"Village Sunday"

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Sorry for the recent silence. The 24-hour bug that has been going around town hit our family, too. The toddler had it on Tuesday night, his big brother and sister and mom got it Thursday night, and I had it Friday night. Saturday was a day of quiet recuperation -- everyone was past the worst, and we all lazed around, read, and watched TV.

On YouTube, I just came across a 1960 documentary about Greenwich Village, narrated by author and raconteur Jean Shepherd (the writer and narrator of the classic movie "A Christmas Story"). "Village Sunday" follows a white-gloved young matron from uptown as she explores the Village on a sunny September Sunday afternoon. She stops by a folk music jam session at the Circle in Washington Square, sits for a portrait at a sidewalk art show, negotiates a cobblestone street in heels, tries an Italian sausage at the Feast of San Gennaro, and has listens to a beat poet in a coffee house.

(Mild content warning -- there is some Picasso-type nudity painted on the walls of the coffee house toward the end of the film.)

As I watched the film, it occurred to me that this was the Greenwich Village that Jane Jacobs and others were working so hard to save. Jacobs began work on The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1958, and it was published in 1961. (Over the same period, a strongly anti-urban comprehensive plan for Tulsa was under development.)

Here's one more YouTube video for your enjoyment. Earworms are nothing new. The Hut-Sut Song was a hit in 1941 (you can hear an instrumental version in one of the kitchen scenes of "A Christmas Story"), with its peppy melody and mangled Swedish lyrics. This soundie spoofs the song's infectious quality and features the King's Men, a quartet who performed regularly on the popular "Fibber McGee and Molly" radio show.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 1, 2007 7:58 PM.

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