We Like New York City

I was invited to participate in the Big Birthday Playlist Tsunami for Samara. The idea was to post a song that represents her persona out here in the ether but I can do one better. We have a song that’s ours.

Samara and I are seekers on the same path. We’ve never bumped into (or stepped over) one another along the way, but we’re on the same path. We lived in the East Village for many years before it got tidied-up and became a playground for the wealthy. When we were there, the wealthy only visited when they wanted to go slumming.

What was once this:

cbgbIs now this:

varvatosThose city years left an impression on us. You can call it a scar but I like to think of it as a beauty mark. We both fled to the New Jersey suburbs for the same reason; to make a better life for our kids. The East Village is no place to raise a child. She lives just a few towns over.

Joey Ramone sent us a post card from our past. This song fills us with blue melancholy. In addition to having a great hook, the video for his New York City is a stop-motion masterpiece. It winds through some of the same streets where we lived. Our streets. That guitar solo over the Brooklyn Bridge feels like going home. It’s like a home movie with a kick ass soundtrack. Reet, doll?

Happy birthday.

Here are the other participants and their tracks.

52 thoughts on “We Like New York City

  1. You nailed the celebration for our Samara, Mark. I love the way she can have a thing with everybody on here in her own way, on her own terms, out there, strong yet vulnerable. Yeah. Like New York City.

  2. That video was amazing. I love your city! Unabashedly so. I’m afraid to say that I have city-envy.

    And now to start the day after the first day of school… three kids in school! I seriously need an award for this.

    • Can you imagine what went into filming that video? Amazing is right. I like the clay landmarks.

      Here’s what I learned yesterday: do you remember all that horrid angst and anxiety and self-doubt you felt on that first day of the 8th grade? Well, guess what? You get to feel it all anew through your children. Because when they hurt, you hurt. It’s like a terrible old friend whose come for a visit.

      • I hear you, and that’s exactly how I feel. Like it’s happening all over, the uncertainty. Only my kids are less uncertain than I was, but I can still feel it now and then. Same empty feeling in your gut. My youngest just started pre-school for the first time, so that’s a totally new experience for her, and yet another new one for me.

        I’m going to watch that video again later, because it makes me feel kind of exuberant. Thanks for posting it.

  3. Love it! I’ve never heard that song or seen the video. There’s a guy at 1:23 who kind of looks like you. This wasn’t a test was it?
    Thanks for getting my day off to a bitchin’ start, and happy birthday, Samara.

  4. Very cool! I’m getting my black biker jacket back out now – bought it on the street there a few years ago for $100 bucks, but never wore it enough to soften the leather. Sad to see the birthplace of punk turned into a store!

  5. city songs! gotta love’em. i still sing along to “i love LA” driving around my current little town. i think it pisses some of my neighbors off!

    all of that aside, happy birthday to your pal, samara!


  6. Pingback: She’s In My Heart | rarasaur

  7. Perfect song! Happy Birthday, Samara! Just a few towns over. You guys must hang out once in a while. Or maybe not. I know how it can be with kids. It’s so sad to the CBGB changed like that. That just shouldn’t have happened.

  8. I tell you what I like about New York. Straight roads. They’re either lengthways or crossways, but never diagonal or curved, so it’s very difficult to get lost. Are there any curved roads in New York? And do you know what a roundabout is?

  9. Are you saying we’re not normal and healthy? Pshaw!
    We just have a taste for the adventurous.

    We’re going to need it, to survive this Patti Smith reading at the library.

    I’m so glad we “met.” These friendships feel very real to me, and ours has always felt real. And of course, a month from now when I’m hyperventilating at the library, shit will get very real!

    Great song. Great video. All hail Joey Ramone!
    And fuck roundabouts. They blow.

    • I’ve always felt—seriously—that it takes some damage to think that living in the city is an acceptable lifestyle. It’s expensive, loud, dirty, etc. etc. But whatever damage is required, I have it in abundance because I never wanted to leave. But my life became more than just what I wanted. My life got bigger. People were involved.

      Check your email for important ticket info.

      • Yes. My son’s needs eclipse mine. It’s that simple.
        I couldn’t have afforded to give him the life he deserved in New York City. Meanwhile, here in the burbs, he just started middle school. Every kid got a laptop for the year. I don’t think they hand those out in the NYC public schools.

        I may live in New Jersey. But New York will always feel like home. xoxoxox

      • We made the right choice for our families. It was a no-brainer.

        The good part is, we can still enjoy the city. It’s not the same as living there, but honestly, I don’t think I have the intestinal fortitude for New York city life. And I certainly don’t have the wallet for it.

