Chalkupy Wall Street “Day of Play” and Musicians’ Jam Via Fandalism Hit the Park Saturday

Free spirits of all ages and shapes and sizes showed up at the park on Saturday. Here shown in pictures, co-habitating the space; I think you’ll be able to tell which shots are from which event:

Occupy Wall Street Day of Play With Judson Church in background:

And, of course, Elmo:

I myself happened upon the best jam at the park I’ve ever heard taking place on a bench east of the Fountain after the Fandalism event had ended (which I missed). At one point it looked like threatening rain. The group had begun singing “Here Comes the Sun” and the sun, did indeed, appear! (This is the type thing that happens at the park.) I didn’t have a camera which forced me, in a sense, to observe and absorb versus document! Some of the other songs… “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele), “Rock the Casbah” (Clash) and many other great ones, none of which I can recall now! (Clearly, I didn’t take notes either. … Oh & musicians if any of you who were there read this. Please regroup and let me know when that will be.)

Photo 1: Imagine Engine Via Twitter
Photo 2: Laughing Squid, More pics Fandalism here
Photo 3 and 4: Mickey Z.

More photos from the OWS Day of Play here via Facebook.

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San Francisco-based Start Up, Fandalism, to Hold Musicians’ Jam Today, Sat’y, October 6th, 12-3 p.m., at Washington Square’s Garibaldi Plaza

Fandalism, a San Francisco-based site that connects people passionate about music worldwide, is having a meet up and jam today, Saturday, October 6th at WSP by Garibaldi Plaza (east of the Fountain) from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

The site is a really nice way for artists to showcase their work and unite with other musicians.

For today’s event, 500 people have RSVP’d via Facebook! This should be interesting, to say the least! Check it out.

Washington Square Park Folk Festival Returns for Year Two at WSP This Weekend (9/15 & 16, 2012)


For the second year in a row, the Washington Square Park Folk Festival will take place for 2 days at the park this coming weekend on September 15th and 16th. I spoke to Eli Smith, the organizer, a musician and host of the Down Home Radio Show who also produces the Brooklyn Folk Festival (now in year four) about the upcoming festival at the park and year two!

This is your second year doing the festival at Washington Square Park. What did you learn from last year?

I thought it went great. I felt it could have been bigger. Last year, we had 9 bands; this year we have 13. We’ll set out more chairs! (laughs)

(Ed. note: Last year, there was a bit of a chair issue. There did not seem to be many set out!)

When did you find out you got the go ahead for year 2?

They told me right away after the first festival that they wanted it to continue. I was relieved when I checked in six months later to find out that it was [definitely] confirmed.

Rebecca Ferguson, the Park Administrator, whose idea the festival was, recently left her position. How has that impacted things?

She was super cool and kept on it as her final project of the park.

The folk music I saw last year was a bit more blue grass and string-oriented than perhaps what some think of when they hear the term “folk music.” Some might consider it to be a bit more “pop” such as the music associated with artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, for example. Are there different types of what is considered “folk” music?

Folk music is a very wide, expansive genre. With [advent of] Bob Dylan {and his success], seemingly anyone who wrote their own songs was considered folk music. in my mind, folk is the more traditionalist, old-time string and blues as well as some wonderful and talented singer-songwriters. The festival will have something for everybody – a wide range of what people think of as folk music and think of as Washington Square Park. We’ll also have some venerable performers with a history in Washington Square Park including Tracy Schwarz and Ginny Hawker. Schwarz played in WSP with the New Lost City Ramblers in the ’50s and ’60s. John Cohen, also of the New Lost City Ramblers, has a history at the park as does Randy Byrnes who played in the park in the ’60s and ’70s. The festival will feature those with a history of performance associated with the park as well as young talent from the city.

You have a lot of different sponsors for the festival, including Mario Batali. How did that come about?

Becky [Rebecca Ferguson] took care of that from her connections from Washington Square Park. Of course, Matt Umanov from Matt Umanov Guitars was the one who first recommended me to do the festival [last year]. Also, the Washington Square Hotel and Mario Batali Foundation. It’s super nice of them to kick in like that. I heard that Mario Batlai lives in the area of the park and is super into music. I started buying his pasta sauce.

