Friday, March 3, 2017
Darlings, This Book Changed My Perspective On The East Village!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Girls, let me tell you, even though "HAIR" is set in the East Village, and even though I have lived in New York for over thirty years, while never alien to me, this part of Manhattan was never "my scene." If I would go there, it was for a reason--to meet friends, have dinner, see a show, go to St. Marks Bookstore. In other words, I never went there just to "hang out." I had specific places in the West Village, for that, and, besides, I always found the East Village too isolating.
But after having read Tim Murphy's "Christadora," I am ready to move in there! For starters, I never knew the East Village had such an iconic apartment building. What did I know, but from the Dakota???????????????
I loved all the characters in this novel--especially Ava, and her daughter, Milly-- but what I really loved was the sense of atmosphere and history Murphy's novel opens up. At the time of the novel's starting point, in the early Eighties, New York and I were just becoming acquainted with each other. The more I read, the more I realized how really dicey the city was. The older me is now amazed that shy little me wanted to move there, at such a time--let alone, that I did.
But the young have no fear, so what was dicey now was, to me, back then, exotic and exciting. And as different from the suburbs as one could get. How could I know this would change?
As one who was there, and did my part--volunteering for GMHC, and in the Friendly Visitor Program at then Roosevelt Hospital--I can say Tim Murphy gets the whole thing right. Reading "Christadora" is like charting my early years in New York. I never did drugs, but I did know where the so-called "shooting galleries" were, having been down there, for other, wilder activities.
I shudder when I look back at some of my youth, feeling lucky to have survived. Which is why I loved "Christadora" so much. It enters the pantheon of great New York novels, which I know I will pick up sometime, and reread again. Had I done so last year, it would have made my Ten Best List.
But it is a best in any year.
Now, I have GOT to visit the building, itself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!