Photograph by Arun Sundar
“New York is a city that’s not going to tell you no. It’s only you who can tell you when you have to go home and go to bed. So unless you have a great sense of personal responsibility, you can get lost here. It’s not just the usual sex and drugs, etc. You can be so swamped by the amount of cultural material. Where does your art end? How do define this? Are you going off on some wacky side road?” –Lenny Kaye
I’m notorious for telling animators to move from New York (where I live) to Los Angeles (where the cartoon business lives). But as I read this quote from Tony Fletcher’s fabulous All Hopped Up and Ready to Go: Music from the Streets of New York 1927-77 it occurred to me that the life I’ve led could only happen because of New York.
ChalkZone creator Bill Burnett summed up my work life when he wrote in my biography that I’ve lived five lives (so far). And, for sure, four of those five lives (not the cartoon one) could have only happened to someone like me in New York City. I came to town to become a chemist, but it was New York that told me it was OK to become a record producer. Or a television executive in the then new media of cable television. Or starting up a new internet media company. And all of the other “wacky side roads” I got on, sometimes for good, sometimes not. This town throws everything at you, all at once, and it tells you it’s possible for you to be part of it, to thrive at it, to catch it by the tail.
What a place. Or, as I quoted to a friend recently who was trying to figure out whether to move here from Los Angeles, “New York, New York (So Good They Named It Twice)”.