How to Experience David Bowie’s New York
David Bowie was a New Yorker for over 20 years. In Bowie years, that is practically an eternity considering the multitude of lives he lived — musically, geographically and otherwise — since he set out to become a star in the late 1960s.
“I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” said Mr. Bowie, who was born in Brixton in South London and had stints in Berlin; Lausanne, Switzerland;and several other cities, in a 2003 interview. “I’ve lived in New York longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. It’s amazing. I am a New Yorker.”
He somehow managed to settle into a domesticated life that resembled that of many others living in and around SoHo (though most do it without the supermodel wife and penthouse apartment): browsing the books at McNally Jackson and shopping for groceries at Dean & DeLuca, among other low-key adventures that he undertook in what the playwright John Guare called “this cloak of invisibility.”
Fans started a makeshift memorial outside of David Bowie’s SoHo apartment after hearing of his death.CreditNicole Craine for The New York Times
David Bowie in the Movies
Soon after news spread of Mr. Bowie’s death on Jan. 10, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his album “Blackstar,” fans started a makeshift memorial outside the SoHo apartment where he had lived with his wife, Iman, since 1999,joined the following year by their daughter, Lexi. Mr. Bowie and Iman purchased their first city home in 1992, a ninth-floor apartment at the Essex House Hotel on Central Park South, which they sold in 2002.
“Just as each and every one of us found something unique in David’s music, we welcome everyone’s celebration of his life as they see fit,” Mr. Bowie’s family wrote in a statement.
Should you be looking for a way to honor the musician in the city he called home, there is no shortage of activities to partake in, many of which Mr. Bowie enjoyed doing himself.
Take a Walk
From his apartment building on 285 Lafayette Street, Mr. Bowie was in walking distance of many of his favorite neighborhood haunts. Topping his list, according to The Independent, was Washington Square Park.
He wrote of the park in a 2003 essay for New York magazine: “It’s the emotional history of New York in a quick walk.”
Walking in general (the earlier in the day the better) was a preferred way for Mr. Bowie to experience city life.
“The signature of the city changes shape and is fleshed out as more and more people commit to the street,” Mr. Bowie wrote. “A magical transfer of power from the architectural to the human.”
The park is about a 10-minute walk from the apartment on Lafayette, where fans left notes, photos and flowers outside the building after hearing of his death, and where the musician Glen Hansard paid tribute recently with an acoustic performance of the Bowie classic “Ashes to Ashes.”