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January 03, 2003
7 years ago...

It is exactly 7 years ago that I was picked up from JFK with a sign that said �Andy Riedel�. It was cold and windy that day and I was ready to finally fall into the arms of the city I was so much in love with. I should have come here 1995, but at the age of 25 I had to serve my community service, my �Zivildienst�, which postponed my move to the city that never sleeps by a year. So I had a year to prepare. I had a year to turn everything into a preparation for my final move.
I had put my entire library into storage, I had left girlfriend, all friends, everything behind. I was following this urge to go home. New York was the home I carried in my heart, I knew, so there was nothing more natural than finally arriving here.
In the nights before the flight there were many dreams and nightmares. I dreamt of living in a room filled with little baige boxes, and on another night of a dirty wooden shack through which I entered just to end up in an elevator and later at a window with a nice view of the Manhattan as I imagined it. This move was a completely new beginning. I really reduced my possessions to two suitcases and a box for the computer. I was ready to crawl through a cleansing little ring and to arrive at the other end happy and in midst of the city I had dreamt of.
I had visited New York many times before. It was always as a tourist. It was always as the kind of visitor who comes here for sightseeing and for shopping. I had seen the inside of the statue of liberty, I had seen the top of the World Trade Center, I had taken a bicycle around . I was a little afraid of the subway, I had never taken the bus, but I knew that the cabs were fun to ride and that many of the cabbies were much better educated than I ever would be.
I had seen the facade of New York City, however I had never seen the guts, the back rooms, the actual living thing. And on January 3rd 1996 I was ready for it. At least I thought I was. It did not sounds all too difficult at all. I was supposed to arrive as the new art director of an independent record label who�s offices were located right on Times Square. I was supposed to arrive in my office in the morning and then inspect my new apartment on 8th street. I had seen the floor-plan. It was just one room but this seemed to be a standart size for Manhattan, it had windows facing a back yard, there was a sleeping alcove, which could be separated from the rest of the room, making it almost a two room space.
I had negotiated a good salary with my job. The projects were waiting for me. The first one had to be out the door about a week from my arrival.
Everything was so incredibly exciting.
And then I was picked up from JFK with a sign that said �Andy Riedel�. It said that because the person who organized my pickup was Andyman, the guy who was responsible for day to day operations and publicity at the label I was about to join. The car dropped me off at 46th street. (I asked the driver to take a picture of me:)

arrival_nyc.jpg

I remember how glorious the entrance was when we really turned to Times Square. The lights felt so much brighter then, the city felt more alive than anything else. The car then turned on 46th street, and stopped in front of a sad little entrance. The building had a simple brass door. The lobby was a narrow corridor leading to some retrofitted elevators. The one that finally arrived for me had a broken squeaky fan and a blinking dim light. The 8th floor smelled like glue and burned hair. It was not the grand office of a record label, it was Bob Kelly'�s toupee business. The doors were open and I could see rows of wooden heads, hair in all colors everywhere, on the floor, the walls, the tables. Several women around the tables making hair pieces by hand. Somewhere in the background was an old man showing off his tattoo covered arms in a yellowish tank top. There did not seem to be a record label anywhere. There were photographs of old and less old actors and celebrities on the walls of Bob Kelly'�s hair shop, apparently all toupee users, but no record label.
I was given directions. There was a small door in the back. It was in the back by the bathrooms. A windowless room with loud music. There were several interesting New Yorkers working here, some of them had expected my arrival. The label was just getting on its feet.
Andyman was not there. He had left a job description on my chair. It was his job description. He had written it for the owner of the label, J�uergen Korduletsch. The job description included my position of the art director for the label. I was obviously entering somebody else�s territory. I had not been told. I was brought in to help. I was suddenly an intruder. This began not to feel right.
My computer had arrived in its gray box. My trusty quadra 800 was supposed to be the first machine in the new art department. It took seconds to discover that the hard-drive had been damaged in transit. Somebody must have dropped the box too hard. I could not check if the computer was really usable in any way, I did not have a monitor yet, not a desk, nor a chair, nor really an office. My place was a corner in the middle of the windowless room. It was not really a cubicle, just two low walls. My computer looked big in this space. I had also mailed ahead a maria staue. It now made the area a tiny bit more private.
There was simple dance music in the room, it was loud, it was not the kind I really liked and the volume was not adjustable because it was coming out of a cheap stereo system placed on a shelf in the middle of the south wall of the room.
There were offices in the office. There was Bobby Orlando'�s office in the corner. He was not there when I arrived. He was a legend, of course. He was the producer of the Pet Shop Boys, the inventor of their name, he was a great figure in the business. He was not there.
His composer was there. A kid in really strange sweatpants, drinking water from a sad, old snapple bottle.
Harry Towers, the chief of promotion welcomed me to the office. The owner had not had time to come from his home in New Jersey and so Harry was supposed to bring me to my place. It was not the apartment on 8th street. Somehow the deal had fallen through. There was no place on 8th street for me. We walked out onto 46th street and looked for a hotel. I was checked into the Remington Hotel half a block away from the office. It was a little Brazilian hotel with a barber shop by the entrance. The front desk was behind very heavy, gold painted gates.
My room had tiny windows facing the roof of St. Mary church on 46th and the BMG building.
I was definitely not a tourist anymore. I was home after all. I was a tiny bit afraid. (No. I was really scared.)

