Superintendent Yoko Ono

Superintendent Yoko Ono

It didn’t take long for Lisa Jane Persky to figure out that Yoko Ono wasn’t a typical building superintendent. “Yoko was definitely doing Happenings and Fluxus art–type things,” Persky said, recalling an event Ono held on the rooftop of their building, Morning Piece. “She was always really interesting. I was fascinated by her. She gets the shit end of the stick a lot, but I think she is a miracle of womanhood.” The busy artist sometimes dropped off Kyoko for Lisa and her mother to babysit, telling them she would be back by eleven o’clock that night—though occasionally Ono would return much later. “She would also wait for my mother to leave and then say, ‘You take the baby,’ ” Persky said, “and it was just total nonsense. There were a lot of things about her that were interesting.” While living at 87 Christopher Street, Ono and Cox struggled a great deal in their marriage. “She and Tony had big fights,” Jane Holley Wilson recalled. “It could get uncomfortable.” The couple lived in the apartment next door to Harry Koutoukas, and Ono became good friends with him after having a terrible argument with Cox, who slammed the door and left. “Silence,” Ono recalled. “Then I heard somebody knocking on my door very quietly. That was Harry. He invited me for tea at his apartment. He made tea, never mentioning what he obviously heard through the paper-thin wall. He was very considerate. I have never forgotten that afternoon—and how sweet Harry was.”

From Chapter 8 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


87 Christopher Street
87 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014