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Playground: Growing Up in the


While most teenagers daydreamed of summer break while playing records in their bedrooms, fourteen-year-old Paul Zone spent his youth immersed in the New York underground, exploring the concrete playground with actors, drag queens, and drug addicts. The mid-1970s was a time when the death of Glam and the birth of Punk collided in a celebration of glitter and grime, and Zone had a front-row seat to it all.

Playground: Growing Up in New York Underground (Glitterati Incorporated) features photographs of bands including Blondie, The Ramones, The New York Dolls, Iggy and the Stooges, the Dead Boys, Suicide, T. Rex, and KISS, as well as musicians, artists, and scensters such as Richard Hell, Johnny Thunders, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Wayne County, Alice Cooper, Lance Loud, Stephen Sprouse, Christopher Makos, Anya Phillips, Cherry Vanilla, Arturo Vega, Anna Sui, Sable Starr, James Chance, Lydia Lunch, and more.

Playground is a trip back into time through the eyes of a youngster whose reverential regard to his subjects made him a regular fixture in the lives of these greats. Zone captures the joys and the fantasy of the New York underground with a genuine intimacy, making this volume a worthy tribute to the legends of underground rock royalty. Paul Zone speaks about his experiences creating the book that would become a photobiography of his life at a time and a place that would come define the look and the sound of New York at its most cutting edge.

Zone recalls, “I had started to gather my photos together in 2008 and see if I had enough to present them to the public. The idea was to do just a photo book of pictures that I had kept to myself for 40 years. No one had ever seen these before. When Marta Hallett saw the photos she loved them instantly and saw the potential of a book that had a very personal feel. When she asked me to write captions for the photos I asked her if I could write extended captions that would tell a story.

“I did about 20 of them for her. When she read them and heard the story behind the photos she asked if I would be interested in doing a full biography section in the book. That is when I came up with the title ‘Growing Up In The New York Underground.’ I knew I wanted a one word title to go with it and seeing I was between the age of 14 to 18 years old when I took the photos ‘PLAYGROUND’ just jumped into my head one day while writing. 

“Of course choosing the photos and keeping to the amount of pages the book would have was difficult. I wanted to include as many photos of unknown people as famous people also. I think the friends on the scene that didn’t become famous were just as important and influential to each other as the soon to be famous ones.

“The biography section took much longer to work on than choosing the photos. Once you start breaking down your years into month and trying to explain events you find it opens a can of worms for many other aspects of the story that you can’t leave out.

“Pat Loud and Christopher Makos were working on a book for Glitterati about my friend Lance Loud and asked me to contribute photos. When I finally met with Marta and she saw all my photos and the photos I submitted of Lance she insisted I do my own book with Glitterati.

“It was over the phone. Pat Loud set up an introduction and I talked with her about my photos and told her I was a young teenager when I took them. She hadn’t yet seen any of the photos but we had a great phone call and talked about my life. She was very interested in meeting  me without yet seeing the photos. 

“I brought up to her office my large portfolio of prints, five dozen white tulips and two large cappuccinos. We sat and talked for a couple of hours. It was like we knew each other for years and hadn’t seen each other. We caught up on current events, pop culture and friend we both might have known throughout the years living in New York City. She knew my book would be very personal and raw. She has a great eye for art and told me she could see the excitement and fun in my photos reflected by my youth. She saw the passion and excused what might be the lack of professionalism in my use of a teenage boys cheap camera.

“Marta is involved in ever aspect of the product and works closely in detail with her art directors. She is open to all suggestions but has a set vision  and somehow knows the correct path to take.

“This is my first book and I learned a lot from her and couldn’t be more happy with the finished product. Color scheme, layout, printing, it is beautiful. Not one person has failed to mention that it is a most handsome book!”

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