I’m sure I am not alone when I say that I haven’t really felt centered since I heard the news of David Bowie’s death when I woke up at 6:00 AM on Monday morning. No matter how many bittersweet memories of seeing Bowie in concert back-in-the-day, or engaging personal accounts of ways in which David Bowie profoundly impacted countless lives that I read in my FaceBook news feed — and, trust me, the verbal tributes haven’t stopped coming — this news just doesn’t seem like it could be real. It’s almost like I need to ‘see the body,’ so to speak, for it to really sink in. Because I thought David Bowie was going to live forever. Didn’t we all?
I like to think of myself as being respectful of other’s personal space but, despite being somewhat mortified at the thought of exploiting David Bowie’s death in any way, or getting in his family’s face when they just want their privacy, the more I thought about it, the more I felt compelled to just go to his house; to make my own pilgrimage to visit the memorial shrine that fans have built over the two short days since he passed, which is growing in front of the building where David Bowie lived with his wife Iman and daughter Lexi. I didn’t know exactly where the building was, but I know downtown pretty well and I recognized a fairly distinctive landmark from seeing many on-the-scene TV reports, so I was able to figure out where to go.
A light mist was falling as I walked uptown from the subway station, and the air had that still crispness, indicating that it could just start snowing at any minute. I hoped it would not start snowing just yet. And then I saw the crowd.
My photos are not great because I forgot to turn on my flash for some of them, and also I was trying not to step on, or in front of, anyone else who wanted to get pictures of this very beautiful tribute of love for a man whose music touched almost everyone I know. The collection of beautiful, fragrant flowers, personal David Bowie artwork, toys, gifts, and a small collection of Jesus Candles, is surrounded by metal police barricades, but if you have something you want to add to the shrine, the police will let you walk around and lay it where you feel it should rest. Everyone was very, very cool and respectful.
Up front: The cover story from Tuesday’s issue of AM New York, a free morning daily, generally available as you enter or exit the subway.
There is so much artwork left by fans, and I can’t even imagine what has already been covered and buried deep under flowers and mementos.
Here’s a sentiment we all wish were true.
I wonder who left that little Teddy Bear, and if it held any special message meant for David.
Bowie’s music played unobtrusively as I stood and took in this scene, and I could hear people sniffling, but a reprieve from the wracked sobbing that I imagine we have all been doing a bit of. It was very peaceful. I think David would have really loved to see such an outpouring of adoration from his fans.
I wish everyone who loved, and now mourns David tonight could see how beautiful this place is, and feel how much love went into creating it. I didn’t want to intrude on his family’s grief, but I almost felt like I had to go so I could represent for those who are not able to be near this energy.
God Speed You David Bowie. We will Miss You Forever.