Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Endless Slumber

"I've dreamed a lot. I'm tired now from dreaming but not tired of dreaming. No one tires of dreaming, because to dream is to forget, and forgetting does not weigh on us, it is a dreamless sleep throughout which we remain awake."

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2017
Words by Fernando Pessoa from The Book Of Disquiet, 1920s

Friday, December 8, 2017

Writing The Light

"Windows, posters, signs, and writings on walls fascinate me."

John Naar
Rest In Peace

"From my first visits to the National Gallery in London and the Louvre in Paris, I recall Vermeer, Turner, Seurat and other painters but no photographers. However, on my sixteenth birthday in 1936 at the Sylvia Beach Shakespeare And Company bookshop in Paris I saw Paris De Nuit, a book of photographs by Brassai. It portrayed the denizens of the Parisian bars, brothels, and streets close to where I was living. And it made me want to become a photographer."

Photograph by John Naar, from The Faith Of Graffiti (1974)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Comradeship Is Essential

“For me, to remember friendship is to recall those conversations that it seemed a sin to break off: the ones that made the sacrifice of the following day a trivial one.”

Saturday, November 11, 2017

True Grit

There I was, sitting on the dock of the bay, when the thought came over me to shoot myself. Next thing I knew I was walking around in excruciating pain, but quite pleased with the perfect bulletholes in both my feet. As I was strutting proudly, I ran into a rather large lady who was insistent upon giving me a hug, which I shrugged off. Moments later I found myself in a well-lit room in an office building, in which stood a booth that was providing camping provisions. People lined-up and paid with some sort of blue stamp, the grimness on their faces giving off an actual odor of despair. After having a long and drawn-out conversation with an old man about the impending war, I took my leave to make my way towards Columbia University. As I walked, a young lady with a large umbrella approached me and asked me if I needed coverage; I accepted even though it wasn't raining. We proceeded to troop downtown for a few blocks, when she abruptly told me she had a fear of overpasses and took her leave. I then realized I was late for my appointment and the stress became overwhelming. Before I could sort out my plan of action, John Wayne himself ran out of the mist and kicked me in the stomach.

Words by Lee Greenfeld © 2017
Kill The Resisters woodcut by Jiang Feng, 1931

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Gentle Rebel

"To stir the masses, to appeal to their higher, better selves, to set them thinking for themselves, and to hold ever before them the ideal of mutual kindness and good will, based upon mutual interests, is to render real service to the cause of humanity."

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

We Loved Him, Despite Ourselves

His life felt constricted for so long it became something he just learned to tolerate, despite the pain. The serpent's grip seemed to tighten with every aching, passing day. There was a need for release, always the quest for action. His boredom was epic.

At times his journey seemed like a disease, rather than a pursuit. Typically, he chose libation as an out, but it only fueled things; the lust seeping from his pours when the fuel hit his bloodstream. He was always charming, for as far back as anyone could remember, yet there was a secret history there; a curse. The attention both feeding, and in the end, destroying his very core. Stumbling home night after night, wrecked and lost, he would feel the serpent again, its embrace strengthening. Tail to mouth.

One day he even stopped into a progressive temple, but he got hung up on the length of the skirt worn by the girl who greeted him. The cross resting deep in her cleavage sent him reeling, and running to the nearest tavern. It wasn't to be, like all the other emotional shards left in his wake tell us, now that it's all over. He continued the endless cycle, including daily rituals that did little to soothe.

And then there was the night that echoes like a schoolyard whisper. He walked off alone into the night, never to be heard from again. Rumors abound as to his fate, the most circulated tale being that he took a sharp turn into a strange pub, and through another typical night of debauchery, he was freed, and ultimately, reborn.

Words by Lee Greenfeld © 2011-2017
Photograph by Paul Mones, year unknown

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Umbrella Skies

When I was a teenager there was a short-lived tradition among some of my boys to do Well-Dressed Men Nights, where we'd go out to dive bars in the city dressed to the nines — or our budget interpretation of what that was — get loaded, and pump quarters into the jukebox, playing Frank, Frank, and more Frank. The nights always ended with something breaking — one of our hearts, glass, knuckles, or someone's nose — and a long subway ride back to our respective boroughs.

"Summer Wind" was our unofficial theme song, and will forever remind me of those carefree days, and my lost friend James.

Summer Wind tattoo by JT Miller at NYHC Tattoo

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The New Breed: Lvger

Lvger are a new band straight out of New York City who play tough street-rock — think Motörhead meets the punkier side of early NWOBHM. The power-trio is comprised of Chris (The Templars/ Prowler), James, and James. Dig their two-song demo here.

Photography by Lee Greenfeld © 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Third Avenue, Circa 1989

Pitchers of beer consumed in mugs, never pints.
In places where the tables were always sticky,
The jukebox too loud and distorted,
And the good times never seemed to end.

