Tear drops on the city
Bad Scooter searching for his groove
Seem like the whole world walking pretty
And you can’t find the room to move
Well everybody better move over, that’s all
I’m running on the bad side
And I got my back to the wall
Tenth Avenue freeze-out, Tenth Avenue freeze-out
Springsteen, Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m reading the Springsteen Autobiography, Born to Run at the moment. I’ve been taking it slow, absorbing as much as possible and really enjoying every single page. For the true fans, it’s a goldmine of information (for the less starstruck, there’s some fantastic writing to be found between its covers).
Today I came upon a piece of information that really stunned me but before I get into that, let me first take you back to Jersey girl’s and my last trip to New York together. We’d intended to do the High Line walk, but there is so much new construction going on in that part of Manhattan these days that we soon abandoned the racket in favour of the streets.
The kids were hungry by then so we had pizza at a pretty authentic Italian joint (Ray’s on 9th) and started meandering through Chelsea. On 10th Avenue (freeze-out baby!) we came upon this wonderfully retro but sadly deserted diner.
A little web research (later on at home) informed me that I had photographed the famous Empire diner which has stood on this spot since the forties and which, at the height of its popularity was a favourite hangout for celebrities such as Madonna, Kate Winslet, Minnie Driver, Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Steven Spielberg, and Barbra Streisand.
The diner even features on the cover of the album Asylum years by the great Tom Waits as well as appearing in several movies including Manhattan and Men in Black II.
Sadly, the most recent owner failed to keep the doors open despite all its history and the diner has fallen into the sorry state you see in the photos above.
Today, I was reading Born to Run on the train when I got to the chapter about Springsteen’s marriage to his wife Patti. As you may have noticed, I’m a bit of an incurable romantic so I was really enjoying his retelling of their courtship. Then I got to this part;
This probably doesn’t have the same wow factor for you the reader as it does for me the rabid Springsteen fan. But, from my perspective, the fact that I cluelessly stumbled upon what, for Springsteen, must amount to a sacred site and had the presence of mind to actually record it is pretty special. The fact that I’m only now learning how significant this place is, only serves to make the entire experience more amazing to me.
Words and images are my own unless otherwise credited.