Happy Birthday Blowin’ In the Wind

On July 9, 1962, Bob Dylan recorded “Blowin’ In the Wind,” a song destined to become an anthem for a generation, and for the transformative civil rights and peace movements.  Dylan is said to have written “Blowin’ In the Wind” at the Fat Black Pussycat Theater on Minetta Street, and first performed it at Gerde’s Folk City.  The song first appeared on 1963’s “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” the iconic cover of which was shot on Jones Street. All three of these Dylan-connected sites are located in the South Village, an area rich in history — history rapidly being lost due to the City’s refusal to landmark the area (update: by December, 2016 GVSHP had gotten the City to landmark nearly the entire South Village, but not without the loss of some important sites first)

L: a poster for Blowin’ in the Wind; R: the album cover of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, shot on Jones Street

The northeast corner of Mercer Street and West 4th Street, formerly home to Gerde’s Folk City and now the site of Hebrew Union College

The Fat Black Pussycat then & now

While the South Village maintains many important links to its proud cultural and architectural history, many of them such as these have been lost.  Just a few weeks ago, the fifty year old sign marking the old Fat Black Pussycat Theater was painted over and lost forever. Many other culturally significant sites have been lost in recent years while the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has sat on its hands, including the Provincetown Playhouse and Apartments, the Circle in the Square Theater, and the Sullivan Street Playhouse, to say nothing of architecturally significant sites such as the 1862 rowhouse at 178 Bleecker Street and the Tunnel Garage.   Now the South Village’s Children’s Aid Society’s buildings are being sold, and the LPC still refuses to act, although this could result in the demolition of 19th century buildings by world-renowned Central Park architect Calvert Vaux, and their replacement with woefully out-of-place new development.

If you’re interested in helping to preserve this proud history of the South Village, click HERE.

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Andrew Berman Andrew Berman has been the Executive Director of GVSHP since 2002.