Skip to content

no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

I can tell you how I spent my $35: a slice of pizza, a box of poptarts, a $7 pack of cigarettes (extraordinarily expensive for 2002), and then shamefully got hustled out of $15 in the back of an East Village gift shop trying to beat the con artists at their game. Street smarts? I didn’t have any.

Advertisements

When I was 20, an adventurous Kentucky youngster, and a sophomore in the capitol of the big blue, I got in a car with four guys for a weekend in New York City and brought the last $35 to my name.  Five of us slept in the car (an early 90’s Honda Accord), sitting up straight in a motel parking lot in New Jersey.  Next, in a Manhattan parking garage, and then finally back in New Jersey at the same motel.  I can tell you how I spent my $35: a slice of pizza, a box of poptarts, a $7 pack of cigarettes (extraordinarily expensive for 2002), and then shamefully got hustled out of $15 in the back of an East Village gift shop trying to beat the con artists at their game. Street smarts? I didn’t have any.    

In those glorious and glamorous hours I decided that one day I would return to live in the city who had worked her claws into me so endearingly.  As our love affair matured, so did my dream of a mix tape I would make for my voyage home to her:      

New York New York,  Ryan Adams

New York State of Mind, Billy Joel

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Doin’ It, LL Cool J  “…I represent Queens, she was raised out in Brooklyn” (you may have forgotten that one)

Englishman in New York, Sting

New York’s Not my Home, Jim Croce 

New York, Cat Power

Either because I never actually made the tape, or returned instead with another woman, the city has not been altogether kind.  She continues her cold, playful way with me.  A jealous lover, she has done this before- envious even of my fun in upstate New York in following years.  Scott Jones and I were hassled by state troopers, then ravaged by a bear and nearly killed in a white-out while high in the Adirondacks as we scampered hypothermically for two days back to the car, having lost nearly everything to the bears and then the storm.  

 

Scott Jones M.D., climbing partner and team physician

Scott Jones M.D., climbing partner and team physician

Ah, New York.  When will you give in to me?  

I walked 81 blocks today in the rain, trying to find places taking applications.  Today I did coffee shops and cafes.  Tomorrow I’ll do retail establishments.  If by chance you are reading today because you Googled my name after receiving my application, you have the wrong Levon Walker.  Please read no further.  

I was thinking about a favorite Elton song the whole time:

“And now I know, Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say, I thought I knew, But now I know that rose trees never grow in New York City….This Broadway’s got, it’s got a lot of songs to sing, if I knew the words I might join in. I’ll go my way alone, grow my own, my own seeds shall be sown in New York City… Until you’ve seen this trash can dream come true, you stand at the edge while people run you through, and I thank the Lord that there’s people out there like you, I thank the Lord that there’s people out there like you.”           

from Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: