July 9, 2012

"I was surprised to find that the street where the Freewheelin’ cover was shot is so unassuming..."

"... that casual passersby would never know that anything special had happened there.
It’s just a street. And it’s not even as nice-looking of a street as some of the others we encountered while walking around the West Village. There’s an alley behind a nearby Mexican restaurant that’s much more picturesque—like something that’s been frozen in time since the 1880s. But it hasn’t, of course. That Mexican restaurant, Panchito’s, wasn’t even there in Dylan’s time. It was a different establishment then: a cafĂ© called The Fat Black Pussycat, where Dylan reportedly wrote “Blowin’ In The Wind” in 10 minutes one afternoon.
Here's a blog post of mine from exactly last year about what Panchito's did to The Fat Black Pussycat. I also looked for a photo of The Fat Black Pussycat that I'm sure I must have taken back when I was living in NYC 4 years ago. I didn't find it, but I found this:

DSC05588.JPG

37 comments:

CWJ said...

Where to start. Why would anyone expect that a moment captured on kodachrome or whatever fifty years ago could be felt or seen today? In fact, nothing special did happen there. Its just an album cover. Indeed, if the photo invokes anything at all about the place, it is its ordinariness.

Strange strange post and subject.

KenK said...

From the album cover it looks like a typical east coast back street. Ever figure that was what the photog was going for? BD wasn't big time yet and I don't if Columbia wanted to splurge on the art work.

X said...

The Black Pussy Cat. W.C. Field's favorite bar.

daisy22 said...

CWJ, I think she was referring to the iconic nature of the photo. it is surely one of the greatest album photos ever and for Dylan fans, nothing about it is ordinary.

EMD said...

I walked right past this without even realizing it.

chickelit said...

@daisy22: You mean this iconic photo?

cassandra lite said...

It's sad that anyone of intelligence would even think to admit that that ordinary street should seem different 50 years later. Archeologists are always discovering the traces of lost civilizations that were covered over, bit by bit, as the decades became centuries. I lived next door to Dylan for a year. Should I have a historical marker on my shoulder?

el polacko said...

look, i've enjoyed dylan's music over the years too but this kind of reverence for a spot where he once happened to stand is a perfect example of why the younger generations are just waiting for the day when the boomers finally die out.

CWJ said...

@daisy22

don't sell me short. I thoroughly understand our hostess' commitment to things Bob Dylan, and at what she and "Noel" were getting, but unless you've drunk that particular koolaid there's no reason to go overboard about that place moment or cover. Don't get me wrong, I own the album and love it.

OTOH, anyone using the word "iconic" sends me up the wall these days.

Lem said...

Its ugly, its ugly, its ugly.

Amexpat said...

You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way

chickelit said...

"drunk that particular koolaid" is an iconic phrase.

Superdad said...

Enough with the Dylan worship already. This never ending idolization of him by the boomers makes it impossible for anyone who is not a boomer to enjoy him. You are ruining him for the rest of us. And, do you really think Dylan would want this?

Peter said...

Le Figaro Cafe has been in Restaurant Heaven since 2008.

CWJ said...

Chicklit. LOL. That's 1! Care to try for two more?

CWJ said...

chickelit not Chicklit. Sorry.

edutcher said...

"I must have taken back when I was living in NYC 4 years ago."

24 years ago, maybe.

ndspinelli said...

edutcher, I think your heart throb took a sabbatical to NYC a few years back.

edutcher said...

Professor Althouse was living in Madison during those years.

My heartthrob, The Blonde, was living with me in NE OH.

nd must be thinking of Oop, but that's his..., well, you name it.

sydney said...

The thing about that album cover that stands out for me was that the jacket he was wearing had a vomit stain on it.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

Le Figaro was the perfect place to people watch on a Saturday night. Order up a piece of cheesecake and an espresso, and have it served al fresco. Then watch the Bohemians, artists, and tourists all pass by in an apparent hurry to get someplace else.

Sorry to learn it's no longer there.

Ann Althouse said...

"You mean this iconic photo?"

LOL. I'd forgotten that!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The times they are a changin'

Penny said...

So Figaro is that big white cat?

And here I thought he was the Barber of Seville.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crunchy Frog said...

I'm trying to give a shit, really I am...

Nope. Can't do it.

phx said...

'm trying to give a shit, really I am...

Nope. Can't do it.


You're just constipated.

Coketown said...

The 60s: I guess you had to be there.

But yes. That is one unassuming street. I haven't seen such an unassuming street since Chestnut St. in Parma, Idaho. Actually, no, now that I think of it, 4th St. in Elko, Nevada is even more unassuming. I saw that street and was, like, "Wow. Nothing could possibly have happened here." Certainly Jesus Christ never had his picture taken there.

Remind me before all the Boomers croak to make my way to that street and set up one of those life-size cardboard prints with the faces cut out, so old people can get their very own "The Freewheelin' ____________" album cover print before they die. "The Freewheelin' Esther Cobb." Just $14.95.

chickelit said...

Althouse wrote: LOL. I'd forgotten that!

Somebody went and changed the photo at the url I linked at 2:38PM (Paddy O?)

Anyway it's embedded here

Almost Ali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Almost Ali said...

The minute you walked off the street, "The Village" ceased to exist. Everything happened in the street. When you left it, you were in Indiana or Iowa or Idaho. Even in buildings so seedy the mice moved up town, you were in Cabrini and Chicago - not Greenwich Village.

That's the insurmountable divide between then and now. Now they go by double-decker bus and stainless subway-car, up to streets kept clean and clear of the very characters who made the Village come alive.

_______________

When Bob Dylan and his girlfriend were walking those streets so unaware of now, apartments rented for a few hundred bucks a month, a block away half that. Go East and the price went down even further. Everything was cheap, sometimes free, and free spirited.

Eat on MacDougal Street, a sausage "hero," maybe a dollar. An omelet at the Hip Bagel, maybe a buck. Ride the screeching subway, a quarter. The ferry, a nickle. Jobs, everywhere, enough to live on, sometimes more.

Now look: A 5th floor walk-up in the West Village that rented for $125 in 1963, now $2,500. I don't know what the subway costs nowadays, I hear dollars-fifty and two-dollars. A sausage sandwich? Who knows.

CWJ said...

phx@6:50

For some reason we keep butting heads. But that long self serving passage you quoted just confirmed my previous posts. OK, are we really supposed to take "Pete's" quote seriously. Are we really supposed to think that New York is somehow unique in its losses to time. Spare me please. If you somehow agree with what you posted then you are a living caricature of that New Yorker cover that shows America ending a few miles west of the Hudson River.

CWJ said...

@phx

BTW, "Tuesday turns into Wednesday" the world over. Not just in Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Thought you and "Pete" might want to know. Geeesh!

EMD said...

So Figaro is that big white cat?

Figaro is the name of the white cat in Disney's Pinocchio.

Kevin Walsh said...

Jones Street and other Village lanes

http://forgotten-ny.com/2010/12/christmas-in-the-village/

Paddy O said...

"Somebody went and changed the photo at the url I linked at 2:38PM (Paddy O?)"

The link works for me.

And it still makes me smile. Meade is just so jaunty in that picture. Althouse looks like she's thinking about a test or something.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.