Editor's comment – View the final of the "Parts Unknown" series on Sunday at 21:00 ET / PT at CNN.
(CNN) – Like Anthony Bourdain, the artist John Lurie knew the Lower East Side from a different, probably dangerous, era.
In LES 'Parts Unknown', the last episode of the series, Bourdain returns to the changed area, looking for people who lived there before gentrification, before Whole Foods arrived and before it became almost unrecognizable. Few, if any, beginner musicians or artists can afford the steep rent and exclusive restaurants that now define this area.
Living in the harsh downtown, when rents were cheap, and heroin was on every corner, Lurie says he liked the Lower East Side when it was dangerous.
Eventually the area changed, and today Tompkins Square Park includes a Sunday market, a catwalk for dogs and people sitting on park benches sipping lattes.
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Lurie is not so much a fan of this area – shiny and scenic – explaining "There was a time that being there meant that you were hard and came for some reason, now there is something completely different, it seems a lot of right to walk on mobile phones. "
This is no longer the case in which Bourdain bought a drug or where it was difficult to walk too far to the east.
But Lurie left before LES cleared his deed. Lurie describes LES as "nuts", but also "colorful and unusually calm", although he remembers things taking a different, darker tone when the men from Rikers Island were dismissed due to overcrowding. Lury says that the Rikers' people literally started to beat and even kill all the vagrants. " The time came when he left, after the incident in which someone smashed a bottle of beer on his head.
Below is a condensed and edited version of the CNN Travel conversation with Lurie:
You are in the LES episode with Anthony Bourdain. How did this happen? Why do you think the band and Tony contacted you?
For some time we have been aware of each other. Something from other travelers, and it's weird that we've never met before.
We began to follow each other on Twitter and sent private messages back and forth.
But let me tell you the weirdest thing – I slept this afternoon and had a vivid dream that Anthony and I are on the radio talking to people about how to reduce our addiction on Twitter.
I came downstairs and got an email from him asking for a part of the show that had to be written exactly when he was dreaming.
This is a real story. I do not know what it means, if it means anything at all, but it's a real story.
Have you ever been a fan of "Parts Unknown" before shooting with Tony?
I loved what he was doing. I think that America has very little idea about the rest of the world, which leads to mass xenophobia, and the rest of the world brought people to their homes.
Have you read any of Tony & # 39; s books and followed his career up to this point?
I read "Confidential Kitchen" when it came out.
What was your first impression of Tony & # 39; ego? Can you describe this first meeting?
The first time I met him when he came to me in New York to shoot this episode. The crew was already there and they were surprisingly pleasant and respectful to have in their place, which can often irritate me. Then he enters and has zero grudges, he is almost devoid of ego. I loved him immediately.
Then he has a glass of apple juice and although he has a crew there, and I have an assistant, he goes to wash the glass himself when he's done. I thought: "Oh, okay, man."
After drinking a glass of apple juice in the LES apartment of John Lurie, Bourdain personally washed the buns themselves, which moved Luri.
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What do you remember most about working with Tony? What distinguishes you above all else? Or, if there are several things, share them.
He was brave and fought for what I thought about the right things, but he was gentle.
In the LES episode you cook Tony & # 39; on a boiled egg. It struck me as such a strange but interesting choice and scene. Can you share any background?
He walked all over the world, eating exquisite and exotic meals. He would eat the worm's brain and say it was delicious. I wanted to see if he would say that my boiled egg was delicious. I was just stupid the way I thought he would appreciate it.
Did he appreciate this stupid gesture?