Open Phones: Lou Reed's New York

Monday, October 28, 2013

NYC icon Lou Reed died yesterday at the age of 71. We remember his life and work - and the New York he reflected and built. The phones are open: What did Lou Reed mean to you? What did his life reflect about downtown New York? Do you have a Lou Reed story? Post here, or call 212-433-9692.

Comments [22]

Jonathan Failla

Right after the Berlin Wall fell, living room cafes opened up all around Prenzlauer Berg, East Germany. I baked New York style pizzas in one, the Café ZK (Zentral Komittee). They only had two artists playing in a loop on their East German s...tereo: Lou Reed and Tracy Chapman. How many times did I punch my dough down, while singing to Dirty Boulevard? To EVERY song on that album? His voice inspired the New York pizza, that my stomach was directing me to concoct. Lou Reed, you are indelibly marked on my soul from the '89-'90 time of pizza anarchy in newly freed East Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg. Thank you, for stopping me from dying of homesickness. A huge chunk of humanity has been ripped away from us in your passing. Your time on Earth meant something.

Nov. 03 2013 06:23 AM
Ed from New Jersey

I saw Lou Reed at the Knitting Factory in 2000, just before Ecstasy came out. Before the show, as was the custom at the Knitting Factory, I downed a few PBR's with my wife and some friends. I made a trip to the bathroom before they opened the doors to the show and on my way, a guy slammed into me from behind really hard. Full of liquid bravado, I swung around to confront the culprit, only to see Lou and his entourage. He was the one guy who could have diffused me at that moment and he gave me a look that seemed to ask what I was planning on doing about it. Then he smiled and moved on to the dressing room, patting me on the shoulder as he passed.

Oct. 28 2013 11:22 PM

"It always bothers me to see people writing ‘RIP’ when a person dies. It just feels so insincere and like a cop-out. To me, ‘RIP’ is the microwave dinner of posthumous honors." ~ Lou Reed

♥U, Lou!

Oct. 28 2013 12:06 PM

Saw Lou Reed at United Nations General Assembly with the Blind Boys of Alabama a few years ago---was AMAZING!

Oct. 28 2013 11:58 AM
Brendan from Upper West Side

This is a pretty un-rock & roll anecdote, but I'm pretty sure I saw Lou walking a tiny little dog on the West Side, about four or five years ago. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, shades, and looking miserably sunburned. I don't know why that makes him heroic in my mind, but hey.

Oct. 28 2013 11:58 AM
Robert from NYC

Phew, glad his gas took that route!!!

Oct. 28 2013 11:57 AM
Robert from NYC

Yes Eddy, you got it right on the wobbly haloes, and he will be missed, and yet we have his music to keep him with us.

Oct. 28 2013 11:44 AM
John from Manhattan

In the late 70's when I was a teenager in a small Massachusetts town I heard the song "Rock 'n Roll" on a college radio station. The lyrics spoke to me and I listened to that "fine fine music" and knew that I had to move to New York. His music opened me up to a new world of punk rock and art that I might not have discovered if I hadn't heard that song on the radio. Years later in the 90's I met Lou in of all places a gym in the West Village. Respecting his privacy I only nodded an acknowledgement and he gave me a look and we went on our way. But I wish I could have told him how my life was saved by "Rock 'n Roll"

Oct. 28 2013 11:29 AM

12 years ago, I was an aspiring musician in New York. On lunch break in midtown, walking down 57th street I saw Lou Reed walking towards me. I was so excited but didn't know what to say to him. I just walked up to him and stuck out my hand for a handshake. He looked me in my eyes and gave me one of the hardest and most memorable handshakes ever. We didn't exchange any words and kept on walking our separate ways after that. Epic NYC moment.

Oct. 28 2013 11:20 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

I saw Lou Reed live in the late 80s in Baltimore, before I became a fan of his and The Velvet Underground. He was a powerful performer who radiated rock n' roll authority. I saw him again in 1996 in DC.

I next saw Lou in 1997, at Kim's Video (of all places), where I was working. He and Laurie Anderson came in together with a list of music videos they wanted to find. We had most of it, thankfully. Lou was very polite and humble, surprising to me, who knew his reputation well. I was nonetheless honored to assist Lou and Laurie in their search!

Oct. 28 2013 11:17 AM
Mandy G from Carroll Gardens

Two years ago, I went to an event at the Strand — Lou Reed reading from and signing "The Raven," his collaboration with Mattoti. When he signed my book, I told him that a few years back, I named my first photo exhibition "the Quiet Places," inspired by the line in "Candy Says." I expected a curt and courteous reply, but instead he responded as though he'd never been told he inspired someone before. He thanked me, asked about the photos and said he'd love to see them one day.

