PAST IS PROLOGUE

Sonic Youth backstage in the 1980s. Photo via Getty Images.

About two days after I’d moved to the Meat Packing District in fall 1981, from my first NYC apartment in Greenwich Village, the urge to write about music resurfaced. Though I’d maintained a sporadic journal since leaving Ohio that spring, I longed for the motivation of an official assignment, not…

Working in an office next door to my second apartment in New York City — thirty years later

Meat Packing District 2018; corner of 9th Avenue & 14th Street

Comprehending the pre-COVID makeover of Manhattan from grunge to gleam requires a deep dive into the recent past. Nothing captures the transformation of New York City in the 21st Century better than…

Does a first job set the template for your career? Perhaps it does, in ways we can’t see until we approach the other end. The start date of my initial post-college job fell on the same day as the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

Railway Age March 30 1981 issue

Simmons-Boardman Publishing occupied the 17th…

Scenic views of urban decay, glimpsed en route to NYC in 1981

Union Terminal (South Tracks) Cincinnati Ohio 1981

My point of departure for New York City turned out to be less than romantic: a forlorn platform in the freight yards outside the grand old Union Terminal. One of Cincinnati’s architectural treasures, with murals by German artist…

Rick Perlstein’s epic Reaganland examines American life and politics during the late 1970s, bookended by two Presidential election upsets

“The Presidential election is just too stupid to watch…you see Ronald Reagan in these neighborhoods with poor people and you can just hear him saying ‘Oh my God what am I…

Not so long ago it was arguably the most obscure neighborhood in Manhattan

Intersection of 14th Street and Ninth Avenue in 1985; I lived in the white building at left. photo by Brian Rose

Opened in 2009, the main promenade of the High Line park is a former railroad spur for the New York Central Line. The area below the walkway around West 14th Street is known as the Meat Packing…

Mark Coleman

Author of Playback, music geek, art museum nerd, compulsive reader, cook/bottle-washer. Still in NYC.

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