I received this text from Jimmy on Valentine’s Day:
“Come to K-TV, where only place you can find date. Valentine’s Day Duet contest, winner $1,000. Free rose if you bring friend.”
I kidnapped my roommate and we hopped onto the D to 9th Ave. K-TV 39 is attached to the King’s Hotel. It’s in a curious location. When you walk on 39th Street between 9th and 8th Avenue, you’ll notice lumber yards, chained lots with stacked tires, lonely looking stores where you can buy things like stucco, and large trucks with empty platforms, resting. A moderately sized, brick hotel, with festive trees plopped on the roof-top is the last thing you expect on this street, let alone, people. My roomie mouthed, “Weird,” as we entered the crowded karaoke bar.
I stumbled upon King’s Hotel/K-TV by pure chance. One day, while totally out of it, I zombied onto the D instead of the N at 36th Street and found myself closer to 8th Ave, Chinatown. I decided to walk it, figuring I’d pick something up for dinner on my way home. This happened in early fall of 2010, and periodically since, when I was in the area, I would stop by King’s to see if their karaoke opened yet. In January, some karaoke life finally emerged. When I came in for the first time, a young, spiky haired Jimmy greeted me enthusiastically, dressed suave in a light gray suit. He’s the kind of guy who calls everyone beautiful, beautiful, you’re beautiful.
What was supposed to be an initial, nice chat and see, turned into rounds of various liquids and songs with hotel guests and bartenders late into the night. At one point, Jimmy jokingly slammed a handle of Jameson and said, drink up, to which I politely declined, no way (he was wondering why Koreans loved whiskey). In between songs, I was chatting with a fellow karaoke enthusiast who works part-time at a karaoke bar in Manhattan, Chinatown and lived around the corner. I was surprised to learn that in Sunset Park there are around 9 karaoke bars all of which are popular gathering places for Chinese-speaking 20-something’s in the neighborhood. K-TV39, however, was striving to be a more flexible business by having a clubbing atmosphere. For example, they have ladies nights, a platform for a weekly go-go-dancer, and live DJ nights.
This V-Day evening, the place was packed. I felt like I was at a Chinese family reunion. There were old men in suits sitting stiffly next to their wives with permed, puffed hair; young couples were rattling dice, playing drinking games; and the middle aged folks were dressed real cute, in that time machine stuck between the 80’s and 90’s cute. My friend and I sat down with our long-stemmed roses and the duet competition commenced.
Duet Highlight: Really dug this Jackie Chan and Sallie Yeh duet.
After the duet winners were announced, Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl’ began thumping loudly from the speakers. Most of the older patrons streamed out except this adorable 50-something man in a tight polo shirt and pants to match who danced solo-sexy maniac-like without a care in the world. I joined him with my wanna-be voguing moves, which turned into play-spanking him. A cute bartender I befriended was being nagged and followed by a man who was suddenly unbuttoning his flannel shirt to his belly button for her, an unwanted lumber seduction. What would your mom think, I shouted over the music, and she laughed, while we all jumped to the weird Euro-techno that came on.
February 23, 2011 | Filed under Chinatown/LES, Sunset Park, Uncategorized and tagged with Duet Competiton, family reunion, Greenwood Cemetary, Jameson, K-TV39, karaoke, King's Hotel, roses, Sunset Park, Valentine's Day.