Bleecker Street! Made famous by all the great writers, artists, and musicians who passed this way over the years. Like Bob Dylan on the cover of his second album, just walking along with a ‘soulful chick’ grasping his arm, that’s right, right off Bleecker Street. This is where I have spent seven days and nights during my USA pilgrimage this month. I have been holed up in a tiny 2nd floor walkup apartment on the corner of Bleecker and Morton in the West Village (Greenwich Village). Although there is not much here that is green… well except for Washington Square Park. They saved a little green there.
I have been much like a hermit artist, a possessed writer, typing away on his notebook computer in the midst of this history, this nightly frivolity, this happening place, with all the locals and tourists mingling at the bars, cafes, pizza joints and those ice cream shops… particularly welcome sights on 100+ degree (heat indexed) days and nights, even if the cones or cups of iced delight are almost $5 each. The heat wave continues, and Bleecker Street continues to be busy, bouncy and buoyant.
It is an odd feeling to be lying here in this bed in someone’s mini-studio apartment rented out to me for two, then three, then two more nights, as I made my nomadic flights out and back across this great country of ours. It’s been inspiring to reflect on how much alternative culture and art emerged and found a home here.
Who knows whether the muse of Dylan or any of the others will pass along to my writing. It was, after all, a generation’s home to America’s Bohemian culture, its Beat writers, folk musicians, and offbeat comedians. I did compose an additional hundred pages of my new novel while nesting here. But we shall see what that amounts to in the end. What the muse has provided me, if anything at all.
But, the times they are a’changin’! As with all else in this nation, Bleecker Street is a modern shopping mecca now. Stylish clothing stores and gadget shops, side by side with the those selling sex toys, marijuana bongs, and other novelty shops, lining all the side streets of the West Village, interspersed with old favorites, like John’s Pizzeria, established in 1929, so says the sign on the awning overhead, or Matt Uvanov Guitars. And those classic “axes” ain’t cheap! No siree Mr. Bojangles! But, there ain’t no need to be knockin on heaven’s door, because we got us a piece of heaven right here in Amerika, just waiting on some more blowback from mother nature, and after this heatwave it’ll be a hard rains a’ gonna fall!