I’m cooking at Archie and Emily’s loft last Saturday (they run this fucking awesome thing), and I see this book. I start leafing through it, remembering a time when I first moved to New York and went to people’s house parties just to read their books. Archie says, “I always keep it on top of the pile” which is pretty much the highest compliment you can give anything. I go through a couple dozen pages sitting on his couch. I take out my phone and order it.
What you should probably do is read this book. 1970s New York always comes to me from the “survivors,” the people who lived through it and still have some outsized fears to contend with: that Washington Square Park is dangerous even in daylight, that you shouldn’t pull over on the Cross Bronx because you’ll get murdered, etc etc. My father drove to New York with some college friends in 1971 and didn’t go back for nearly 20 years. My family moved to Europe in ‘88 and we flew out of JFK. On the drive there, he was genuinely concerned we would get killed. I had never heard of such a thing before. “Who’ll kill us?” I thought. “Rambo?”
To me, the myth of 1970s New York is a tangled mess of genius and evil shorn of banality: fiscal crises, disco, blackouts, punk, sanitation strikes, minimalism, Mayor Lindsay, Woody Allen, Patti Smith, Philip Glass, SAMO, Eno, Gravano, Berkowitz, Steinbrenner, Cage/Cunningham, SNL, CBGBs, terrible fucking clothes, great fucking films. If you find food culture, dance, and avant-garde music under-represented in your own private 70’s New York myth, this book will probably fill you full of all the right delusions. It’s a goddamned gem.