Friday, October 16, 2015

Stronger Than Pride

I won't pretend that I intend to stop living.

You look back at what you were playing on your boom box and some of it seems more decent than the rest. I was pretty keen on Sade, despite my cool intentions, on Avenue B and then on 10th Street at Seventh Avenue.  That apartment with the skylights and the smell of saltwater, that peculiar place at the center of not-desirable New York City.  There was a crackhouse in the garage across the street (before it became a Gourmet Garage).  There was a homeless lady who lived in an INDENTATION.  There was an old-school gay guy charging too much as a barber downstairs, cowboy boots and dyed blonde hair. There was a lampshade shop that I just cannot explain.

Julius was on the corner, Three Lives across the street, acclaimed authors and porn stars winking at me with abandon as they raced by.

Everyone on deadline.

I'd go up to the roof with Cammie, Lisa, Dirk and tricks. For Sade, tar-beach sunbathing and Pimm's. This was a big song that summer, me running hard downtown to the WTC and riding a steamy subway uptown to Cafe Luxembourg. Somewhere along the way I developed a crush on this guy, Mark, who was enamored of my Bohemian (cough cough) way of life.  He would drop by the bar and, as you do, enroll at Columbia.

I still really really love you
love is stronger than pride

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hotel Motel Holiday Inn

I stayed here once, rather unhappy, but the view was truly stellar

I have always been a fool for hotels. Hotels in the abstract, hotels as an idea of an exciting life, hotels just to be away, the anonymity of random Ritz-Carltons in Pasadena and the gravity of the iconic Ritz on the Place Vendôme.  These are all places that figure large in my memory:

The Waldorf, where we were expelled onto a December sidewalk in our pajamas, Nixon coming. Wrapped in furs by Waldorf women and captured on the eleven-o'clock news.

The Boar's Head Inn, site of the annual Barr Kid Pro-Am Diving Competition in a cloistered swimming pool.

Carr's in Gatlinburg with the ever-present temptation to sneak into an elaborate lagoon-style pool next door, featuring a slide through a tunnel in a stage-set rocky cliff.

The Hotel de Nevers Luxembourg, where I lived the entire summer of 1984 for $7 a night, plus an additional 8 FF ($1) to prends une douche, washing my clothes with Woolite in a small sink until I met Agnès,whose mother insisted on doing my laundry in Velizy. Now that's a fun true sentence. Here is another: She ironed my Brooks Brothers boxer shorts. And people say the French aren't friendly...

Chateau Marmont, where I went for business within a week of my father's death, ordered room service club sandwiches and slept extensively. My room was at the back, facing the hill, and was oh so quiet. When I hear the word "peaceful" I always think of the Chateau Marmont.

In the era of the boutique hotel, roughly 1998 to today, I've stayed in a converted office building on the Passeig de Gràcia, a converted water tower in Cologne, a converted something-or-other in East Berlin, a windowless room like a train car in Rome, a nearly windowless room with a whole lotta Phillipe Starck fabric in Paris, One Aldwych in London with the incredibly loud, ostensibly ecological plumbing, and that nice little Hotel Indigo in Asheville with the fantastic view of the mountains and the Grove Park Inn, calling to me like a siren.

Tomorrow I start a new gig writing for Kimpton Hotels, and can't help but feel that my whole life has led me here, to this moment of punching pillows, sniffing soaps and fumbling for fresh ways to communicate the buzzing nature of a well conceived lobby.

I can't wait to dive in.