Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Pay the cab and what's for Din-Din?"

That was the normal greeting when our friend, Stan, arrived to see us in London after one of his exotic holidays.

When the holiday was really exotic he would also ask for a doctor, or at least an appointment. We never inquired too much about why…but the sheets were burned, or at least washed in scalding water a couple of times, after he left.

He had a buddy from college that became a multimillionaire, who would take his six best friends, Stan included, on an incredible holiday every year to exotic places…obviously all expenses paid for, private jet, yachts, great hotels, great food, women…the works, hence the request for a doctor.

Stan was a great friend: he unfortunately died young at 54. He was a very successful New York artist later in life. When we first met, I was a beginning art director and he was a photographer’s rep. He came to the office to show me his photographer’s work, about 3 in the afternoon, we ended up having dinner at our apartment in Brooklyn until about two in the morning. This was the start of a great friendship.

He had bought a parking structure on Downing Street, a mostly Italian area, I am not sure if it was part of little Italy in the village. If you think about it there is no better space for an artist than parking building. No interior walls and tons of space, exactly what you need. He had to do quite a bit of work to make it habitable. I am sorry I do not have one of his tee shirts or overalls, ‘The Downing Street Erection Company” was the name of the company that he started, to do the renovations.

It was a great house, 5 floors of lofts 20 ft. by 100 ft. workspace and amazing living space…loved it.

While in London, he would go to Moss Bros, a unique English store that rented all sorts of formal attire as well as sold vintage military clothes, it also had sort of normal clothes. A great store, I wonder if it still exists.

It does exist as a chain as well, I googled it.

I remember it in the 60’s. Stan would buy Scottish regimental trousers in these wonderful plaids. With a double-breasted blazer, suede shoes, they looked great, although his Mickey Mouse tie kind of ruined the look.

He was a colorful character and always bought and wore outrageous outfits. He told us these bizarre outfits were used mainly when he was called for jury duty. Not entirely true, he often wore these incredible vintage outfits around town. Yellow check suits with two-tone shoes, were not that rare with Stan. I never saw him repeat an outfit. He certainly had enough room for his clothes in his converted parking lot.

When I was in NY, on my yearly trips, Stan would occasionally take me to see various buildings he was interested in, they ranged between empty movie houses and once we even saw a vacant synagogue.

His mother came to see it and she said he obviously fell in love with the railings…he eventually bought his great parking building.

He was looking for a station wagon type car in England to buy and take back to the States…something big and different. The nearest car he found to what he wanted was a Rolls Royce hearse; I do not remember why he didn’t buy it. A shame, it would have completed the parking lot he owned in NY.

He was an amazing character and a good friend, I have a very clear image of him telling us that the Museum of Modern Art as well as the Whitney had accepted his work to be in their collections, the same week, unbelievable.

We will forever miss his arrival in whatever country we were in, and his standard greeting, “ Pay the cab and what’s for din-din?”

Our doctor in London use to ask about him often…I wonder what went on when he went over there?

Google Stanley Landsman and see his works as well as an interview with him.

I never went to see him when he fell ill; I thought it was something minor, I will always regret it.


  1. What an amazing story and what an amazing guy. Both of you are. I will google him. I am sure that he got from you as much as you got from him.

    What a great story. The best people usually die young. What a shame. Let's hope they go somewhere beautiful and where they are happy.

    Thanks for sharing, Greg.

  2. Stan always loved the line"He did it with mirrors,"and do it with mirrors he did! His walk-in giant box constructions enveloped you in a world of glittery magic and infinite mirror images of you. Up, down and all around, infinity in a box... I loved those marvelous constructions!! He loved being the conjurer.