This abstract street art ‘portrait’ with the words “Rebel” at the top — which is an obvious nod to David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover — is painted at end of the trash bin corral adjacent to Alternative Apparel clothing store at 281 Lafayette Street. It’s just a short stroll down the block from Bowie’s former residence at 285 Lafayette Street, where his widow, Iman, and daughter Lexi still reside. Daniel Winchester is the artist. A friend who used be the family’s dog nanny told me that this piece actually went up a week after David died. I can’t believe I just noticed it, and how great it stills looks. David Bowie Forever.
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.
Traveling home from Coney Island late Friday night, I decided to get off the F Train at Second Avenue and Houston Street and walk the rest of the way home. It was an absolutely gorgeous and mild late summer evening and there won’t be too many more of those at this point, before the seasons change, and I want to enjoy it while it lasts.
As I moved to cross over Second Avenue going east, I could not help but notice that, just north of where I was standing (on a small traffic island, just so you can be assured I wasn’t standing in oncoming traffic to get this shot) an apartment building had a man’s face projected about four stories high onto its facade. “Who the hell is that,” I thought to myself, “I should take a picture,” and so I did. Then I forgot all about it until the next day, when I passed a construction site on my block and noticed a flock of concert tour posters for some dude called The Weeknd, and I recognized that face. Apparently, he is famous.
If you are like me, and have no fucking clue who The Weeknd is, despite seeing his face plastered everywhere — now including, it seems, on the sides of apartment buildings in Manhattan– you can read a very interesting article on his astronomical increase in popularity at This Link.