Thursday, August 13, 2009

Andy Kessler Will Live On: Tales From the Vendome

One of my oldest friends, Andy Kessler, died on Monday, Aug. 11th, 2009. I've mentioned Andy in a previous "Tales From The Vendome" post (link), using the pseudonym "Lenny." We weren't in touch, so I didn't want to use his real name, in a post with a blunt social/political message. After reading about his life after we lost touch, I don't think he'd mind me using his real name. The stories I have to tell about him date to before he started skateboarding, and cover a wide range of "life-lessons," from my point of view.

He was one of my two childhood "best friends," along with "Starsky," who shall remain anonymous. The three of us were like the little kid "urchins" of 71st to 73rd streets, from CPW to B'Way, in Manhattan. That was our "turf." Andy and Starsky lived on 71st, and I lived on 73rd, and Central Park was our back yard. We were crazy kids in the '70's, and that's what the "Vendome" stories are all about (link). I wish he had read them, and we had gotten in touch again...

Read about Andy's life, after we parted ways, at the following links (New York Magazine has the best photo):

NYC skateboard advocate Andy Kessler dies
United Press International
12 (UPI) -- Andy Kessler, one of the big names in the US skateboarding scene, died of an apparent wasp sting on Long Island this week, police said. ...
Legendary Skateboarder Andy Kessler Dies At 49NBC New York
Legendary Skateboarder Andy Kessler Has DiedNew York Magazine

He was pretty intense, which brought out a similar quality from me. This explains our frequent fights, as well as our close friendship. My prayers and condolences go out to his sister Jodi, and all his family and friends who loved him. Andy was like family to me, and I loved him more often than I hated him. We would have great reunions, usually arranged by our mothers, after a few months of one of our "falling outs." The worst one for me was when Starsky and Andy "froze" me out of the group!

I saw Andy a few times in the early '80's, working at his father's florist shop in Penn. Station, after they closed their 72nd St. store. I wish I had stayed in touch with him, but after moving to LI, I joined the Marines, and got even further "out of touch" from old friends. I'm proud that he left his mark on New York City, but not surprised. He "channeled" his passion for skateboarding, and got results.

Good work, Andy. The world is diminished by your passing, my friend. I'll miss you.