In honor of Black History Month, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has released a list of 25 designated landmarks related to African-American culture and history. One of the 25 is the Charlie Parker Residence at 151 Avenue B in the East Village.
The building became an official New York City Landmark in 1999 for its association with Charlie Parker, a world-renowned jazz saxophonist and composer. For roughly four years, from late 1950 to October 1954, Parker and his family lived in the ground floor apartment. The LPC designation report also mentions that:
“Parker first arrived in New York City in 1938 or 1939, and soon established himself as one of jazz’s most gifted and influential performers. He moved into the apartment at the height of his career, having achieved considerable success and renown as the co-founder of bebop, the modern jazz style that he and trumpeter Dizzy Gillispie created in New York City during the mid-1940s. While living on Avenue B, Parker enjoyed international fame, recording with small and large ensembles, as well as with Latin big bands and string sections.”
For some great quotes from Parker and those who knew him, be sure to read through the designation report available on our Resources page. The house is also listed on the State and National Register, and our Resources page includes a link to that report and photos of the interior.
The house itself was built circa 1849 and is a rare example of a row house designed in the Gothic Revival style. The pointed arch door surround is featured in the acclaimed book, Bricks and Brownstone, by Charles Lockwood. Located directly across the street from Tompkins Square Park, the building is also marked by a plaque noting Charlie Parker’s time there.
Follow this link to see the other sites on the LPC’s list in honor of Black History Month. And if you’re up for a great evening out, be sure to join us at Zinc Bar on March 4th for “The Village and All That Jazz”, which will include music and conversation about the Village jazz scene of the 1960s. More information is available on our Events page. We hope to see you there!