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The Village is a Small World

Next Thursday evening GVSHP will present a program with photographer Richard Blair about his new book New York 1969. It’s a collection of some of Richard’s photos, mostly black & white and taken in New York circa 1969, paired with poems written by his father, Ed Blair.

Sheridan Square at Dawn, c. 1969, Richard Blair

In the late sixties, soon after graduating from high school, Richard lived in a small studio on Christopher Street near Seventh Avenue South. He’d studied art and took up photography, transforming his kitchen into a darkroom. He worked at one of our local newspapers, The Villager, and captured front-page photos of Dr. Benjamin Spock, and Salvador Dali, among others.

Church Steeple and Sheridan Square from rooftop, 85 Christopher Street, c. 1969 Richard Blair

His father Ed Blair was involved in many things. An accomplished poet and actor, he was also involved in developing the international auxiliary language, Interlingua. Ed performed in many off-off Broadway productions at the Judson Memorial Church and other venues in Greenwich Village and the East Village.

In 1964 Ed began a series of poetry readings on the Gansevoort Pier, which were written about in The New Yorker Magazine. Among those who participated in these readings was Magie Dominic, who will be doing a program with us later in September about the old Caffe Cino on Cornelia Street.

Magie Dominic reciting poetry on Gansevoort Pier © James D. Gossage, 1966

All of this strikes me as very “small world.”  I have been working with both Richard Blair and Magie Dominic for months about their respective upcoming programs, but did not know there was a connection between Magie and Richard’s father Ed.

And we just did a program about the Gansevoort Pier two weeks ago, but the subject wasn’t poetry. It was garbage. And we just did a program about restaurant preservation at  Judson Memorial Church, which is where Ed Blair performed so many times. And we did a program in June at St. John’s Lutheran Church, and that’s the steeple that appears in Richard’s photo from 1969, overlooking Sheridan Square.

I guess it just reinforces what we already know – that what we call “the Village” really is like a little village sometimes and not like a big city. When I realized that I was working on so many things that were somehow interconnected, I found it amusing at first, but then a bit profound. This is what makes the Village so special – this is why we work so hard to preserve its architecture and culture.

If you would like to attend the program with Richard Blair on Thursday, September 4 about his new book, or the program with Magie Dominic on Thursday, September 18 about Caffe Cino, please visit the upcoming programs page on our website.


One response to “The Village is a Small World

  1. Is it just me but in the pic that was taken from the roof of #85, the traffic island containing the entrance to the uptown IRT seems to be missing or it was smaller then? Or is the camera angle playing tricks on me?

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