I only recently spotted this great shot of David Johansen of the New York Dolls by way of this excellent site. This is, of course, our David blocking traffic at the bottom end of Lexington Avenue. Taken by one Gary Green in 1977, this shot finds the erstwhile Doll looking south into what would be Gramercy Park. To his right -- just out of shot -- is the Gramercy Park Hotel, but more about that later. Below David is our take, which was fairly tricky, being that there was a steady stream of cars on the street.
Speaking of Cars, here's Ebet Roberts' take of the fledgling Cars in almost the exact same spot (originally spotted in the amazing collection, "Blank Generation Revisited." Apart from maybe the Chelsea Hotel, the Gramercy Park Hotel was the go-to rock n' roll hotel, given its proximity to the promise of downtown just steps from its entrance. It looks totally different today, but you can catch a glimpse of what it used to look like in the video for the Psychedelic Furs' "Run and Run," a vid I've put up here a few times.
I quite enjoy Oliver faithfully mimicking guitarist Elliot Easton's pose in this pairing.
Here's a newsflash: I've never given a rat's ass about Bob Dylan. Sure, loads of my friends -- let alone musicians' whose work I greatly enjoy -- cite Dylan as a massive influence, but I just can't get into it. Not sure if it's the voice or just the fact that he's so universally deified, but I can't seem to get it. I certainly respect the man, but don't ask me to get excited about his music. That all said, since we were in Gramercy Park, I thought I'd tip my hat to the great Bob Egan (a Bob whose work I have more time for) and pay homage to the cover of Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited. The steps in question are inaccessible today ... but we got up real close.
No rock-informed trip to this neighborhood would be complete without a swing by the former site of Max's Kansas City. Much like the Mudd Club, I never actually darkened the doors of this hallowed venue at 213 Park Avenue South, being that I was only 14 years old when it closed its doors, but its legacy is rich in the annals of rock history. From the Velvet Underground to Bob Marley to Suicide to Devo to Sid Vicious to even KISS (I think) and all points in between, anyone who was anyone played Max's. Today, that storied legacy is sullied by the fact that it's now a friggin' deli.
Lastly, I tracked down this location over the summer, but here are my kids emulating David and Syl from (again) the New York Dolls...