Around '89 we had made a few friends in the New York City (NYC) film community, and up until around maybe '92, when the opportunity arose, we'd occasionally take the Amtrak train from Union Station in Washington DC (where we were living at the time) to Penn Station in NYC to spend a weekend assisting with independent film projects. We weren't interested in full time employment in the "business", just wanted to get as much experience as we could to apply to our own work. Didn't need the cash so we worked cheap. Compensation always included free lodging and dinner/drinks - always at a Greenwich or East Village bar/tavern - each "storied for the literary luminaries who habitually frequented them"(1). Our amigos themselves were all artist and literary types 'ta boot - these their hangouts. Combine like minded sensibility with cheap labor, along with the fact that we knew our sh*t - and we were always a welcome addition.
Experienced a few interesting adventures on set/location. Once positioned a few 5K lights a bit too close to an unseen fire sprinkler sensor, potentially dousing a mid level floor of a Manhattan office building. Luckily the sprinkler system didn't activate. Set about every alarm in the building off, though. The precinct fire chief was pretty cool about it. Showed up alone and casually walked in and deactivated the alarms. Another situation had us negotiating with a pistol-waving Latino gang leader who was (acting) a bit pissed and wanted to know who gave us permission to film in his "turf". Insisted that we were undercover cops intending to secretly film their activities(2). Turned out to be a good guy once he realized we weren't backin' down - and we weren't cops.
Had a few interesting adventures in the bars/taverns. Was seated at one tavern noted for the celebrity and "literary luminary" patrons table-top wood carving signatures, past and present. Ernest Hemingway had been one to initial our table. We added our initials right below his. Think it may have been the White Horse Tavern or maybe McSorleys. Don't recall right off hand. Maybe neither. Anyway, suggests great minds think alike. Got to bullsh*t a bit with Rolling Stone Keith Richard at the ACME Bar and Grill. Bought us a beer and we returned the favor. Ran into him another time at the Bluenote and he remembered us. Thought that was pretty cool of him. The best time was one evening we went to the Pyramid Club, which was a popular gay/transvestite bar (plenty of gay folks in the NY film industry - all good people the ones we worked with). We had among our company a very good looking aspiring actress/model who wound up being a big hit with the "boys". She was drinkin' for free all night and they continually had her up on the bar dancin' with 'em. We figured because she was OEM equipped. She was visually a knockout, but by late evening we had to rate her 5th place - there were some good lookin' "gals" in that place. She took first place in the "stock" division, however. Lot's of fun. We've been in plenty of bars over the years but we've seldom been treated any better than there.