I didn’t know he had a pasta sauce. Where do you buy it?

I buy it at Fairway. (laughs) I think he stopped by one day last year. (segues)

I also was contacted by Occupy Wall Street as there’s going to be an Occupy Wall Street Action at the same time on Saturday. We’re trying to give each other space.

* * *

Stop by Saturday, September 15th * 2-8 p.m. and Sunday, September 16th * 1- 8 p.m. It’s free!

There is further description of the Festival at the Parks Department web site and a breakdown of the performances at the Festival’s site.

This Blog on last year’s festival!

Bagpipes at the Park


On Saturday, I was sitting near the Arch and I heard bag pipes emanating from somewhere in the park. They stopped and so I basically forgot about them; my attention diverted elsewhere. As I was leaving, they started up again and I snapped this pic of a young woman playing near the LaGuardia Place entrance on the southern end of the park! They were really nice to hear. It’s a distinct sound … it feels regimented and yet celebratory and meditative all at the same time.

Idyllic Saturday at the Park: Music, Fountain, Open Lawn … Hawks! (And More.)

This looks like an idyllic Saturday at the park on the NW end with music, the fountain in the background, the lawn (for the most part) open…

And then… you realize there’s a hawk above taking it all in!

juvenile hawk…

This is one of the neighborhood juvenile hawks… Boo or Scout (so named by New York Times‘ readers, in a nod to “To Kill a Mockingbird”), child to Rosie and Bobby. Other wild life was abundant as well including…

A flock of pigeons swoop through the sky…

Sparrow people-watching on to open lawn

A monarch butterfly…

this colorful performance troupe was practicing on Garibaldi stage

Just a snapshot of what was going on…
Photos: Cathryn

Music This Sunday 5/20: Washington Square Music Festival Fundraiser and Greenwich Village Orchestra Concert (Mention WSP Blog at the Latter & Get in for Discounted Rate!)

There are two great opportunities for high caliber music and fun this Sunday, May 20th. One is the Greenwich Village Orchestra’s final concert of the season at Washington Irving Auditorium with a discounted rate – only $5 – if you mention Washington Square Park Blog! In addition, there will a fundraiser for the Washington Square Music Festival at nearby Le Poisson Rouge on Bleecker Street.

Conductor Yaniv Segal

Here are the details:

The Greenwich Village Orchestra, comprised of talented local musicians and going strong for the last 25 years, will present its final concert of the season this Sunday, May 20th at 3 p.m. The concert features guest conductor, 31-year-old Yaniv Segal, named by Esquire Magazine as a rising star who is “redefining classical music.” Performances will include Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 9” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5.” There will be a free reception afterwards with food and beverages and an opportunity to meet the musicians.

** Mention Washington Square Park Blog and get in for only $5 at the door!
Location: Washington Irving Auditorium, 40 Irving Place (at 17th Street), Manhattan.

The Washington Square Music Festival will hold a fundraiser from 3-6 p.m. on Sunday, May 20th to benefit their upcoming season at neighborhood nightspot Le Poisson Rouge. The event will feature “delicious savories, sweets and wines,” door prizes (including Emily Kies Folpe’s book, It Happened On Washington Square), and entertainment by members of the Festival plus special guests. Music director and cellist Lutz Rath and soprano Lucia Hyunju Song will perform Barbara Harbach’s “Cherish-Caress” and Kurt Schwitters’ “Anna Blume,” a DADA love poem for speaker and cello improvisation. In a highly anticipated performance, Abdoulaye Alhassane Touré, the singer and leader of the Deep Sahara Band, along with members of the group, will present music from West Africa. The West Village Chorale, which performs at Judson Church, will join the Washington Square Music Festival in performance for the first time. Chorale members will present Michael Conley’s “This Bequest of Wings,” an Emily Dickinson Cycle. The 54th season of the Washington Square Music Festival will begin in July.

Tickets range from $75 to $200 ($50 special price for attendees under 40!). You can purchase tickets in advance here.

Le Poisson Rouge is at 158 Bleecker Street (between Sullivan and Thompson), Greenwich Village.

