Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Greenwich Village, through the eyes of Jean Shepherd: A beatnik city of "secret treasures and hidden gardens"
Jean Shepherd, probably best known today as the voice of 'A Christmas Story', was a regular presence on New York radio in the 1950s and 60s thanks to his memorable program for the AM station WOR.
Although you might associate his voice with nostalgic tales from suburban Indiana, he was very much a Village raconteur for much of his professional career. Some of his radio programs were broadcast live from the Limelight Coffee House at 91 7th Avenue, and he spent his last years in New York in a West Village apartment at West 10th Street.
In this 1960 short film 'Village Sunday', Shepherd describes life in the Village and around Washington Square Park. Its pretty much a light advertisement for the entirely neighborhood, a pretty lovely thing to behold considering the conflicts the area would face with encroaching development later that decade.
He then wanders over to the Festival of San Gennaro which seems to have changed very little. You can compare it yourself when this year's festival begins in a couple weeks!