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October 9, 2020

I went to look at the East Side apartment that John and I shared back in 1974-75. It has been 45 YEARS since I’ve been in that apartment.  Lots of big changes, renovations and reconfiguration since then.  They have combined three apartments into two.  John and I lived in a 900 square foot space, known as Penthouse Tower B.  When you got off the elevator and opened our apartment door, you were greeted by a staircase to get up to us, which would shock anyone who came by. 

Our front door from inside our apartment Penthouse Tower B

I brought Mario Casciano as he actually had been in our apartment back then, and Pat Jennings, as she had helped organize this visit for me, which coincidentally was three days before John’s 80th birthday.  The realtors for both apartments,  Lauren from Brown, Harris & Stevens (PH G) and Pam from Compass Realty (PH E) were eager to learn the history.  

The owners PH G are putting it up for sale.  They were told when they bought the apartment, we’d lived there.  Apparently, the neighboring apartment PH E is also about to be put up for sale and they were told we lived there too!  You ask how can that be???  Well, here comes the complicated part.  

 As soon as we got off the elevator we felt like we were in a different place.  Our door was gone and the foyer was transformed from a NYC hallway to an opulent customized wood and tapestry paneled area with only two apartment doors, PH E and PH G.  Our apartment and outdoor space is now incorporated into both places from what I understand and experienced.  We learned that while part of PH B has been incorporated into PH G, the majority of our living quarters became the second floor of apartment PH E.  The revamped staircase that was now part of the apartment brought us up to our space and into the living room/bedroom.  This was our main room with a fireplace which had our California king bed, two massive Altec floor speakers, our television, a couple of director’s chairs and John’s piano and guitars.  This is where we entertained all of our friends… David Bowie, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Paul and Linda and Mike McCartney, the gang from Record Plant and plenty of room for our kittens, Major and Minor.  (photos) 

Major (white) & brother Minor
Photo by May Pang

This room has been redesigned and has been made much smaller.  I walked into the smaller room that was Julian’s bedroom (and our dressing room when he wasn’t there) off the landing.  Our little galley kitchen where I used to make John’s Sunday morning English breakfast was gone. Through that kitchen window, we climbed onto the roof (where the photos of John wearing the New York City t-shirt were taken) which I was told now belongs to apartment PH G. 

What I will say is both apartments gave me the river view that I had back then.  This is where John would sit for hours just staring at the East River watching the boats go by, listening to the traffic below and hear the helicopters flying by.  This is also where John and I saw the UFO.  

Even though 45 years have gone by and despite all the renovations and changes to the apartments and roof space, the one thing that I was sure of is the beautiful memories that came flooding back when I stood on the balconies of both apartments. Neither of the present owners saw the little patch of our original apartment that we called home.

Here’s the south/west view from PH G
Photo by Bob Gruen