Photo: Ebet Roberts, Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, The Bottom Line, NYC, 1978
"New York City is the most fatally fascinating thing in America. She sits like a great witch at the gate of the country, showing her alluring white face, and hiding her crooked hands and feet under the folds of her wide garments,—constantly enticing thousands from far within, and tempting those who come from across the seas to go no farther. And all these become the victims of her caprice. Some she at once crushes beneath her cruel feet; others she condemns to a fate like that of galley slaves; a few she favors and fondles, riding them high on the bubbles of fortune; then with a sudden breath she blows the bubbles out and laughs mockingly as she watches them fall." For all the paradise and pitfalls of New York City as underscored by this passage from American author James Weldon Johnson which might otherwise be reserved for the slow-burning vocals of nearly any given Lou Reed ballad, the city nevertheless holds a special place in our restless hearts as do the artists who have conjured its humor and horror through the tough truth mediums of music and photography.
To the east coast what Jim Morrison is on the west, Lou Reed is the patron saint of post-beat rock and brooding below 14th street but not alone within the pantheon of New York pontification. On a particularly fair afternoon such as this, we'd be remiss not to honor the spirits of those downtown idols which seem to linger just around the corner with each passing city block. In the unholy name of Reed, Richard Hell and the Ramones, today's playlist is a paean to long walks on the wild side, broken dreams in the Big Apple and a New York City that many of us may never know.