    • I had to approve this comment, which means these are the first words you dropped over here. I am genuinely thrilled. I feel like a quasi-celebrity visited my tiny corner of the blogosphere. Welcome!

      The song is killer and the video even more so. It requires multiple viewings. The first time, you might miss that guy punching his own face and then it changes. Brilliant.

      Again, publicly this time, thanks for the invite.

      • I’m sure I’ve commented before… I must have! I’ve read several and always redirect people to posts. I often say that your Harper Lee post is one of the 15 Posts to Read if you wanna know why people get so addicted to the ‘sphere.

        But, if I haven’t, and if I’ve only distance-stalked you… then yay! I feel like I finally visited a quasi-celebrity. 😉

        The punch changes are the best. If only that worked in real life…

        (And no worries on the invite. Thanks for existing.)

  10. Guess I start off with a “Thank you.” For the NY song, for the link to your friend[happy birthday,Samara], for the NY memories.

    Always a good way to start my day. 🙂

  11. What a lovely video to share in honor of your bud, Samara’s natal date (which coincides with my niece’s). Now that I’m working in Queens, what instantly caught my eye was the glimpse of my old block at 0:57, right by The Grind, when it used to be in Tribeca. Boo hoo.

    • Listen, you…I appreciate the comment and I guess I understand how you might mourn your relocation from TriBeCa to Queens, but this isn’t the place to boo hoo and look for sympathy. I’d say you’ve got a pretty sweet set up. If fact, I’m a bit jealous. So take it outside. And happy birthday to your niece. How old is she?

      • Sweet Pea turned 21. I gave her a Benjamin for beer money. She inherited my taste for suds. As for the new location, I took a walk with my colleagues around the area. We found a Doughnut Plant in a cool place called the Falchi Building. That place seems pretty happening to me.

  12. Aooogah! Happy Birthday Samara! And happy anniversary Mark. Awesome song choice Mark. Whew! Talk about memories. I never got to investigate the night life- tractor trailers don’t fit well downtown. But I spent a lot of time in and out of the city with deliveries. Truckers get paid a premium when they have to go into the city as it is seen by the industry as dangerous (hi-jackings, theft, etc). I always loved it. The life seeps out of every brick and block of the city – everywhere you look. Ha! I recall being surprised one of the first times I went in and asked a cop for directions. His response was : I have no idea where that is. I patrol and live in this area and that’s it. Good luck.

    The city is like Samara, slightly irreverent and yet oozing with life and amazing. A lady who will never surrender all her secrets but sure is fun to investigate. Take her on her own terms and enjoy! 😀

    • Thank you, Paul. 16 years. Pfft. When by like that *click*. Pretty easy. What’s everyone complaining about?

      When I see tractor trailers snaking their way through the narrow streets of Manhattan I have only one thought: I couldn’t do that if my life depended on it. I’d take out every streetlamp and mailbox in my path. Maybe a few pedestrians, too. Those guys WORK for that premium.

      • Oh yeah, it is a challenge. I used to have a local (big, ugly and smart) who I would page on my way into the city and he’d meet me and ride shotgun – partly to discourage thieves, partly as a guide and extra set of eyes and partly as a helper unloading./ It was a great arrangement – it cost me $120 per trip but my premium covered that (usually $150) and it kept me safe and on track. The problem of trucks in a city that gets denser every year is a large one. Some Asian cities like Tokyo have banned large trucks and only allow small delivery vans to transfer all the goods from perimeter warehousing to the core. This is expensive and labor intensive and ultimately is funded by the city dwellers in the form of increased prices for all goods. A convenience store, for instance, may get 4 or 5 deliveries as the day goes on and as they need the goods. This also reduces the amount of shelf space needed to display goods and hence the store can operate in a smaller space – allowing still more density. New York now has a program in place where they have banned the larger highway trailers (still allow up to 48 foot); they give incentives for companies who use overnight deliveries; and encourage smaller trucks doing multiple deliveries.

        Hey, as an aside Mark, I have another guest post over at Barb Taub’s http://barbtaub.com/2015/09/06/coffee-with-barb-and-paul-curran-a-truckers-response-to-bureaucracy/ This one is non-fiction, shorter and quite funny. I think you’d enjoy it. If you have the time to drop by I’d be honored. Thanks!

      • How are cities going to do without truck deliveries?! That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Chris Rock’s brother is a trucker and Rock said that everything you see, everything you touch, even that coffee cup in your hand, was brought to you on a truck. It’s the lifeblood of a city.

        Thanks for the link, brother. On my way. Sorry it took so long. Kids!

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