Well just a quick update on some local news. I’ve been monitoring the progress on the refurbishment of a stoop on a house just a block or so away. I have to say the guys are doing a great job but they’ve been working on this for over a week now. But at last they are getting close to adding the final layer of brown plaster…
And the second bit of local news is that the Harlem house where master illusionist Harry Houdini lived in for 20 odd years before his death, and where he practiced many of his most famous tricks, lies just a few blocks away and is up for sale for nearly 5m dollars….
I never knew he lived around here. I must go and see it before we leave and I’ll check out other famous residents too.
And an hour or so later here I’m back with a fantastic list of people who were born and raised or lived for a period of time around here. There are literally dozens and dozens of notable figures but here are some of the more internationally-famous…
Song writers Scott Joplin, Oscar Hammerstein, Richard Rogers plus George and Ira Gerschwin. In fact GG wrote his beautiful Rhapsody in Blue in an apartment just up from here on Cathedral Parkway.
Artist Norman Rockwell whose work used to adorn so many magazine covers in the 50’s/60’s.
Boxers like Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.
Writers of note such as F Scott Fitzgerald, J D Salinger and Arthur Miller.
Men of comedy eg Milton Berle, Chevy Chase and the Marx Bros.
Giants of the big screen like Cecil B DeMille, Humphrey Bogart, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Fanny Brice, Burt Lancaster, Sydney Poitier and Samuel L Jackson.
TV people like Ed Sullivan, Mandy Patinkin and Erik Estrada
Obvioulsy a host of jazz/blues/swing musicians and singers eg Paul Robeson, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Count Basie, Sammy Davis Jr, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne and Dinah Washington.
And some more modern artists like Q-Tip, Tupac Shakur, Puff Daddy, Moby, Kellis, Nina Simone and Ben E King (whose song Stand By Me is one of my favourites).
Finally some very famous politicians have lived here, many honoured by having thoroughfares etc named after them as I’ve described in earlier posts. But also some quite famous NY mayors have hailed from here like David Dinkins and Fiorella La Guardia after whom NY’s national airport is dedicated.
There you go eh. Quite a spawning ground.