Comments

I feel like I just watched a two and a half hour movie whose final scene states, "To be continued..."! Now what? Are you still working on this same floor? Did your computer work? How long did it take to find a place to live?

Posted by: Jim Lindstrom on January 3, 2003 11:38 AM

Don't leave us hanging, man!

Posted by: vis10n on January 3, 2003 12:15 PM

Scary yet magical. It's funny that you'd post an entry like this. You see, my biggest goal for 2003 is to move from home to the city, where I feel like I actually belong and just yesterday I started to organize the whole thing. I look forward to a second (or third) installment.

Posted by: Jace on January 3, 2003 12:39 PM

happy seventh.

Posted by: em!ly on January 3, 2003 01:16 PM

a pirate ship of an experience it seems : )
where there's no turning back.

Posted by: T on January 3, 2003 01:33 PM

much more happened of course. and i will report... do you really want to know? ; )

Posted by: Witold on January 3, 2003 02:35 PM

Yes!

Posted by: vis10n on January 3, 2003 07:06 PM

and just wait until you really discover the rest of the country, continent, hemisphere.

Posted by: on January 4, 2003 10:18 AM

the rest of the country? there's more to the country than NYC? i doubt it ;)

Posted by: em!ly on January 4, 2003 01:57 PM

Is that you ?
in the picture ? or is that Andy?
:)

Posted by: T on January 4, 2003 10:00 PM

Well, the car was ordered by Andyman. The car company must have somehow mixed up our names (or somebody just did not want to bother with Witold) and so a fiticious Andy Riedel was created for a few hours on January 3rd 1996.
So the picture is of me, acting as the talented Andy Riedel. (Who is actually a completely different group of people.)

Posted by: Witold on January 4, 2003 10:24 PM

what a story! i have to go read the next bit now. but wow, thanks for sharing!

Posted by: shauny on January 5, 2003 03:18 AM

oh you are very welcome. I guess I will need to write much more about the first year here. ; )

Posted by: Witold on January 5, 2003 03:21 AM

ehm i'm sorry to say that...

aber in dem pinken pulli siehst
du aus wie norman aus psycho...

nun er wrde in kombination mit einem messer ein gutes karnevalkostm abgeben...
aber sonst...einfach nur schrecklich...
*schttel*

zumindest bringt es mich auf die idee dass es langsam zeit wird ber mein kostm nach zu denken...

chiao
biene

Posted by: orangienchen on January 6, 2003 11:24 AM

Pink?, der pullis ist ja gar nicht pink. : )
ja, ich weiss, ich sehe einwenig doof aus in dem Photo.
Aber ich bin 7 Jahre jnger. Das ist doch auch etwas.
(auf keinen fall pink.)

do you really think the sweater i am wearing in that picture is pink?
it is baige. and hand made. yeah... by sabotage.

Posted by: Witold on January 6, 2003 11:30 AM

hmm ok nicht pink
aber ein pink ton
ein ganz zartes ros
wie es ltere damen tragen

darum erinnert es mich ja auch so an norman
hast du den pulli selber gekauft???

schicke dir per mail das photo bildbearbeitet...
aber ich glaube zopfpullis passen einfach nicht zu dir...

egal in welcher farbe ob in beige oder witold blau
(in meiner vostellung trgst du schlichte blaue pullis mit v-ausschnitt)

Posted by: Orangienche on January 6, 2003 12:48 PM

Hmm, jetzt wo ich das foto noch einmal anschaue... ja Du hast recht. es sieht rosa aus.
Und ja Du hast auch recht. Ich trage gerade einen Blauen pulli mit V Ausschnitt.
(wie eigentlich immer jetzt)
den pulli habe ich damals von sabotage als geschenk gekriegt...

Yes, my clothing style is much more simple than anything in that photograph. I tend to wear Blue, Black or White shirts and Blue or Black sweaters. Black suits. Or at least Black suit pants.
I still have the Jacket in the picture though. And I was actually wearing it this morning. I wear it on top of a different jacket I got a present from boo.com when working for their online campaign back in 1999. (Those were the days.)

But yes, today. Blue Shirt with spread collar, blue v-neck sweater, black pants, black socks, black shoes, black underwear. Black watch. Blue jacket on top of black jacket.

Posted by: Witold on January 6, 2003 01:02 PM
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