NEW YORK 19
Conceived, recorded, edited and narrated by TONY SCHWARTZ
´New York 19´ grew out of my hobby of tape recording. I work professionally as a free lance commercial artist. Since 1947 when I first purchased a magnetic recorder, I have been exchanging recordings with people all over the world. In asking people to exchange with me I said I was interested in the music and folklore of their communities and that I would send them material of mine. In 1952 I decided to channelize my recording activities to a thorough study of the folklore of the community in which I live. The material on this record was selected from the several thousand recordings made in this study.
My definition of folklore is broader than the traditional one. The dictionary defines folklore as "traditional customs, beliefs, tales, or sayings, preserved unreflectively among a people." In addition to this type of material I include the non-commercial musical expression of people now living and working in New York 19. Folklore starts somewhere and sometime and I wanted to show material of this type starting today.
New York 19 is located in the middle of Manhattan Island. It is bounded on the North by 60th Street, on the South by the Times Square area, on the West by the Hudson River and on the East by Fifth Avenue with the exception of Radio City.
During my work on this project the southern boundary of New York 19 was raised a few blocks. All the material on this record was recorded in this area with the exception of an item or two which may have heen recorded a few blocks away hut which was related to life in the area. It is of interest to note that New York 19 is the commercial music center of the country. The largest record companies, music publishers, theatres, concert halls, symphony orchestras and churches are in or adjoining this area.
Band 1: Street Musicians
New York 19 has many street musicians who, for various reasons, cannot earn their livings in the standard musical channels. On the streets they have an audience and a source of income.
Moondog, one of the most unusual street musicians, conceives, builds, writes music for, and plays his own instruments. In this selection he plays his own composition on the Oo (a triangular wooden frame, each leg of the triangle about 18 inches long, with piano wire strung across and struck with a 6-inch dowel), and two triangular shaped wooden drums. The drums are struck with the horizontal motion of a maracas. This recording was made one foggy night against the background of the boat whistles on the Hudson River. This selection was included in the album "Moondog on the Streets of New York", which I produced for Mars Records.