bandleader César Mora entering the restaurant next door, Pizza 1969 Gourmet. It was fun for me to see this recognizable face from the novelas, and thinking nothing of it, we continued to enjoy our meal. But, a few moments later, we saw Manuela González arriving, and suddenly, it became clear to us that this must be the premiere party for the new Caracol novela: "La Bella Ceci y El Imprudente." What a night!!!
 It's been awhile since I had an actual "brush" in New York City, but, while running to the post office in my neighborhood, who should I see seated at a sidewalk café but, none other than pianist, Brad Mehldau, I have actually never met him before, but I did stop to say "Hello!" and to introduce myself. He was seated, and talking casually with a woman, perhaps his wife, Fleurine? Perhaps not, but, I wouldn't know either way.
 I guess brushes come in bunches? While walking back up Broadway from the gym, I happened to see actor, Richard Kind strolling in the opposite direction, and carrying some flowers, no doubt to help celebrate Mother's Day 2010. Richard recently appeared as "Uncle Arthur" in my favorite film from the past year, the Coen Bros.' "A SERIOUS MAN."
 After a bit of a draught, I happened to spot MSNBC personality, Willie Geist sitting in the 5 Napkin Burger restaurant with his two young children, I assume.
 After yet another long draught, early this morning, I happened to see, and quite by accident, WCBS News anchor, Cindy Hsu walking down Broadway, no doubt returning home from a visit to her gym.
 Walking back in the freezing temperatures from the gym, I walked past Zabar's, and a man called out to me: "Hey, where did you get that hat?" I happened to be wearing my Miami Marlins New Era baseball hat to support my son Heath's team. And so, I turned around to face the gentleman and responded, "My son works for the Marlins!" To which he then said: "Oh, I own the team!!!" I almost died right there! It was Jeffrey Loria and his lovely wife, Julie. They both could not have been nicer. So, this was a most cosmic and enjoyable "brush with greatness" for this father!!! Go Marlins!!!
 Not too long ago, I was walking down the west side of Broadway, and a guy passed me wearing winter garb, plus sunglasses and a ski hat, but at that moment, I could have sworn that I had just seen actor Matt Damon! But, I said to myself, "Nah, no way, what would he be doing walking around up here?" Well, in the redoubtable NEW YORK POST from Friday, February 24th, 2012, on page 3, a little map was featured, and the caption was: "Stargazing Guide to Big Apple's A-listers"! The map shows where various "stars" live in Manhattan. And who should have an apartment on the Upper West Side? A-ha! None other than the aforementioned, Matt Damon!!! So, my eyes did not deceive me!!!
 While hustling up Broadway, trying to get to the movies, who should I see walking downtown? None other than, Steve Kroft! from CBS' fantastic 60 MINUTES!!! This happened on April 11th, 2013 and, it had been quite some time since my last brush with any form of greatness!!!
 Once again, while walking north on Broadway, I happened to see, Gary Apple, who presently works as an anchor for SportsNet New York, which is mostly associated with the New York Mets, and the New York Jets!!! I remember him as a local sports reporter/anchor for some 7 years at WCBS.
 Wow! It's been a LONG time since I had a 'brush' but on this Memorial Day 2014, I had a really great one while returning home from a lunch. I was approaching 84th St. near Broadway, and I had the shock of my life when I suddenly realized that I was right next to CNN's Wolf Blitzer! What a great thing that was!!!
 Not really such a big "Wow"! But, while returning from the post office, I happened to spot documentary filmmaker Michael Moore exiting his building. I had no idea that he maintained a home in New York City.
 I was sitting in Bella Luna, an Italian restaurant, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, minding my own business and having an early dinner, when suddenly, I thought that I recognized a familiar face, but partially hidden by a New York Yankees baseball cap. When he turned to the side to enter the restaurant, I really was uncertain because, in profile, his nose looked different!!! Are you laughing yet? Anyway, believe it or not, it was Bruce Willis!!!
 While walking down Broadway, near Zabar's, I happened upon former Cars frontman, Ric Ocasek strolling up Broadway. I have bumped into him before, but I always thought of him as a downtown person, the Village or Soho, so I was very surprised to see him on Manhattan's Upper West Side. But, there he was!!! How many guys could look like that?!?!?!
 It had been quite awhile since my last "brush with greatness" but today, in 2016, while returning from my neighborhood copy shop, I happened to see CBS2 News Weatherman, Lonnie Quinn strolling east on W. 83rd St.! That particular broadcast happens to be one of the most annoyingly chatty and "Happy Talk Local News"
presentations one can find. All part of the "news as entertainment" concepts which remains positively AW-ful!!!
 I'm going to sound like a broken record, but, as I write this, it has been over one year since my last "brush with greatness" on the streets of New York. Tonight, a beautiful night in early April, I was walking home on W. 83rd St. and there, right before, talking on his cell-phone and dressed in a rather crummy looking overcoat and hat was the ever-bearded star of HOMELAND," none other than, Mandy Patinkin!!! He plays Saul Berenson in the series, and, I must say, that Mandy was walking even more gingerly than Saul does now on the show. Having just seen the season finale a few days ago, it was a completely wild event seeing him!!!
 Once again, the unexpected has occurred! While doing my tedious, but glorious treadmill work at NY Sports Club, I thought that I had noticed actor Peter Strauss walking by, but I thought to myself, "Could that really be HIM?!?!?!?" He looked so young! After checking his Wikipedia page, it turns out that he was born the same year as me! Damn, I should look so good!!! Of course, I said nothing, and left him to do his work in peace!
 While scurrying home from seeing the latest Steve Coogan-Rob Brydon film, "THE TRIP TO SPAIN," I emerged from the subway, crossed Broadway, and began to walk down from 86th St., and who should I spot? Wow, none other than Constance Shulman, known to many as "Yoga Jones" on "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK." Yes, when one least expects it, there it can be, another brush with greatness!
 Just now, as I was walking home up Broadway from the gym, I happened to catch a glimpse of journalist Richard Stengel, the former managing editor of TIME magazine and various impressive government service credits during the administrations of Barack Obama and George W. Bush. These days, I seem to see him often as a guest commentator/analyst on MSNBC.
 Yet again, as I was walking home up Broadway from the gym, I saw "TODAY" host, Hoda Kotb, standing on the corner of 83rd St. talking with some other ladies. I will restrain myself from saying something nasty about the years she spent working alongside Kathie Lee Gifford! I once considered Hoda to be someone with great journalistic potential.
 It is now January, 2020 and I don't believe that I have had a sighting to note here in ages! But just now, while strolling home from Zabar's, who should I see heading south on Broadway, looking unshaven and a bit disheveled, but former "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" alum, and, oh yes, disgraced former U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken. On the one hand, I miss having his political voice in the senate, but as he obviously abused the privileges of his office, it's better that he is gone. But how many other politicians would be able to withstand such brutal scrutiny? I doubt that too many of them would survive. But, on we must go. I should add that his appearance today would be totally normal for most people walking around on a Sunday at midday.