That was the atmosphere.
Words by Lee Greenfeld © 2011-2017

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Double The Pleasure

While I was waiting to enter a nightclub on a side-street in South Brooklyn, there was a commotion out front. I was with my childhood friend Len, who went pale and started to point furiously. I looked over and I was staring at myself, dressed to the nines in a sharkskin suit, cursing, and pushing people around while swigging out of a forty-ounce bottle of Old English beer. Before I could process what was happening, the alternate me staggered in front of me, sneered, and then smashed the bottle at my feet, soaking my legs in malt liquor. I was immediately torn as to how I should retaliate...

Words by Lee Greenfeld © 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Roads to Freedom

"He was free, free in every way, free to behave like a fool or a machine, free to accept, free to refuse, free to equivocate: to marry, to give up the game, to drag this dead weight about with him for years to come. He could do what he liked, no one had the right to advise him, there would be for him no Good nor Evil unless he brought them into being. All around him things were gathered in a circle, expectant, impassive, and indicative of nothing. He was alone, enveloped in this monstrous silence, free and alone, without assistance and without excuse, condemned to decide without support from any quarter, condemned for ever to be free."

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2017
Words by Jean-Paul Sartre from The Age Of Reason, 1945

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Little Bit Of Urban Rock

I still love this damn city, even if it's a shell of what it once was, and any semblance of a real community is nearly gone. I miss the days when your neighbors actually wanted to know you, would say hello, and knew they could turn to you for help if needed. I miss when there were cats in the neighborhood who'd chase-out/beatdown the predators when they rolled through looking for a vic; when folks didn't turn a blind eye to someone in distress. Long gone are the days when you didn't get sneered at by transplants for sitting on their stoop, when there weren't separate entrances for the poor in newly built buildings, and nearly everyone could afford a piece of the pie, even if only a small slice.

All that said, I still get a massive jolt of city-love when I spend the afternoon in Coney Island or an evening in South Brooklyn, or spend time in one of the many boss parks that I once took for granted. When I drink in Jimmy's Corner, catch a rock'n'roll show, grab a plate of $1 dumplings in some hole-in-the-wall joint in Chinatown or tacos from a street-cart in Jackson Heights, hit up one of the hundreds of free gallery openings that happen monthly, or chop it up with another local, reminiscing about the good times and the bad... I feel alive.

This is still a great city filled with art, adventure, culture, and a fair amount of real humans, but for how much longer it's hard to say.

Words by Lee Greenfeld © 2017
[ If anyone knows the name of the photographer who snapped the above shot of
the Montague Street OTB, please be in touch so they can receive proper credit. ]

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Love That's Like Music Or Something

“When I'm dead, I hope it may be said: his sins were scarlet, but his books were read.” 

J.P. Donleavy
Rest In Peace

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

From The Ashes

"I think it's a mistake to ever look for hope outside of one's self. One day the house smells of fresh bread, the next of smoke and blood. One day you faint because the gardener cuts his finger off, within a week you're climbing over corpses of children bombed in a subway. What hope can there be if that is so? I tried to die near the end of the war. The same dream returned each night until I dared not to go to sleep and grew quite ill. I dreamed I had a child, and even in the dream I saw it was my life, and it was an idiot, and I ran away. But it always crept onto my lap again, clutched at my clothes. Until I thought, if I could kiss it, whatever in it was my own, perhaps I could sleep. And I bent to its broken face, and it was horrible … but I kissed it. I think one must finally take one's life in one's arms."

Words from After The Fall, 1964

Monday, September 4, 2017

On The Waterfront

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Coney Island Of My Mind #21


"Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."

Photograph by Chris Stein

Monday, August 14, 2017

Beautifully Simple

"If you had asked me why I had joined the militia I should have answered: 'To fight against Fascism,' and if you had asked me what I was fighting for, I should have answered: 'Common decency.'"

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cries Of A Nation


Heather Heyer
Rest In Peace

Heather Heyer was murdered by a domestic terrorist on Saturday, August 12th for standing up for her country and fellow human being.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Between Hell And Reason

"The world is what it is, which is to say, nothing much. This is what everyone learned yesterday, thanks to the formidable concert of opinion coming from radios, newspapers, and information agencies. Indeed we are told, in the midst of hundreds of enthusiastic commentaries, that any average city can be wiped out by a bomb the size of a football. American, English, and French newspapers are filled with eloquent essays on the future, the past, the inventors, the cost, the peaceful incentives, the military advantages, and even the life-of-its-own character of the atom bomb. We can sum it up in one sentence: Our technical civilization has just reached its greatest level of savagery. We will have to choose, in the more or less near future, between collective suicide and the intelligent use of our scientific conquests. Meanwhile we think there is something indecent in celebrating a discovery whose use has caused the most formidable rage of destruction ever known to man. What will it bring to a world already given over to all the convulsions of violence, incapable of any control, indifferent to justice and the simple happiness of men — a world where science devotes itself to organized murder? No one but the most unrelenting idealists would dare to wonder."

