Monday, July 4, 2011

Claymore is the cat in the window. He came with my first apartment, a summer sublet at 59th St and 1st Avenue. I had a magnificent view of the Queensborough Bridge, up close and personal, and the Roosevelt Island Tramway cars went by my window so close I could see the passengers’ faces. I loved it. I felt like I had been spliced into “Metropolis”.

    My life was uptown. It was the only part of NYC that I had any knowledge of at all. My work as a commercial film editor kept me in the Grand Central area, and everyone I knew (which were not many people) were uptown people, with the odd West Villager tossed in. The area right around Grand Central Station was kind of seedy in those days. Streetwalkers, the hotels that serviced them, clip-joints where scantily clad “girls”  drank ginger ale out of champagne glasses which the establishment charged you $20.00 for.  I was fascinated with the grunge and seediness of it all. I found it very appealing. Not that I ever went into those places, but I heard, you know?

I took the picture of these two guys on Lexington Ave. around 40th St in 1978. Why not one of the girls in the clip joints you might ask? Too shy. Plus these guys were happy to pose for a buck (in his hand on the left). The girls would have charged more.

That first summer in NYC was weird and nice, and then weird again. I went to Fire Island for quite a few weekends because my girlfriend’s sister had a share out there. I took a lot of pictures on the beach, and this one haunts me. I have only had two acid trips in my life (thus far) ; one was a lot of fun and the second was a nightmare. For some reason the picture below of the woman running along the surf became a symbol of terminal isolation in my mind. It was frozen in my brain for 36 hours and it made me despair of everything. She just kept running away from me....forever....

I am over it. Sort of.....

Essentially I was experiencing extreme culture shock. Canada and Toronto were nothing like this. Everything steamed and stank, and everybody was in a hurry or getting run over -  pick one. I couldn’t put my camera down. Taking pictures was the only way I could make any sense out of it all.