It was the summer of 1989 that I visited the Big Apple. I used to live in the Bronx for several years in the 70s and this was my first return to the place which meant so much to me.
At school, you were taught about equality, yet we treated each other with partiality based on race, colour, religion and social class quite openly. 90% of my classmates were Jewish. Stories of Holocaust were real. “I have only one uncle. He escaped the concentration camp. The rest were all killed there” said one pal, David.
“All the President’s Men” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” were box office hits from Hollywood in those days. Vietnam War ended only some months ago and parents who lost their children in the Kent State massacre were protesting on the anniversary day, 4 May at the campus. I saw on TV news how they were removed forcibly by the police.
Led Zeppelin’s 1977 US tour was completely sold out and I was luck to get a second floor seat at the Madison Square Garden. John Travolta was still a TV drama star, playing a dumb Italian-American high-school boy who would just say “what, where, when?”.
After we came back from the Christmas vacation that year, half of the class were suddenly smoking pot. A nickel bag was five dollars then.
Altogether it took more than ten years for me to make up my mind to visit the place that you spent your life as an impressionable teenager because you felt quite distanced and different to be in Japan.
But I could not recapture or rediscover those exciting moments from the past during my short visit. People singing “Ruby Tuesday” on a Saturday night at Washington Square was unimpressive. Perhaps that was the odd and wrong summer in New York City that I lost myself into? Still I felt the place got very conservative.
I managed to meet several friends from my school days. That was rewarding. Several mates from Japan were working there, too so I never felt lonesome. One dropped out of university and was still staying with his parent. Did not know what to do with life. My first love was married to a lawyer and was living a Yuppie life in Brooklyn Heights. We were all walking different lives. And the heart that I left in New York, I could not recollect.
And so, after a long preamble, here is the quiz!
Irrespective of their backgrounds, at homes of those people that I visited, they all had a CD or two by the same artist who has been pertinent to the New York’s rock scene from the 60s.
Name this person! Use the column below. I will post the answer in a few days there.