The Summer Of 1992

The Summer Of 1992

Today I’m beginning a new category: the Summer of 1992.  That summer my girlfriend Wendy announced she was going to get back together with her college boyfriend.  And since he was coming to town for three months, she would appreciate it if we had little or no contact.  Instead of immediately cutting her loose, I made the perfectly rational decision to becoming a walking wounded romantic who’s main goal was to explore my burgeoning drug addiction and become one of New York City’s fading demimonde.

Ah youth.  It’s wasted on the young.

Somehow I lived through this bout self destructive behavior and stupidity and came out somewhat ok on the other side.  It’s also the summer I met one of the enduring loves of my life: the rapidly fading old New York of the Beats, Dylan, the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, punk rock, No Wave and Hubert Selby Jr.  A New York a nice Jewish boy from Bloomfield Hills should never have wandered into in the first place.

Originally these (future) blog posts were supposed to make up a factional book entitled The Art of Copping.  After reading the various manuscript pages, these feel like blogs posts.  The inspiration for the project came from a Lou Reed quote in the Metal Machine Music liner notes “Passion—REALISM—realism was the key.  The records were letters.  Real letters from me to certain other people.” And in it’s own singular way that’s exactly what these posts are.


People aspire to many things in life – models, actors, doctors and lawyers; some are even considered strange by the straights – whores, Wichita lineman, Rhinestone cowboys, corner crack dealers and Trekies.  How you make a living and what you aspire to is none of my concern.  After all what a consenting adult does with their life is their business.  As long as children and animals are left out of these various adventures, no reason for me to get involved no matter how odd aspiration.  After all for a short time at the cusp of the early 1990’s I aspired to be a junkie.

Not just the garden variety from Wall Street who specializes in mergers keep it in the suitcase away from the wife junkie but the kind of head who copped on the street, enjoyed the ritual the game – waiting for the man.  Fixing on the concrete steps of Chelsea Park, watching some runaway 17-year old blonde from Toms River, New Jersey being turned out for the first time.  Cheering her on while some middle aged guy with a few extra bucks took her anal cherry in his brand new black Mercedes on the corner of 11th Ave and 29th Street.  Then laughing while she limped back to her pimp who put her back in line with the other just turned out girls from the reconstituted Minnesota Strip.

My copping buddy Jim Kelly used to call these tableaus the small pleasures of life in between going on the nod and dropping his head into the brown trash can we used for our vomit after we fixed.  I had nothing to say.  I just watched the pimps hand, seemingly super real, his gold rings glowing in my fuzzy reality, move in slow motion towards the blonde’s cheek as he accused her of holding out on him.

The algorithm for copping is as follows: extreme patience, a desire for street medication, a no threshold for bullshit and the enjoyment of the stress of legitimate urban danger all around all the time.  The Vetting process for earning the title of a ‘Real Man’ in the Street culture is being able to cop for oneself on any drug corner in any city at any time.  Thus your average junkie is not a Jimmy Webb fan.


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