NauenThen

The 5 Spot

May 15, 2017

Tags: The 5 Spot, Frank O'Hara

One of my favorite poems is Frank O'Hara's "The Day Lady Died." I've read it a thousand times & taught it in most workshops, & it still makes my heart stop every time:

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT

I knew the 5 Spot was in my neighborhood but I never knew exactly where till I happened to walk past this commemorative sign. What must have been a row of Bowery tenements and bars is now a senior citizen center.

I was watching a short video of my neighborhood 30 or 35 years ago with a friend, age 30, who asked, referring to the endless blocks of burned-out buildings & cars, the junkies & broken glass & dog shit: Was that really what it was like?

I almost can't believe it either, not when I see how entirely the East Village has transformed.

The golden age, always a little further in the past than when you were young.