by Barbara Anne Carson, originally published on Manhattan OCR Radio website

What kind of a name is Maquina Mono? Pablo Beracochea, who heads up this dynamic new Latin rock band, explains his sound, and their name: “Latin rock is a fusion, originating in Latin America, of Latin sensibilities with rock.  Maquina Mono means The Monkey Machine. I was listening to Manu Chao at the time—very unique sound, and he mixes up all his cultural and musical influences with great success. In one of his songs, there’s this perception that he is small and foreign, and Manu Chao mocks that by calling himself a little monkey. Machine in Argentina means someone who is strong and sexy. So, Maquina Mono combines those two concepts.”

“I’m from Argentina, but when I was 12 my dad’s job sent our family to Germany. The acting program in my high school there really encouraged creativity. So I gravitated towards acting; it became my entire life focus. Then, I moved to New York City to study it. It was great, at first. I finished college, got an agent and did a few commercials. But agents and producers didn’t seem to care if I was any good. It was all about which look you fit into. I got the feeling that I was too white to play Hispanic and too Hispanic to play white. For me to drop acting was a big deal. People said, ‘What are you doing? You’re an actor, not a musician.’ But music was calling me.”

“Throughout all that I was always writing songs. One night I was hanging out with a friend from college with whom I had played a couple of small gigs years before. He looked at me, “you’ve got all this great music; why aren’t you playing it? You should play out.”  He was right. I booked a few gigs on my own and went out on the town. At first I was writing all these songs in English, but my Latin roots started calling. I realized this is who I am, so I incorporated Spanish and Latin influences. The music the band plays is all mine. I write for all the instruments, the harmonies, lyrics. Along the way I started working with many different musicians and the band started to grow. Today we are a seven (sometimes eight) piece band with some incredibly talented musicians: a strong rhythm section, singers, a great horn section. Many of them also play on Broadway and work internationally.”

“We just played The Bitter End for a second time. Our next gig is for Cinco de Mayo at Toshi’s Living Room & Penthouse, in Chelsea. That’s on Friday, May 2nd. After that we’re playing the Theatre for the New City. I’ve also started working with a producer on new music, writing more songs, talking about licensing. We have plenty of gigs, lots of clubs call us back again. Online, our Twitter and Facebook numbers are going up. It’s a pretty exciting time.”

Look for Maquina Mono at http://maquinamono.com. Then go find them, in the Flatiron Hotel, all around the Village, and every place in the City where good music draws you in.  

Latin Fusion Rocks:


Pablo Beracochea and Maquina Mono


by Barbara Anne Carson


originally published on Manhattan OCR website

New York City:


Parking


By


The


Rules

First, NYC Parking 101


Parking in Manhattan is a challenge requiring skill and flexibility. It’s a chess match with a complicated array of rules and constantly changing restrictions. Coming in from the country? Read this first. If you actually find free street parking, read all posted signs. No parking from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. means move by 9:15. Seriously.  Hoping to score a $5 parking spot? Check out https://streetparknyc.com. 

The Safe Approach:

Park at a train station (Metro-North, Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, PATH), pay $10-$25 bucks to get to Penn Station or Grand Central, plunk down $10 bucks for a  Metro Card and you’re set. I’m assuming you went on https://mta.info and checked out schedules ahead of time. Be sure to plan your return trip to avoid rush hour (roughly between 3:00 and 7:30 p.m.).

The Foolish Approach:

Drive in to Manhattan and park at a spot that looks like it’s available (If you’re in mid-town, make sure it’s not marked “commercial vehicles only.”), purchase parking time on a muni-meter and display it inside your car, on the dashboard. Calculate the time you should be back, to avoid a ticket. I’ve seen people park on street corners and sidewalks in mid-town; guess they feel it’s worth the tow. Please avoid rush hour: 7:30 – 10:00 a.m., 3:00 -7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Expensive Approach:

Pull into the first parking garage you see and be prepared to pay as much as $30 for half an hour.  Easy, but costly.  To bring the cost down, try http://nyc.bestparking.com. Print out a coupon; if it has a green icon, the rate is guaranteed.

The above suggestions assume everything goes as planned. Park at a broken meter? Don’t, please. If you do, call DOT Parking Meter Maintenance (800) 203-3770. Get a ticket? Call the  Parking Violations Helpline at (718) 422-7800. Worst case scenario – got towed? Withdraw $185 from your ATM and call (212) 869-2929 or go on http://nycserv.nyc.gov to locate your vehicle. Good luck! 

Bike Taxis, Pedi-cabs and Rickshaws

Bike taxis are found in cities and towns all across the United States, from San Diego to Salt Lake City Buffalo and more. Here in Manhattan, bike taxis or pedicabs are mostly seen around mid-town and Columbus Circle. They pick up riders around the most densely populated areas of the city, near big office buildings, restaurants and the theatre district. Near Central Park, especially in good weather, they pick up quite a few tourists, providing competition to the horse-drawn carriages.

Safe and Warm, Easy to Use

They run all year round, too. In winter months, many bike taxis use a plastic cover, just like parents use on strollers, to shield their infants from the bitter wind. People say they’re green, good for the environment, all that, and it’s true. Sounds good.

Fresh Air and a Frugal Ride

What they don’t tell you is, they’re just plain fun to ride.  You can look straight up and see the sky. On a fine day, you can enjoy the fresh air, sights and sounds of New York City. Bike taxis can squeeze through busy traffic and get you where you’re going faster than a regular cab or bus.  At $2 to $3 dollars a minute, it’s actually less expensive than taking a cab. 

An Easy Ride Through The Streets of NYC

I've written articles on artists, musicians, special needs advocacy,

dating, parenting, overcoming fear,

and navigating the streets of New York City: driving, parking and avoiding the dreaded tow truck. 

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