Monday, September 11, 2006

N.Y. State of Mind

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A photo of a World Center Tribute made from the ashes of the building

Nas, "NY State of Mind" (HQ 256)

It seems essential to mention New York City today, on the day it proved itself resiliant and tough beyond any measure. I don't know how to memorialize this day, to be honest, as it's a day that brings up so many emotions and thoughts. It would be nice if we made a real committment to honor and remember this day, without disgraceful documentaries or 24 news coverage. I actually spent most of my serious work at college looking at collective memory and how it is shaped in the context of the Shoah. It's always struck me how little memory we have, how little reflection we

Above is one of the greatest songs ever made, Nas' "NY State of Mind." It's one of the finest examples of New York art, up there with Scorcese's Mean Streets, Luc Sante's Low Life, Hubert Selby's novels, Henry Roth's Call It Sleep, Law of Gravity and so much more. It's a tale from the streets, from the heart of the city in all of its darkness and violence. Listen to Nasty Nas' stories, the gunplay, the project scenes, running from an attack, the clockers, the basehead zombies, the cops. Listen to the pain and nightmares that lie behind the City That Never Sleeps ("I never sleep, 'cos sleep is the cousin of death"), the paranoia and fear that permeates. Nas' lines come at you so fast and relentless, mirroring the city that he loves.

Most of all, this is an expression of the NYC attitude, the never-say-die, grindmode, entrepeneur mindset that makes the city tick. It's about the hustle, about survival in the toughest of times and I can't think of a greater tribute to that greatest of cities on the day it was attacked and scarred. Bloodied, but not bowed.

-Speaking of NYC, I have recovered from my first attempt at finding an apartment in that great city and am embarking on a more concerted effort again. It truly has been one of the worst experiences I've ever had, a constant stream of rejection, lies and two-faced people. Two recent examples should give you an insight into what it's like to search on Craig's List for a place to live. One place in Williamsburg, a few roomates, big loft, sound good. I subsequently learn via email that the apt. is connected to a studio space that is infested with RATS!

A tribute to the firefighters and police who risked their lives that day near the WTC


wildflower seed said...

Thanks for the Dylan once again. I found myself nodding my head to your sentiments about finding an apartment in NYC. I lived there for two years, and had pretty much the same experience. BTW, I am in Philly now, and looking to check out the live music scene. As you may have guessed from my blog (assuming you visited ;)), I am mostly into jambands when it comes to live music. What kinds of clubs/venues in Philly would you say are jamband staples? Thanks in advance for the info.

eo said...

Thanks for your thoughtful reflection about NYC. I've made it a tradition for myself to pay tribute to the people I love on the anniversary of the 9/11 massacre, an exercise of showing compassion in the face of death and destruction. Didn't get a chance to this year, so your blog hit the spot for me.