Nothing is ever the same as it was. Nothing is the same as when we grew up. The kids from the town were the kids from the town and the friends we had are the friends we’d swore we’d have forever.
The places have all changed since then. So have the dress codes and the fashion statements. It seems the whole world went out to get a face lift.
The places we went to and the songs we sung are all in the past now. The lounges and the coffee spots are something from the past. And Chelsea, Soho, and the Downtown scene are all different now.
There are glimpses of what used to be. There are tiny remnants of shops that have been around since long before our time, and somehow, they’ve managed to pull off a deal. They’ve stuck around for a while. Still, nothing is ever the same as the way it was. To me, I see these places as piece of my history.
My guess is this is what happens when we grow up and move on. This is life. Or maybe this is just age. Maybe this is the way we look back with a different regard because of what our past means to us. And no one else gets it.
I am going to leave this here with you. I’m leaving this with you in trust for those who might not have known or understood.
I am leaving this here with you to hold as an unbiased party to witness an understanding between the universe and myself. So please, forgive the burden.
What I am asking is for you to be somewhat of an executor of my mental estate. I want you to distribute this as you choose. Hold this. Share it. Do what you will. Just let this be known that there was a time before people wore masks in fear of something contagious.
I have a strange memory. What I mean is in some cases, my memory is as detailed as a work of art. In other cases, my memories have chosen to vacate the premises. Call this by means of construction abandonment or by way of youthful intoxication, or put simply, some of my memories have been systematically blocked and sealed for my own protection. However, some of my memories are my most valuable possessions.
Nothing is wrong with me and nothing is going to happen. Yet still, since I have been coming here for a long time, as far as I see it, you know me better than anyone else. And since this is you, then I see no other reason to go on pretending it shouldn’t be you to hold these journals of mine.
I want you to have them. Please.
Hold them for as long as you can. Make sure the kids see this. Make sure the kids know there used to be this thing called life.
Let them know there was a time before cell phones and social media. You had to work to get to know someone back then. You had to work to get a phone number. If you liked a girl, you had to get her number so you could call her because there was no such thing as texting.
There used to be something called romance. There used to be something called ambiance, which was more than something one could just download on their phone.
Let the kids know there used to be something called music. And we used to dance. We used to play. We used to go out until all hours of the night.
We were crazy because we were allowed to be crazy. And I want people to know this. I want them to know because the rush behind this is a valuable resource to a creative life. And above all things, the last thing that can ever die is our desire for creativity.
Let people know because I don’t think they’ll understand what it was like to be out on Broome Street near West Broadway at 3 in the morning, talking to a girl (or a guy, depending upon their preference) and literally disregarding everything else in the world because nothing else was as meaningful as the moments of feeling alive.
I doubt they’ll understand the axiom or the truism of what it was like to be out and feel young and wild, provocative, and free.
And friends? No one has friends the way we used to. They’re all gone now. At least most of them are. These are the friends of the past. These are the stories about people like Johnny the Rug and the time I swore he was going to get us all killed at a place down on Bleecker Street.
I tell you the world was a different place.
The nightlife was alive.
And nothing else mattered.
I remember places like The Red Zone. I remember Webster Hall. I remember The Tunnel and the first time I walked through the doors.
The music was somewhat of a techno beat and I heard the words scream from the speakers, “James Brown is dead!’ and then the beat purged and the lights flashed. The crowd was mixed with everything one could think of.
We were too young to have the jokes get old. We were allowed to be eager and explore.
Somehow, I don’t think the same can be said about this generation. They are limited. They have been reduced and robbed of their creativity by the technology they’ve submitted themselves to.
There are no raves or secret parties. There is only texting. And what the hell is that?
I don’t think this generation would know what this feels like nor do I think they would understand what it was like to stand on the rooftop of someplace and watch the sun come up. And by the way, I’ve always had a thing for rooftops. Even as a kid.
Back when I was young, I used to climb out of my window and sit on the roof of my house. I would climb up to the peak and look around. I would listen to the wind and wonder what my life would be like in say, 20 or maybe 30 years. And I never thought I would grow old. Then again, I used to think 30 was old.
One morning, I was still in my tuxedo from the night before. Instead of driving home, I passed my exit and continued to the beach.
I wove around the closure that blocked off the entry to the parking lot. The sun was coming up. It was beautiful.
The summer was making an exit and the winds were cool. My life was about to change and I knew this.
I knew this meant the next chapter was about to be underway, which was sad.
There was a piece of me that was hopeful and wishing. There was a piece of me that wanted everything to stay as it was. But nothing ever does.
I wanted my friends to always be my friends. I wanted the nights to always be the same but life was changing.
I never wanted the laughs to stop or the jokes to get old. But they do. And I’m not sure why or if this is fair. I just know this is life.
This is why I am leaving this here with you. I don’t want any of this to be forgotten, and if or when the time is right, please share this and let people know there was a time when the world was a great place and New York City was the greatest place of all.
Trust me. I was there.