There’s no really good reason for South Brooklyn Post to cover the fact that Lou Reed died Sunday, at age 71, likely of liver disease (he had a liver transplant in May).
Except that, well, I’m really sad and I love Lou Reed. “Perfect Day” (Transformer, 1972) was the song I danced to with my husband at our wedding. I can still listen to Velvet Underground for days on end. I saw Reed live at the Knitting Factory when it was in downtown Manhattan, back when downtown Manhattan was still cool, in the late 90s. Years later, I saw Reed strolling along the High Line, wearing white tennis shoes, a phenomenon I chewed on for weeks. And then later, oddly, I almost bumped into him when we were both crossing Lafayette Street at Houston.
The fairly recent sightings were symbolic to me. The Lou Reed I loved, the Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground who hung out with Andy Warhol and sang about dark stuff and dirty streets and junkies, was to me the embodiment of the gritty, rock-n-roll New York City I adored, a dying New York that I often yearn for. The Lou Reed that would wear white tennis shoes while strolling along the High Line Park, all wrinkled and in a sort of track suit — well that felt all wrong. It didn’t fit. It hinted at the shinier New York that exists today, putting so many of us on edge. Enjoying the new New York, with kids, but pining for the old.
Thank goodness: When I nearly bumped into him (Oh, that I would have) on Lafayette Street, well that put everything back in order. He was haughty, quick, wearing dark sunglasses, dressed all in black, and seemed angry. What a relief.
Rolling Stone has a nice tribute to Reed with several videos. Listen and let’s remember one of the greats of all time.