[EPISODE] Central Greenwich Village
My guests will be Joyce Gold of Joyce Gold History Tours, and a special guest,“Sheriff” Bob Saidenburg, long-time fixture in the Greenwich Village folk music scene, and host of Sheriff Uncle Bob’s Bluegrass Jam.
Jeff introduces Joyce Gold. Joyce talks one attribute New York City offers, choice. The variety of opportunities and hobbies available appealed to her, both personally and as a historian. First, before she gave professional tours, she offered her tours to fellow New Yorkers. Joyce then speaks specifically about Greenwich Village before colonial times. Joyce tells stories about Greenwich Village before it was very developed such as how it used to be a popular fishing area and how Washington Square Park was a swamp and then a graveyard.
Joyce then speaks on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Jeff recalls how his grandmother told him that as a child she saw the fire first hand. Then talking about the bohemian reputation of The Village back in the day, Joyce recalled one woman describing a ‘bohemian’ as ‘It means I’m not a victim of feeling or good taste’.
Joyce speaks of the famous inhabitants of Greenwich Village such as Eugene O’Neill, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and political theorist and radical Jack Reed. Jeff brings up how The Village had the first racially integrated night club, then asks about the second wave of bohemians that spent time in The Village. This time, the Beat Generation. Joyce then speaks on The Weathermen, a radical branch of Students for a Democratic Society, and their attempted bombing of facilities they thought supported the war in Vietnam.
Jeff introduces his second “Sheriff” Bob Saidenburg to come back from the break. Bob has been playing folk, country and bluegrass music in NYC for around 60 years. Bob talks about when he first moved to NYC and growing up in the city, especially around Washington Square Park. He discusses the growing music scene in Greenwich Village in the 60s and how he got heavily involved in it. Bob goes into the evolution of instrumentation throughout the years he’s spent as a musician. He explains why he got most heavily involved with bluegrass and how that ties into the history of the United States.
Bob talks about some upcoming shows and events that he’s going to be a part of in the near future. Bob also plays in the Carribean and joins reggae musicians to give audiences a unique experience. He then explains what Greenwich Village was like back when he was a teenager and in his early 20’s. He says it still has the same aura and feel to it today. Bob wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world and feels like the Village is the center of New York and the world. One thing that he says has changed is the number of tourists he sees on the streets and the different languages he now hears. Bob finishes up by talking about the importance of live music, especially in New York.