Volume 80, Number 1 | June 2-8, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Obituary

Paul Drake, scenester, a.k.a. the fabulous PDI, 56

By Robert Perl

Paul Drake, the man, the legend, the unforgettable, died in New York City on May 9 after a long struggle with kidney cancer. He was attended at the end by faithful friends Greg Mair, Judy and Robert Perl, Clark Running Fox and his devoted sister Katherine.

Born Patrick Quirk in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 29, 1953, his life truly began when he arrived in New York City in the early 1980s and reinvented himself as the fabulous Paul Drake International (PDI). He quickly became a Lower East Side legend. PDI was a tireless traveler, relentless scenester and spirited cyclist, while always dancing on the cutting edge of fashion.

Drake lost his close companion, Richard Klimek, several years ago. His other great love was for artists. All artists. No performer went unappreciated when PDI was in the house. Liza at Coney Island, John Lydon at the Beacon, Madonna at the Garden, John Sexx at Woodstock. Wherever an artist was giving his best, PDI was there to support and encourage. A week before he passed, although frail and confined to a wheelchair, PDI managed to see Sienna Miller on Broadway, a miracle of logistics that amazed his friends. 

But he was always amazing his friends. During his long struggle with cancer, PDI won a whole new circle of friends: the doctors and caregivers who fell under his spell and went the extra distance to give him literally anything he wanted, including more time than any reasonable person could have predicted.

In addition to his sisters, Katherine and Joyce, he is survived by a nephew, Daniel, and more friends than there are stars in the heavens.

There will be a memorial service Tues., June 15, at 7 p.m., at Gallery Bar, 120 Orchard St., between Delancy and Rivington Sts.


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