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.
I never asked Lou about the old days with Warhol. My experience has been that the stories you wait to hear are going to be a lot better than the ones you try to prompt someone to tell you.
We were walking to dinner [at Col Legno] through the East Village with my friend Jill, when the East Village was still pretty scruffy. We dodged a hophead who was leaning on some invisible support. We both studiously watched Jill’s short skirt ahead of us instead of the drug addict who was living in some other world and we tried to ignore his unappetizing scent.
“That reminds me of one of the last times I was over here,” Lou said (I was dragging him a little out of his usual territory). “It was when Nico was still with the Velvets and we were invited to some happening. There were some big spaces over here back then. So I am stoned out of my mind, really on every drug I have in my apartment. And I am carrying enough drugs for the rest of the people we might bump into at the party. And Nico is high as a kite. We’re walking down a street just like this one, with the big flagstones. And Nico is wearing a skirt just like that one,” motioning to Jill. “And suddenly she says, ‘Lou, I have to pee.'” Lou does a great imitation of her German accent (“Louuuuu, I haaave to pewee.”).
“And I tell her we’re only a couple blocks, just hold it, but she’s so high it’s not going to happen. And she’s not wearing underwear and just hikes up her skirt a little and squats right there on the sidewalk. I’m stunned, and stoned, and I have to stop walking and I look out into the street, over the row of parked cars, right into the eyes of a cop that has pulled up in his cruiser. I figure it’s the end. I have enough drugs on me to keep me in jail for decades. The cop stares at me, then looks past me so I know he can see Nico and says, ‘House train her, willya?’, bloops the siren and keeps driving down the street.”