Somewhere there's a pictures of my sister, Louise, then twelve years old, sitting at an upright piano in this bandshell. She won third prize in a city-wide competition of all the kids in public school taking music lessons and dance lessons. At least that's how I remember it.
That bandshell was part of all our lives when, the arts were in the public school system along with the three 'R's. So Louise being up there was normal. And because she loved playing so much it was normal she'd get a ribbon or a little statue or something heralding her accomplishments.
On a recent day of fading summer, while a ragtime band played nearby and babies and dogs bounced along to the swing, the chiseled inscription on the lip of the stage stood strong and unwavering. It was written in stone. Presented to the City of New York and its music lovers by Elkan Naumburg
And just as it had welcomed my sister then, it welcomes now any and all the kids and parents and neighbors and passerbyers and anyone and everyone who graces its presence.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.