For years now I've watched as the City has been systematically denuded of its coolness. The characters have been driven out with the homeless and the squeegee guys. You never see Gene Pool peddling around on his unicycle in his suit made of tin cans or astro-turf. The guy who used to sell stained glass jewelry in his daisy dukes and red cowboy boots (I called him the Wild Man from Borneo) on Broadway between Bleecker and Houston, gone. The Duck Man, once featured in the opening credits of Saturday Night Live, also, gone. And finally, the one I probably miss the most, the Bubble Man, who would walk down West 4th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues with an enormous pickle bucket filled with suds and a multi-holed bubble wand, waving the wand and leaving a tremendous cloud of bubbles in his wake, GONE. In a city as transient and mutable as New York, one has to get used to the fact that some things go the way of the dinosaurs. But I miss the grit. I miss the sense that you had to have balls, bravery or a bit of insanity to live in this City. So as my love note to the City I love and love to hate, I will be posting images and anecdotes about what places and people are gone (CBGBs, the Mudd Club, Mercer Arts Center, Homeless Man, etc.) and what chain, franchise, soulless conglomerate has moved in in their place.
As Lou Reed once said: I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag with Latin written on the side of it that says "it's hard to give a shit these days..."