Yesterday, I posted a video clip from Flawless shorty after the news was widely reported that Philip Seymour Hoffman had “died of an overdose in his apartment”. This is what I wrote, as an aside: “(Not that it matters, but I live two blocks away from him and there is a SCENE on the street down there now.)” This apparently REALLY made some Wow Report readers angry, and I was criticized heavily in the comments section, rather rudely, I thought. This post was NOT about me at all, but because I mentioned that PSH was my neighbor, I was a name-dropping douche-bag. I’d like to explain myself because this hurt my feelings (slightly). First, it was a BIG shock, like it was for a lot of people. When my assistant and I were discussing sudden death, it was just two hours after they found him and we realized, “Oh, no – his body is probably still in there.” She left not long after that and was walking in that direction and texted me that it was a “crazy scene down here”.
I didn’t really know him, but I was at director and playwright, John Patrick Shanley’s apartment (to further name drop) for his Christmas party two years ago and I ate my buffet dinner on the couch with Philip, his kids and his girlfriend. We chatted briefly and I mentioned we were neighbors. His kids were young and the meal was all about them talking to their Dad really, so I talked mostly to my friend and left them to eat. He was sweet with them. I would see him in the neighborhood a lot. I don’t keep 9 to 5 office hours, so I do my errands in the day and walked my dog past his building all the the time. I don’t know how everyone in the city feels about their famous neighbors but the general attitude is, if you live in New York, first you are a New Yorker and we won’t bother you. We may make eye contact and give a “Hey there” nod but we are kind of protective of those celebs because really they just want to get from their apartment to the store and back and not have to be that “famous guy”. For the most part, I think that is the general attitude of New Yorkers. Tourists tend to be the ones who ask for autographs and gawk, and I understand that. It’s fun to have a celebrity sighting. New York City is a series of villages and people love their neighborhoods. The far West Village, to me, is just THE best neighborhood in the city (And from the inventory available and prices, the market agrees.) I’ve lived here for ten years now and I really love it. When I heard that Philip was found dead, it literally hit close to home. (BTW, the apartment he owned is on Jane and Greenwich and my front door is at the other end of the block, near the corner of Washington & Jane. I found out after he died that he had also rented the apartment on Bethune near Washington, two blocks away. That’s where he died. If you look on the map, I’m where the “ST” in Jane Street is and his rental was at the last “e” in Julianne Moore. If you look at this map, which is a bit outdated and leaves a lot of people off, practically EVERYONE in Manhattan lives near a celeb.)
I really love writing for the Wow Report and, not to be rude or defensive, at the same time I don’t really care what someone I don’t know thinks about me or my “name-dropping”. I write this blog from the first person sometimes and it is a blog, and I’m an artist, not a New York Times reporter who is supposed to remain impartial and objective. If I mention myself, my friends and my perspective it’s because it’s the only perspective I have. I write about things I like and that I have some relationship to. But in the end this was about a guy that struggled with addiction, who also happened to be great actor, that died suddenly – and his three kids don’t have a father anymore. That’s who and what is really sad. When the weather gets nice in the spring, he won’t be walking around the neighborhood with them and that kind of breaks my heart. (For more on the details of his last days and pictures of the “scene” in our neighborhood go here.)