the velvet underground

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The Man Who Fell to Earth: David Bowie’s Formative Years in ’70s New York

Mourners laid flowers and outside David Bowie's apartment on Lafayette Street (Kavitha Surana)

Mourners laid flowers and outside David Bowie’s apartment on Lafayette Street (Kavitha Surana)

By now you’re well aware that David Bowie has died, just days after his 69th birthday and the release of his 25th studio album. During the wee hours of January 10, it was announced that the beloved glam-rock icon who embraced androgyny and far-out, endlessly influential aesthetics “died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer.”

After finding fame in his hometown of London and absconding to the U.S. in 1974, Bowie moved amongst New York’s downtown crowd, popping up at places like Andy Warhol’s Factory and Max’s Kansas City, before relocating to Los Angeles. We consulted a number of publications — one of them yet to be published — that offered an eye into Bowie’s life in early-’70s NYC.
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See Laurie Anderson’s Concert For Dogs, Then Attend This Lou Reed Tribute

39-atmdYou’d think the recent revival of CBGB as an airport restaurant would be sufficient humiliation to convince New Yorkers to let go of their old haunts. But no. Hot on the heels of the Mudd Club rummage sale and the 50th anniversary celebration of Max’s Kansas City comes another 50th anniversary celebration of Max’s Kansas City.

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The Day Lou Reed Went Back to the East Village

Velvet Underground lyrics posted on the window of the Bedford Cheese Shop yesterday: "No kinds of love are better than others."

Velvet Underground lyrics posted on the window of the Bedford Cheese Shop yesterday: “No kinds of love are better than others.”

When he was in his twenties, Colin Summers was a computer consultant whose clients Penn & Teller introduced him to other notable New Yorkers, like Lou Reed. Summers, now an architect living in Santa Monica, shares a story about strolling through the East Village with the late musician. 

In the early nineties I returned to New York City to live with my girlfriend, which turned out to be a mistake. One of the highlights of those years of torture was the time I spent with Lou Reed. He was going through a divorce and had a LOT of time to spend with his computer hacker (me). We had many dinners and lunches and it was only at the first one that my hands shook because I was having a burger with an artist who had helped me get through the hell of architecture school. He was such a hero to me.
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Here’s a Preppy Lou Reed Rocking Out With His College Band

yearbookIn the wake of Lou Reed’s death yesterday, Laurie Gwen Shapiro, a Syracuse alum, dug up this amazing photo from the university’s 1964 yearbook. “Lou Reed was a student of Delmore Schwartz,” she told us. “Also friends with cheerleader Betsey Johnson (look at her here!) who went on to become the fashion designer and was briefly married to John Cale.”
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