NYTM: Adam Horovitz Remembers Eighth Street in the 1980s

"Dumpster-Diving for Croissants in the East Village"

Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), as told to Ada Calhoun for the New York Times Magazine's Walking Issue

We lived on Washington Street in the West Village Houses, which my mom called ‘‘a little bit of Queens in Manhattan.’’ I would walk and get my best friend, Arthur Africano, at 10th Street and Sixth Avenue. The plant shop there, next to Crazy Eddie, was there forever. There was a guy that me and my brother Matthew were obsessed with when we were little kids, ’cause he’d just stand on the corner and say, ‘‘Call ’em out today! I got pretty flowas!’’ When we saw him standing there, we’d start walking past real slow, waiting for him to say it, and then he would: “Call ’em out today! I got pretty flowas!” And me and my brother Matthew would look at each other like, Yes.

We would go down to Eighth Street and across to St. Marks Place, and then up to Ninth Street and Second Avenue, to a record store called the Rat Cage. Me and Arthur and Dave Scilken and our friend Abby Stoddard, we had a band, the Young and the Useless. Scilken was obsessed with this place called La Croissanterie (which I think replaced Orange Julius, the best restaurant of all time). He just loved saying the word “croissant.” It was supposed to be this new, cool French thing that people had just discovered in America. La Croissanterie. When they closed, they would throw away all the leftover croissants, and Scilken would eat 10 of them, and that was his dinner.

I would do that walk twice a day — cutting school in the morning, and at night we’d do the same walk again. It was such a long haul walking back at the end of the night, for me and Arthur and Scilken, especially after we played the clubs around there, like A7. Arthur took his mom’s laundry basket on wheels, this metal shopping-cart thing, and that’s what we put our guitars in. We’d be wheeling our stuff back and fall asleep on a stoop for a while. Why didn’t we take the bus? I just, literally within the past two weeks, realized that I could have done that. We had bus passes!

Read the whole Walking New York issue here.