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Photo (Yaniv Segal): Rick Guest, Esquire

Greenwich Village Orchestra Concert Sunday, March 25th – Special Offer! Discount Admission for WSP Blog Readers

Greenwich Village Orchestra - Since 1986!

The Greenwich Village Orchestra was formed by local musicians in 1986 — it’s been going strong for over 25 years. Yet, it has remained a bit of a secret while those who’ve experienced it have given it rave reviews. The Orchestra’s goal:  “total commitment to performance, world class soloists, low ticket prices, and continued commitment to our local, downtown community.” Comprised of “accountants, actors, artists, attorneys, carpenters, editors, physicians, professors, programmers, retirees, riverboat gamblers, scientists, secretaries, students, and teachers,” the group is “committed to making music at the highest possible level.”

Here’s your chance to see them and with a discount if you mention this blog at the door!

The Greenwich Village Orchestra will be performing a concert this Sunday, March 25th at 3 p.m. When you mention Washington Square Park Blog, you’ll receive discounted admission — only $5! (Regularly $15 suggested donation.)

The concert will feature Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, Khatchaturian’s Sabre Dance & Violin Concerto in D Minor, and guest conductor Farkhad Khudyev.

Reception afterwards with free food and beverage and a chance to mingle with the musicians.

What you need to know:

When: Sunday, March 25th, 3 p.m.
Where: Washington Irving Auditorium, 40 Irving Place (at 17th Street), Manhattan
Who: Greenwich Village Orchestra & You!
Cost: Only $5 if you mention Washington Square Park Blog at the door.

For more information, check out the Greenwich Village Orchestra web site.

Photo: Adi Segal

Music at the Arch



This band was like the Pied Pipers of music (except, of course, no one died! I had no recollection that this was the basis of the fairy tale until looking this reference up). With a multitude of instruments, this group gathered and performed under the Arch last week and attracted quite the crowd! (And no tickets for performing…)

Washington Square Park Folk Festival This Weekend September 17th-18th


Eli Smith, host of the DownHome Radio Show, was hired by the city’s Parks Department to produce the first ever Washington Square Park Folk Festival this coming weekend Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th on the Garibaldi Stage (eastern end). Smith will be MC and also perform on Sunday with his band, the Dust Busters.

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday Sept 17th:

2pm The Calamity Janes – old time string band
3pm Feral Foster – original songs and blues
4pm East River String Band – country blues & old time
5pm Whiskey Spitters – country blues & old time

Sunday Sept 18th

2pm Bob Malenky – country blues
3pm Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – jug band music
4pm The Dust Busters with John Cohen – old time string band
5pm Willy Gantrim & the Phantoms – original songs, country & blues
6pm Peter Stampfel and the Ether Frolic Mob – make a wish for a potato

On his web site, Smith writes:

2011 also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1961 “Washington Square Folk Music Riot” when the City tried to revoke the permit for folk musicians to play and sing on Sundays in the park.  They needed to clear undesirable people out so that they could  satisfy local real estate interests and I heard possibly enact a crazy plan to extend 5th ave. through the park! Luckily folkies resisted the attempt by the police to kick them out of their public space, resulting in the “riot,” and the planned extension of 5th ave never materialized. Lately there’s been a film made about the “riot” and the film will be screened at the festival, check it out… coverage of the so called riot has been offered by The Indypendent and NPR.

Mario Batali‘s Foundation is involved somehow in sponsoring this event. I’m going to talk to Eli Smith and find out more about the festival but wanted to get the info up!

Last Night at Washington Square

Red-tailed Hawk Bobby Perched Atop the Judson Church Cross While…


This is neighborhood Red-tailed hawk Bobby, I presume, atop the Judson Church cross. Previously noted as one of his favorite haunts around the park, he lingered there for a long time.

Baby Soda Band Played on the Garibaldi Stage


Baby Soda (above) last night at the Park. They were quite good!

From their web site:

Baby Soda is on the forefront of a new movement loosely known as street jazz; with an eclectic set of influences ranging from 30’s era swing, New Orleans jazz, and southern gospel. The ensemble doesn’t desire to recreate the past, rather they bring the concept and joy of the music to the present.

Baby Soda is an adaptable and ever changing group made up of New York’s finest musicians; featuring trumpet, trombone, clarinet, banjo and the unique one string box bass.