I'd guess I was about 14 or 15 at the time. We all lived in Jackson Heights, which is Queens, New York. John lived on the other side of Northern Boulevard than the rest of us. Those of us who grew up in Jackson Heights during those years, the 1960's, always hung out somewhere. We happened to hang out at a town park that was on 77th Street and 34th Avenue that was called, of course, the 77th Street park. There was no place else to hang out because it was all apartment buildings. The park was all cement but it was ours. Most of us had come along in drips and drabs as we got to the teen age years, and then one day John came to the park. I can't remember how he was introduced, or why he even came to our park, but he did, and he was welcomed. I also remember my girlfriend Debbie having a big crush on him. If I remember correctly she even dated him for a while. Although dating there wasn't like what you would imagine. It was just him liking her, and her liking him, and them both hanging out together in the park with the rest of us. Strange times!
We all used to go to the beach a lot in the summer then - Rockaway beach. Can't remember the street name or number...it was along time ago...but I remember a famous hamburger place on the boardwalk was called Curley's. That's the corner that we all used to put our blankets. When I knew him he was considered to be collegient.....do you know what that meant then? There were greasers and collegients. He always wore a nice shirt with a nice pair of pants or jeans. His hair was longish for the time, but when you compare it to his Johnny Thunder days, it was quite short. He seemed more filled out too. When I look at the photos of him in the NY Dolls, I always think that he looked too thin in his face.
I remember that he played guitar, and was trying to get something going, but in Jackson Heights no one was ever brought back to anyone's house. We just met at the park. That's the way it was then. He was a nice guy. A really nice guy. Oh yeah, almost forgot - he must have hung around in the village of Manhattan a lot because he brought back this guy named "Ahhh" from the Wah. At the time I didn't know what that was all about, but I know now that I also should have been hanging around at this place in the village called The Wah. There was a lot going on at that point in time, and a lot of it was going on in the village. I'm sure that John somehow knew that. I never knew Ahhh's real name and can just picture what he looked like. But he was also nice and ahead of us all. Little did we know at that time that things would drift into the hippie era, which of course we all participated in, including myself. By that time I had moved to Long Island of NY, and lost touch with a lot of the friends that I knew. I didn't know about the NY Dolls until many years later when I saw photos.