Halloween Parade

The first time  I went to the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade was in 1984. Or so I assume. That was the year I moved to New York and for the next eight or nine years anything above 14th Street was wilderness to me.

It’s one of those you-had-to-be-there things. Does anyone else remember John Sex? Or the Pope of Pot tossing loose joints to the crowd along the parade route?

John Sex

Everything changes, and better or worse is just a matter of perspective. Mostly, I think things get better. But it’s natural enough on Halloween to think about those people who have passed over to the other side. An important man in my life died a few weeks ago and I’m missing him on this day of the dead. I also miss Lou Reed.

Happy Halloween.

There’s a down town fairy singing out “Proud Mary”
as she cruises Christopher Street
And some Southern Queen is acting loud and mean
where the docks and the Badlands meet
This Halloween is something to be sure
Especially to be here without you
There’s a Greta Garbo and an Alfred Hitchcock
and some black Jamaican stud
There’s five Cinderellas and some leather drags
I almost fell into my mug
There’s a Crawford, Davis and a tacky Cary Grant
And some Homeboys looking for problems down here from the Bronx
But there ain’t no Hairy and no Virgin Mary
you’ll never see those faces again
And Johnny Rio and Rotten Rita
you’ll never hear their stories again
This celebration somehow gets me down
Especially when I see that you’re not around
There’s the Born Again Losers and the Lavender Boozers
and a crack team from Washington Heights
The boys from Avenue B and the girls from Avenue D
a Tinkerbell in tights
It’s different feeling that I have today
Especially when I see you’ve gone away
There’s no Peter Pedantic saying things romantic
in Latin, Greek or Spic
There’s no Three Bananas or Brandy Alexander
dishing all their tricks
It’s a different feeling that I have today
Especially when I know you’ve gone away
There’s a girl from Soho with a T-shirt saying “I Blow”
she’s with the “jive five 2 plus 3”
And the girls for pay dates are giving cut rates
or else doing it for free
The past keeps knock, knock, knocking on my door
And I don’t want to hear it anymore
No consolations please for feeling funky
I got to get my head above my knees
But it makes me sad and sad makes me mad
and then I start to freeze
In the back of my mind I was afraid it might be true
In the back of my mind I was afraid that they meant you
At the Halloween Parade
At the Halloween parade
At the Halloween parade
See you next year, at the Halloween parade
The Pope of Pot

Bleecker Street Sketchbook

 The first place I ever lived in Manhattan was 4 St. Mark’s Place, above Trash & Vaudeville. One day we came home and the locks had been changed. Maybe we should have paid the rent. It was a good place to get a foothold. The second place I lived on the island was 203 Bleecker Street.

In the second half of the 1980s, Bleecker Street was the epicenter of my world, and there was nowhere else I wanted to live. There was a Banana Republic on the northeast corner of Bleecker & Sixth – the first one I’d ever seen, with pith helmets and mosquito netting, that was their branding then – and our apartment was next door. It was a dark, tiny, first floor apartment with a terrible floor plan. It was heaven.

We lived there for three years and I don’t think a dinner was ever cooked in that kitchen. The refrigerator mainly held pizza and beer.

The toilet had its own tiny closet of a room. The sink and shower were on a raised, tiled platform. There was another bathroom with a shower in the hall. If we were getting ready to go to the Ritz or the Cat Club we had to take advantage of all available bathrooms.


It was the place we hung our coats. In other words, it was home. There’s no place I’ve ever lived that felt more like home to me than Greenwich Village, especially Bleecker Street.

In the words of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros:

Home. Let me come home.
Home is wherever you’re with me.