As a massive crowd had a rowdy sing-along in David Bowie‘s hometown of Brixton yesterday, but a more somber mood permeated the scene outside the New York City apartment he shared with wife Iman. Gothamist reported that it started small during the day, but by night the line stretched down the block. As one person wrote,
“It’s telling that people are willing to wait in 28 degree weather to thank him.”
And fitting that proper respects are paid. Quoted from Vulture, here’s Bowie in his own words about the city he lived in and loved;
“When I first came to New York, I was in my early twenties, discovering a city I had fantasized over since my teens. I saw it with multicolored glasses, to say the least. Also, I rarely got up before noon and hit the sack again around four or five in the morning. Two New Yorks, really.
These days, my buzz can be obtained by just walking, preferably early in the morning, as I am a seriously early riser. The signature of the city changes shape and is fleshed out as more and more people commit to the street. A magical transfer of power from the architectural to the human.
I’m here most of the year now. I leave only if work demands it. (I’ve read the rumors about how I have houses elsewhere, but this is it.) I am not a secretive guy, but I am quite private. I live as a citizen pure and simple. I don’t go for the disguise thing — I’ve never found it necessary, at least not since my real hair color grew in years ago. I suppose wearing jeans is the nearest I get to confounding expectations.
I don’t think I would be able to cope with the celebrity lifestyle at all. The idea of an entourage is anathema to me. I remember meeting a comedian–film star in Hollywood one time who suggested that we leave the film set and take a walk, to talk and have a cigarette. It was like a silent comedy. I heard a small crowd behind us—when we stopped walking, they stopped, too. His whole crew of something like seventeen guys were following at a polite distance. It was insane. The one thing you can depend on with an entourage is that everybody will look at you. I think that’s the idea.
People here are very decent about their interactions with well-knowns. I get the occasional ‘Yo, Bowie,’ but that’s about it. My only rule is to avoid tourist areas. But if I weren’t known, I’d still avoid ’em. In London, the saying goes, life takes place behind doors. Here it’s on the street.”
These New York City streets will miss you and those walks. Here’s a good story from my friend, NY photographer Sally Davies;
“One day, about 5 years ago, I was walking through Soho up Crosby Street. It was in the winter, and was almost dark out already, when suddenly the sky got even blacker and it started to pour like the end of the earth. I was caught without an umbrella, and had no money to take a cab home. As I walked briskly through the downpour towards Houston, I hated being the only person on the street. It felt like the old old days when you probably wouldn’t make it much farther without incident. In the distance I could see one lone figure approaching me in the rain. I got more nervous. I was hoping they would cross the street or go into a shop, but they did not. I found myself preparing to run if I had to. looking for an open store…
Holding my breath I just kept marching forward…when finally the person appeared 5 feet in front of me out of the downpour… He looked at me and smiled the biggest smile ever, and I smiled back, still kind of holding my breath, and just kept walking.”
It was David Bowie.”
The short clip below gives you a glimpse of what it’s like to be there. Just imagine biting cold too.