A Texas Honky-Tonk in New York City

August 2, 2007

Castle Clinton was constructed at the southern tip of Manhattan for the defense of New York City. Designed as a near-twin to Castle William on Governor’s Island, the building stopped functioning as a military base after the War of 1812. The castle was converted to an opera house, then an immigration processing center, and finally an aquarium before being named a national monument in 1946.

Today this circular red sandstone building in Battery Park serves as the ticket office for ferries going to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. And, for a few magical summer evenings each year, it is transformed into an open air concert hall. A portable stage is erected, folding chairs are opened, a refreshment stand set up and tickets (first-come, first-serve) distributed to the crowd that waits outside in the sun for hours.

Why do they stand so patiently in the middle of a heat wave? Simple. Because the space is intimate (only 600 seats are available), the price is right (free), and the acts are first-rate.

Today, as day turned to night, this former military fortress became a Texas honky-tonk when Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock — also known as the Flatlanders — performed for those lucky enough to score tickets.

The sounds of these veteran country singer-songwriters had the New York City crowd clapping their hands, stomping their feet, and finally, up on their feet and happily dancing under the stars.

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The Flatlanders on the stage

Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Butch Hancock
Butch Hancock

Joe Ely
Joe Ely

Rob Gjersoe on bass
Rob Gjersoe on bass

Joe Ely singing
Joe Ely singing

Butch Hancock singing
Butch Hancock singing

Jimmie Dale Gilmore singing
Jimmie Dale Gilmore singing

New West Records: The Flatlanders
Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Welcome
Wikipedia: Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Joe Ely
Wikipedia: Joe Ely
Wikipedia: Butch Hancock
Castle Clinton National Monument


More Broadway in Bryant Park

August 2, 2007

Another sunny summer Thursday, another free lunchtime performance in the Broadway in Bryant Park series.

Once again, the concert featured excerpts from current shows and I was able to catch some of the best moments from Hairspray, Mary Poppins and Stomp.

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Hairspray

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Hairspray

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Hairspray

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Ashley Brown & Devynn Pedell from Mary Poppins signing autographs

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Ashley Brown as the title character in Mary Poppins

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Jacob Levine, Ashley Brown and Devynn Pedell in Mary Poppins

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Jacob Levine and Gavin Lee singing Let’s Go Fly a Kite

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Singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins

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Broom dance from Stomp

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Dancing with brooms from Stomp

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Cast dancing with poles from Stomp

Hairspray
Mary Poppins
Devynn Pedell
Stomp
New York 106.7 FM: Broadway in Bryant Park
Bryant Park: Broadway in Bryant Park
Bryant Park
New York City Department of Parks: Broadway in Bryant Park
Broadway.Com


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