There was a time when I worked at Flip on 8th street as a teenager and I would take a graffiti covered train from 207th street to get to work several times a week.. Before I got the job I had to get working papers since I was just 16 and I remember I went all by my self to some office somewhere, in Spanish Harlem maybe, and filled out a form and showed my birth certificate and then I was allowed to get a job and get a paycheck. I think that was where I got my social security number.
I would show up to work in tight black bondage pants that I custom made out of regular pants because I couldn’t afford the BOY of London version. My dyed blonde hair was long and shaggy and in my eyes and I would get bored steam ironing some cool vintage clothes that I would try on first if it looked like I might want it, or I would put price tags or security alarms on the clothes carry them out and put them on the floor. I would do all kinds of things to kill time, and take the clothes up in small bunches making lots of trips. I worked in the basement most of the time, but I just wanted to be out on the floor to see what was happening in the world so I would go out there every chance I got..
I remember one cool summer night I was working the bag check, sitting in the window of the booth, dangling my high top sneakered feet over the side, wearing lots of black eyeliner and my black leather motorcycle jacket even though it was summer, leaning my head back into the wall like I couldn’t care less, because I couldn’t, and just watching the crowds of people walking down the street. Eighth street used to be a vital thoroughfare, buzzing with modern energy, alive with the new wave vibe. Then in a blink of an eye David Johansen, former singer of The New York Dolls, walked into the store right past me and all of a sudden I cared. It blew my mind that someone so cool would shop with the common folk, wear what other people could buy, walk among us, lean and tall and all that and more.
Later, I would get off work at 8 when the store closed and meet my teenage lover who would wait for me outside the store with his drummer in the drummer’s van, parked illegally, and we would drive over to the east side and get pizza and get some beer and go see some amazing band, usually for free, because we didn’t have a lot of cash and we would get on the list somehow. Thunders, the Dead Kennedys, Lydia Lunch, Minor Threat, The Bad Brains, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, the Cramps, and so many I cannot think of right now, they were all current acts playing around NYC. It was all free and easy. We were young and alive and lazy and creative and running our own lives, manifesting our own destinies. We were in love in the greatest city in the world, at its peak. Everything was happening before our eyes. We knew things were pretty cool, did not take it for granted, but ran with it, wild in the streets. As I type this it almost does not sound real, but it was.
It’s never to late to live the life you want.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RzBZsOeqOQ (oh fuck, it does not get any cooler than this.)