Wanted for artists. Home.
Not just shelter, but home.
Not sanitized-for-your-protection, but original off-the-grid places just a DiMaggio’s throw from Broad-way.
‘The Village.’ Greenwich Village, West or East.
That was the place.
Jane Jacobs’ human-scale - funky spaces, shops & venues.
Cheap, cheap, CHEAP rentals in the zone where ‘the normals’ fear to tread.
Amenable for Whitman & O’Neill; Goldman, Reed & st.V.Millay; Robeson & Woody G, Dylan 1 & Baldwin; Burroughs-Kerouac-Coltrane-Belafonte-Baez; Dylan 2 & Hendrix… and the exiles John & Yoko too (before they moved Dakota way).
Affordable eats & drinks at the Cedar, the Horse, the Lion. Bar seats for Mailer, Plimpton & Hamill, next door to Stonewall - ground zero for ‘it’s alllllll good.’
A place where nobody crowds your muse.
Must all that be so far in the past?
Hmmm, branded CBGB’s is a theme park in Vegas’ 4/5ths scale New York.
The real one replaced by another Bloomberg-ian glass-steel row-house, clean lines so clean so clean you don’t even need to be told ‘get off that bench,’ ‘don’t smoke that here’ & ‘move-on buddy, this game is too rich for your blood.'
Tell you what, since some of you Bohos did spend-down your trust funds here, we’re willing to take you back.
But you’ve got to be more productive for the right to buy a room that costs more than 7 acres in Ulster county.
Make your avant-thingies into rom-coms.
Or something nasty on the ever-expending bandwidths of cost-effective cable.
Do that ‘breaking bad’ thing you do; rubber-neck at a funeral for the downsized.
Woo! Those meth-heads are scary!
Obviously gotta work on my ‘tude.
Need to stop insisting my weird sh*t is my main sh*t.
But I can't, so...
Let’s say that you’ll avert your gaze when I find nice space in Brooklyn? You didn’t show much interest in that ‘good housing stock’ back in ’78.
(Just after the black-out looters repo-d their repo-d hifi’s.)
I’ll retreat from the Heights to Boerum Hill - then climb the Slope.
Not good enough? You need that land too.
Can’t you leave me just a few toxic units next to the Gowanus?
Back away douche! Get any closer and I swear I’ll light it on fire!!!
Okay, you’re right. I won’t do that.
But you couldn’t possibly be interested in Astoria?
And no, I don’t consider Philadelphia a borough south of Staten Island.
So (as I’m want to say
Where is the love?
Okay, let’s say – for arguments sake - that Bohemia only ever existed in the mind.
That it was/IS always fluid. Liquid. Similar to virtual?
Maybe home is on the ever expanding time-space continuum, on-line, on a site, a blog, a tumblr of images.
Just my flavor.
“tumblr” AND “Greenwich Village” AND/OR “Paris in the 1920’s”
A truly moveable feast.
But that's not quite the ANSWER-answer either.
I still need a PLACE-place. Home.
With people. Faces.
Eyes & ears = empathy.
A secret speak-easy on Bedford, with an exit strategy on the side; I can 86 myself when the conformity police knock, un-invited, on the front door.
Hmmm, Chumley’s was shuttered you say?
Hold up! I got it.
The answer… at least for now… and now is all we've really got... so...
Take a slow boat from China, switch to Orient Express at Istanbul, sample Vienna 1896, then Paris ’26, take the ferry to the Dover Cliffs, then the Queen Mary from Liverpool (avoiding U-boats below), schooner into New York Harbor through the Narrows Verrazano.
But before you take the River to Hell’s Gate or make the long trip up the Hudson…
Switch to a skiff. A duckboat. A rubber zodiac.
And take a right so radically right, it circles back left.
Putter into Gowanus. Named for a tribe that trades shells, pelts & peyote.
I warned you before – it IS stinky and potentially flammable.
Particularly at low tide.
When you get on dry land, you can light up again. Then walk up to 3rd avenue and 6th.
Cool view of Eagle Clothes signage – circa 1939.
(Though hurry, that's slated to be raised.)
You're at Halyard’s - totally cool in the present.
Good beer. Good company. Good jive.
And even though you can’t spend the night.
For now - again, all we have - you’re home.
And nobody will ask if you rent or own.
24 September 2013