Paul Zone “Playground”

Growing Up in the New York Underground
Paul Zone with Jake Austen
Photography by Paul Zone
Book Review by Lucky
Additional Photography by Mila Reynaud

One of the highlights for me this past year was the release of Paul Zone’s “Playground”.  Of many things acquired, I keep going back to Zone’s publication again and again, spending untold hours perusing pages filled with illustrious photos that take the reader to a different place, a different time. An era of new musical birth, new directional fashion, and perhaps a time of naiveté toward just how huge, and in some cases out of control, things would become.

Zone’s past was indeed charmed, a teenager from Brooklyn having access to New York’s grit, having influential brothers that together formed The Fast, and being acquainted with never to be famous superstars and young versions of one-day living legends. Christ, he was friends with iconic musical figures before they even got their bands together, or recorded their first hit.  He was in the right place at the right time and had the intuitiveness to bring along a camera (either his 110 Instamatic, his Brownie or a Polaroid), perhaps not so much that one day the photos would be historic monuments of a special bygone era, but perhaps just for shits and giggles. Either way, due to his creative impulse, the photographic and verbiage documentation within the hard yellow covers is phenomenal.

Thanks to the Village Voice, Paul was exposed to the underground live music scene in down and out repurposed structures that served as venues for dirty upstarts to hammer and hone their wares, providing exposure to new and exciting acts like The New York Dolls, Wayne County, Suicide and countless others. It was these liaisons that helped shaped Paul’s oncoming life journey.

The first fifty-two pages of “Playground” are dedicated to Paul’s first person tale, of how it happened, how it was. It is captivating, as it is awe-inspiring. The unfolded tales are insightful antidotes with hard-wired facts that some or most never even knew about the people, places and things they thought familiar.  These pages are peppered with snaps drawn from a multitude of sources, almost acting as teasers for what is to come next.

And what comes next are some of the most amazing tale-telling photographs, hundreds of pages of them. Captures of the likes that may or may not not pass this way again, including candid and performance shots of members of The Ramones, Blondie, The New York Dolls, Television, Suicide, The Mumps, The Heartbreakers, Dead Boys and many, many more. Pictures also include individulas that were regular and monumental to the heartbeat of the New York underground scene.

“Playground” is perhaps the definite publication depicting that snippet of time, when everything was up for grabs and plenty were there for the taking. Grab yourself a copy and like me, you will keep going back, again and again.











Paul Zone
Paul Zone
Glitterati Incorporated