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The Last Winter Dance Party of America

by 12/15/2014
Neighborhood: Featured, Uncategorized

It’s 1957, and the three of us, Jacky,Vinnie from 19th Street, and me, are doing this Brooklyn strut sort of a walk down Eastern Parkway. Vinnie is a thief. He will steal anything he can get his hands on, doesn’t matter who owns it. That’s just the way he is. But there’s something cool and […]

The Laughter of the Maestro

by 03/09/2014
Neighborhood: Featured, Fort Greene

Last week I was walking home through a snowstorm. Turning the corner toward Fulton I called Cecil Taylor, who lived in the last unrenovated brownstone on that street. We knew each other from back in the 70s. The jazz pianist’s manager James Spicer had been a mutual friend, until the silver-haired impresario ripped off my […]

Instantly, Life Got Better

by 02/19/2014
Neighborhood: Featured, Upper East Side

Together, Rory, 7, and I, 9, zoomed up 86th Street to Woolworth's 5 & 10 for our “start the weekend” ritual: carefully look over all the records in the store’s basement after our pizza dinner on Second Avenue. "I Want to Hold Your Hand," the Beatles first U.S. single came out the day after Christmas […]

Fighting For What

by 07/01/2013
Neighborhood: Bowery, Featured

Everything happened quick in CBGB's subterranean toilets. The release of body waste was rivaled by magic-markering a band’s name atop the thousands of previous honorees in the toilet’s hall of fame and while the inhalation of cocaine or heroin in the stalls was more popular than shooting up dope or speedballs, sex within the battered […]

Doc Pomus

by 10/03/2012
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

My songwriter friend Robin called me with an opportunity to make some easy money, fast. She gave me the name and address of a friend of hers and, although I was pretty busy kicking drugs and booze, I jumped at the chance of making some money. I hopped the number two express on Seventh Avenue […]

Look Homeward, Brooklyn

by 09/07/2012
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Gramercy Park, Long Island

We move the summer before ninth grade from our four-room apartment in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to a four-bedroom Colonial house with a two-car garage on the south shore of Long Island. A town where every street is a drive or a place or a court. A place where kids play softball in the street and […]

The Owner Likes It Loud

by 06/19/2012
Neighborhood: Upper East Side

In the mid ‘70s I, a lifelong New Yorker, eagerly departed the crazy hustle and bustle of New York City when I landed a job in Birmingham, Alabama. I didn’t expect to miss New York or anything about it. But a few weeks after I moved to Birmingham, suddenly and unexpectedly I began craving almost […]

15 Seconds With Andy Warhol

by 06/09/2012
Neighborhood: All Over, East Village, Featured, Midtown

When I was a kid, Campbell’s Tomato Soup almost tasted home-made, especially if milk was added as suggested by the directions. Everyone ate it in 1964. The rich, the poor, the in-between and twelve year-old boys like me, so I was pleased to read in LIFE Magazine that a New York artist had painted large […]

Get Busy

by 05/22/2012
Neighborhood: East Village, Featured

My friend Flip didn’t read, he told me, because he was all about music. Slick, shiny, high-gloss music. Nothing got him more excited than discussing “production values.” He’d play dance remixes for me and practically conduct them as some new version of an awful song stomped and restomped its way through a cathedral-like reverb chamber […]

An Upper West Side Tragedy Set To Music

by 05/18/2012
Neighborhood: Upper West Side

He always said, “Hello, I’m so glad to see you? How are you?” even when he no longer knew our names. Starting in the last year, he didn’t care about answers. He cherished his long career as an impresario in the world of music, selecting and programming concerts for major institutions in New York City. […]

Growing Up Beastly

by 05/17/2012
Neighborhood: All Over, Letter From Abroad, West Village

In 1986 I became an international pop music recording sensation. I don’t mean that at the age of 15 I admired and tried to emulate Ad-Rock, a squeaky, strutting third of the fresh hip-hop phenomenon the Beastie Boys—I mean I was Ad-Rock. His band mates—Mike D and MCA—were my homeboys. Sure, there had previously been […]

Payback

by 12/01/2011
Neighborhood: Midtown, Uncategorized

My first real job was in a recording studio on 8th Avenue and 44th Street, producing movie commercials for broadcast on the radio. I was the second engineer, which sounds a lot more impressive than it was. I set up microphones, recorded the talent, edited sound effects and music, layered the voice over the background […]