Words by Albert Camus from Combat magazine, August 8th 1945

Monday, August 7, 2017

Already Dead

"Through this feeling of helplessness suddenly burst a piercing nostalgia for the lost world of childhood. The way it came right up against the heart, that world, and against the face. No indoors or outdoors, only everything touching us, and the grown-ups lumbering past overhead like constellations."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Temporal Revolution

"A revolutionary age is an age of action; ours is the age of advertisement and publicity."

"Freedom Tower" photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2017
Quote by Søren Kierkegaard (from The Present Age: On The Death Of Rebellion, 1846)

Monday, July 31, 2017

If You Were Still Around

If you were still around
I’d hold you
Shake you by the knees
Blow hot air in both ears

You, who could write like a Panther Cat
Whatever got into your veins
What kind of green blood
Swam you to your doom

If you were still around
I’d tear into your fear
Leave it hanging off you
In long streamers
Shreds of dread

I’d turn you
Facing the wind
Bend your spine on my knee
Chew the back of your head
Til you opened your mouth to this life

Poem by Sam Shepard from Motel Chronicles, 1980

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Pump Me Up

Cool "Disco" Dan
Rest In Peace

"Growing up and witnessing the birth of old school go-go music was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Being an artistic person and seeing all the graffiti on the walls, with some of the cartoon characters next to their name, gave me the motivation to do graffiti. In the era today in the nation's capital, it is completely laid back compared to back in the day, when things were really popping off."

Monday, July 24, 2017

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief
 So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Idi Amin For President

"Good rock'n'roll is something that makes you feel alive... To me good rock'n'roll also encompasses other things, like Hank Williams and Charlie Mingus and a lot of things that aren't strictly defined as rock'n'roll. Rock'n'roll is an attitude, it's not a musical form of a strict sort. It's a way of doing things, of approaching things. Writing can be rock'n'roll, or a movie can be rock'n'roll. It's a way of living your life."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Do Not Hasten To Bid Us Adieu

Rob Grodt
Rest In Peace

In the spirit of The Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Rob Grodt stepped up and went overseas to fight fascism. Please consider donating to this fund which supports the daughter he leaves behind.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Rights Of Man

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

Words by Nelson Mandela
Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Remain Hidden


Mural by unknown artist
Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Shortest Way Home


"Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves."

Photograph by Eve Arnold , 1955
Words by James Joyce (Ulysses, 1922)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Try For The Kingdom

Denis Johnson
Rest In Peace

"My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel — it is, before all, to make you see. That — and no more, and it is everything."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Accidentally, An Anniversary

"The hard-on is no laughing matter," Stanley announced to the chorus seated with black spectacles uniformly worn on their pablum-stuffed faces. Later, staring across the table into their eyes he barked with a smirk, "Yes, I will be her Philip Roth; her Arthur Miller..." This time, the garishly dressed waiter appeared astonished, almost dropping the gin and tonic he was bringing Larissa. It would've been fine with him, as she was onto her fifth one and giggling like a stoned teenager, dragging on further what seemed like an endless night of service.

The absurdity of the situation, or really Larissa's laughter and smile, tickled Stanley to no end. His own smile was uncontrollable and his joy palpable to all around him, as it had been for the past six months. (This is why, he suspected, they hated him.) He leaned back and thought... Had it actually been that long since he stumbled into the gallery, late night, after a long day of heat and frustration, anxiety and pain? The choice he made that evening some might call kismet, but he never believed in such things. Regardless, had he gone home as was the plan, the painting, the dancing, and this night — and all the nights leading up to it — would've never happened, and his life would be that of someone else.

Stanley drifted back from his thoughts to see what appeared to be sunshine across the table, filling the room with a sense of purpose and possibility. He rubbed his eyes, looked at the chorus, and then Larissa; dear sweet Larissa. His long held and unfounded fear was suddenly gone, and he knew what he to do. Why put off the end, when the end is actually a new beginning?

He put down his fork, tossed his napkin to the floor, pushed himself out of his chair, and began the last walk of his life.
Words by Lee Greenfeld © 2009-2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Down By The Jetty

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hope Springs


"Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of one party — however numerous they may be — is no freedom at all. Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently. Not because of any fanatical concept of 'justice' but because all that is instructive, wholesome and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effectiveness vanishes when 'freedom' becomes a special privilege."

Prisoners Exercising (aka Prisoners' Round) by Vincent Van Gogh, 1890
Words by Rosa Luxemburg from The Russian Revolution: The Problem of Dictatorship, 1918

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Greeting The Day

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2017