The Esoteric Underground and the Death of the American Dream
Who’s That Girl?
I have been a professional model since the age of 2. My mother ushered me into the industry when i could barely talk. I was an instant success at the age of 3, riding the crest of the wave of the 80’s child marketing phenomena; and yet the life represented more to me than just your usual dollars and cents, shadow and gloss. I had been privy, the sole witness of my world, to the dying and diseased world of a broken, and infested city. New York.
I saw the bums in the streets, who were truly, finally hollowed eyed and high, who had tales to tell in the black of their eyes. Whose road had now ended in the middle of a busy and smoking street, a sidewalk of excess where everything shiny had now bronzed, aged and faded. Traces of the early nineteenth century mingled with the 20’s and the 50’s blending into an overlooked monster. The streets that gleamed of Scorsese, his city, my fathers city, the pimps in bright velvet regalia, the junkies in stained white t shirts hanging in dime store doorways, the broken paths of artists, bookies, money makers and go getters.
Drug addict after drug addict, whose lineage could be traced to the immigrant mother who sat on the stoops after midnight looking for her son who might never show up. Or the babooshkad grandmother who went down to the 27th precinct to pick up her son who, chainsmoked and drunk, sat in a pile of his own excess in a holding cell.
The NY that reeked of the late 19th century, the musty floors, the once filled jars of penny candies, the carnival rides, the integration of languages, the smells of Italy, China, and Russia. The speak and belief of those people. The Jewish grandmothers kissing their sons good bye, having bundled them up in Brooklyn, for their long private school journey into Manhattan.
I stood there, a child, vibrating upon these psychic phenomena, a city filled with austere ghosts and flaming memories. The junkies of Harlem, the pale cool of the Village. The explosion of sexuality, and the rise, and yes fall, of the 42nd street empire. No one can explain those glittery, filthy streets that started up underneath my Patten leather Mary Janes for the first half of my life. These images swirled in my psyche, filling my mind with all the lingering traces of a turbulent, and excessive American path. The triumphant gateway of the old world, my home away from home. My flickering kindred street spirit, NY.
Oh, and then there were the go sees, the agents, the managers, the money, the gloss of the eighties. Still only 12 yrs old, I retreated upstage upstate in the beginning fo the 21st century, to go to school, like a normal girl, amidst mountains and locusts, Woodstock, and a gang of trouble who would become my best friends….We all hold this treasured city in our hearts and minds. Not California sun, not Midwestern naivete, not southern decadence. No. Old world chaos, the struggle for the dollar, the immigrant passageway, the faded clocks in the street signs, old advertisements on old buildings, the mountains, peace, quiet, moths on the screen doors, too bored and getting into exhilarating trouble, Woodstock, music, spirits, the woods, the darkness, the farms, the sky, the life we live was chosen for us, shaped by the Hudson River.
NY will forever hold a piece of my heart in its shattered reflection of itself. I ❤ NY and its flaws, American jewel of the almighty underground that lives and burns inside of me. NY is me, and I am NY, wherever I go whoever I see, NY is in me.