Friday, June 11, 2010

Howl

When I look out my window I see dozens of shadowed lives, flickering TVs, pets on windowsills, an occasional party. But one friend who lives down the block has had a much more interesting window experience over the past 20+ years.

"They're finally gutting Allen Ginsberg's old apt. My windows look into his kitchen. We were neighbors through the '80s & '90s, til he moved into a condo on E 13th St a couple years before he died.
We didn't bother with each other much, but he'd take photos of my shirtless carpenter boyfriend when he'd use the fire escape for an impromptu workshop. You never knew who'd be gathered around his kitchen table: a PBS film crew, a minion of men with black garb and payis chanting Sabbath prayers, etc. I never took photos of him, but Allen with his robe open illuminated by refrigerator light is burned into my retina, for better or worse! After he left, I found myself missing him.
One of his cronies has been in there since he moved out, using the window ledge in lieu of the long-dead fridge in the winter months, but the place has been abandoned for about a year now. Allen won a long-fought legal battle with the landlord years ago, and it took them til now to take possession of the place.

Soon I'll look out at yet another set of white mini-blinds behind cheap replacement windows, illuminated by halogen floor lamp, with soundtrack by yet another long-past-teenage idiot amping-up to "Baba O'Reilly" as irony sails over his head and out into the beer-soaked night."

6 comments:

Steve Silberman said...

Wonderful post, thanks! I sat in that kitchen many times.

EV Grieve said...

Indeed, lovely Jill... I wonder if the new tenants will ever even know who once lived there...

nickyskye said...

Yes, that was such an enjoyable post. Thank you! Love your blog.

Just wanted to mention that Mark Aserlind, who you link to, is my room mate's English teacher at Hartley House and he is held in great esteem by his students,not only for being an excellent teacher but also for being a particularly likable person.

Anonymous said...

For a few years, I lived upstairs from Allen on 12th Street. You couldn't have asked for a lovelier neighbor:he knew everyone in the building, made sure we were invited to his parties and if he didn't run into us for a few days would check to see if we were ok. He had three apartments in the building: one he lived in, one he sublet to various students,and a third where I think he worked. It was a very cool building--Richard Hell lived in the apartment next door

Darren said...

Wow, that's just really sad. :-(

Catherine said...

Patti Smith is right: the old NYC is gone. Sigh.