It is Saturday September 11, I look at the sky that seems to open with the first blues of the day. Grayish blues, Lorenzo woke up shy, but I still went down to the pool, the penultimate day in the pool. The penultimate day to swim, sunbathe, and read the paragraphs I've been stealthily underlining all summer. I don't like that they see me doing it, I don't like that they think that I am some kind of intellectual who marks every interesting sentence and then spits it out at a gathering of friends. I underline them for myself, to learn from them. I remember the first days of the swimming pool, those in which you think you go down to the prison yard. Neighbors looking at each other and analyzing each other in a cavalier way. Why did they get the one on the corner? Homicide? Public scandal? I imagine them that way, even the lady who places her blue chair in the shade every day and explains the cod recipe from the day before to her friends. "Cod" is sure to be the victim's code name. That poor victim… What kind of psychopath is that who after killing starts cooking?… Or the lady who speculates if I have alcohol or drugs in my thermos. "Don't you carry drugs there?" She asks me half jokingly half seriously. I would love to answer her sarcastically. Say yes, that what is hidden beneath the sport lid is not water, it is a combination of chemicals and alcohol. A recipe of my own that only I can drink, any other human being would die. What a lady! White hair, sunglasses on even when there is no sun, a frown, an ear for everything... I am convinced that she would know how to answer my questions, that she knows if the young man in the corner apartment is sentenced to death or is just passing through.
Then, the exceptions, the rays of sunlight radiated by the young women who walk through the courtyard. They seek light, but do not need it. Wet and tanned skins in which one would move into. Teeny bikinis that incite sin. In them there is no crime, only lascivious and endless kisses; bottles of wine and champagne; lacy lingerie and wild sex.
Photograph: John Hoepker
But today is special, 20 years have passed since an airplane changed the lives of hundreds of New York families. A mixture of grief and apathy invade me, I have been doing it all these September 11. My father leaving to buy tobacco and commenting on what happened. "A plane has crashed into the Twin Towers of Manhattan", pronouncing Manhattan with a harsh "h". We knew nothing, an accident, we supposed, but no. Every September 11 I peruse the photographs by Thomas Hoepker and listen to New York, I love you, But you're bringing me down, by LCD Soundsystem. New York is the only pool in which I would happily drown. A pool full of cinema, theatre, music, fashion. The deep Chinatown, the Lower East Side, the Upper West Side, the East Village, Harlem, Scorsese and Coppola's Queens…
New York is magical nostalgia. It is the first time that I stepped on Grand Central Station, and that I went up to the top of Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State, and the Freedom Tower. New York is my first Greek restaurant, that tiny one on a Soho street. Get upset with the product and the bill at La Boqueria… Spanish tapas? Fuck! New York is the opening of the New Museum surrounded by friends. Marissa making me fall in love forever with her smile. Parties with beer pong on the rooftops. Scream and jump high with Clearest Blue by CHVRCHES at Radio City Music Hall. Wander through one of Larry Gagosian's galleries. My jaw clenches every time I walk by 381W Broadway, I visualize the RRL storefront, and I think of that first time on Bleecker St.
JCrew Liquor Store
New York is a selfie in Times Square, even if it's the least New Yorker and the tackiest thing one can do. Get my fill of oysters at five in the afternoon. Travel by subway from end to end… New York is the tomato sauce of my life, the one without which I cannot live; the city where superheroes live, the fucking center of the Universe.
I need to return. Tell Daniel Quigley that he is the heir to Georgia O'Keeffe, he should leave The Armory and continue his career as an artist. Ask Max and Pam to repeat their wedding in Bryant Park, to invite Marissa again and carry out my amorous designs, to have dinner and share a fondue at Kenmare with her, rent a suite at the Bowery Hotel, snuggle up next to her, smoke something to make my neighbor proud, listen and sing New York by St. Vincent, make out all night and drink coffee the next morning at Café Selected. Emboldened and exhausted with pleasure, go to Phillips and bid a lot of money on a very exclusive Patek Philippe and then declare bankruptcy. Engorge myself on pastrami at Katz's. Stop by Garret and drink a cocktail made with bourbon. Eat Chinese food at Hop Kee. Walk around 235W Broadway and think that at some point J.Crew Liquor Store was there. Buy a pair of ties and chinos at Canal St. Surplus, wear them for the first time and say goodbye to the City by watching something at Village East Cinema.