He's both a legend and a very real, humble individual. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

Oct. 28 2013 11:16 AM
Bruce from NY from Manhattan

In 1973, when I was 13, I saw Lou Reed at The Academy of Music, the concert that was recorded for the classic album "Rock n Roll Animal." It remains the greatest rock concert I've ever attended. Lou, unrestricted by not having a guitar, was absolutely manic and out of control, and yet very much in control. I saw him many more times over the decades and he never matched that performance.

Oct. 28 2013 11:16 AM
Alyssa from Brooklyn

I was always a big fan of Lou Reed so I was very disappointed when he stiffed me on a bill when I waited on him. I was working at a club and he and Peter Gabriel came in to sit at the table and listen to a young guy sing. I brought them both drinks, they drank them, and walked out after 20 mins. I thought it was particularly ironic since Peter Gabriel was Mr. Amnesty International at the time, and he couldn't even tip the waitress.

Oct. 28 2013 11:15 AM

Many years ago, I spent a day trying to convince a friend to move to New York and be my roommate in the W. Village. I showed her all my favorite places, but she was still wavering. Then we passed Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson walking down W. Broadway. She made me turn around and walk past them again (an extremely uncool move) and said, OK, I'm in.

Oct. 28 2013 11:14 AM
Jordana from NYC

My mom died of liver disease at 70 four Sundays ago. Somehow, knowing that Lou Reed is up there with her at a similar age, with similar tastes, makes me feel better!

Oct. 28 2013 11:12 AM
VUer from Lexington and 125

At a recent gallery opening of Velvet Underground-related photographs and artwork, Lou and Mo Tucker walking hand in hand looking at pictures of their 20-something selves and reminiscing... FYI, in the Netherlands on the Queen's Birthday they play Perfect Day on church bells across the country...

Oct. 28 2013 11:04 AM
Brooklyn67 from Brooklyn, NY

I grew up with Lou Reed in NYC, but he was truly cemented in me when his song "Perfect Day" was the center of my budding relationship when I was living in Rome and LL was in Brooklyn 7 years ago. I came back and we had a semi-rocky, intense relationship (not unlike his music) for 6 years. Our relationship finally ended and LL moved 3000 miles away. "Perfect Day" seems to fill in the many miles between us. She and I will never have a relationship again, but this "Perfect Day" will remain timeless between us and cradles countless memories that will continue to surface every time I hear this song.

Oct. 28 2013 11:03 AM
Linda from Jersey Shore

This isn't actually my story, but my daughter's best friend Marielena. Marielena worked for Film Forum downtown a few years back, and quite often after the movie ended she would have to wake up those patrons who fell asleep. One day she woke this "old couple" after the movie. Of course to the 20something Marielena, the "old couple" was Lou Reed and his wife Laurie Anderson.

Gio from Gowanus it might have been the same day!

Oct. 28 2013 11:02 AM
Gio from Gowanus

My husband and I went a movie at the Film Forum about 5 years ago. I was in the lobby waiting to go into theatre and I saw Lou Reed with Laurie Anderson leaving Valentino: The Last Emperor. He was standing in the lobby by himself when I caught his eye. He looked with dread as I approached him and it was already too late for me to retreat and I just said "hi Lou did you like the movie" and he looked relieved and smiled "yes" in that unmistakable voice I have heard for so many years I will miss his shows.

Oct. 28 2013 11:00 AM
DQ from Brooklyn

Lou was a new model of masculinity and a welcome rebellion against the cliches that rock and roll usually peddles.

Oct. 28 2013 10:48 AM
mr nyc

Lou Reed was the dark psyche of New York, the rude voice in the crowd, the eternal contrarian in a world of conformity. While his music was universal in its influence and lasting appeal, it was rooted in the wild experience of this city and its people. When I think of Lou Reed's music and legeacy, I think of downtown clubs and bars, throbbing with with music, lights and people in the dark of a city night, of kinky sex with strangers in gritty apartments, of doing drugs with people you just met, of creating art that you don't care if anyone else likes (think of songs like "Heroin," "Sweet Jane", "Sally Can't Dance", "Take a Walk on the Wild Side," "Waiting for the Man"). But Lou Reed was a quiet optimist, with a hopeful streak running through his work. His music was, ultimately, about looking for humanity, in yourself and others, and finding it in bizarre places (think of songs like "Perfect Day", "I'll Be Your Mirror", "Sattelite of Love").

He just kept us hanging on with heavenly wine and roses while we took a walk on the side -- and sometimes did heroin.

Oct. 28 2013 10:33 AM
Eddy from Chicago

"Halloween Parade" is required listening -- a Breughelesque ballad from New York. He will be missed, even as the haloes wobble on his thorny curls.

Oct. 28 2013 10:27 AM

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