Last week Off the Grid featured a story about the 55th Annual Washington Square Music Festival, which presents free concerts in Washington Square Park on Tuesday evenings in July. This week, we thought we would venture East, where the Third Street Music School has been featuring free Thursday afternoon concerts since 1981. Music in Abe Lebewohl Park, which is produced by Third Street and the Tenth and Stuyvesant Streets Block Association, in cooperation with St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, began as a way to entice people into the park. Now in its 32nd year, the concerts certainly have helped fill the park with music . . . and people.
In the 1970s, the deteriorating physical landscape of the park, as well as its use as a haven for those looking to get drunk or high, spurred the Tenth and Stuyvesant Street block association, along with local business owner Abe Lebewohl, to successfully petition the city for a long overdue remodel. In addition, they invited the greenmarket to come into the park each Tuesday, and partnered with the Third Street Music School to produce the concerts. Check out this past Off the Grid post on the history of the park, as well as this post on local resident Marilyn Appleberg, whose long-time activism for the park garnered her a Village Award last year.
The concerts present a wide variety of musical styles, and students from the school even present to the public during the series, which usually runs from June to the beginning of July. There are three more concerts on tap this season, including David Moreno’s Off Morning Quartet, today, July 18th. Next week, on Thursday, July 25, the Gypsy Jazz Caravan will present its unique take on French Gypsy jazz. The final performance in the series, on Thursday, August 1, features the soulful music of the Kim Clarke Jazz Quartet.
Concerts take place from 12:30 to 1:30 PM on Thursday afternoons, in front of St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery at 10th Street and 2nd Avenue. Happy listening.