April 9, 2011 marks the 50th year anniversary of what is now called the Washington Square Folk Riot. Apparently, plans are in the works to mark this with an event of some kind and Community Board 2 Parks Committee will be meeting this Wednesday night, March 2nd to discuss a “celebration” of the anniversary.
On the Washington Square Folk Riot from The Indypendent:
Washington Square Park has been a place for musicians since at least the 1940s. By 1961, it was the center of the city’s folk-music scene, and Parks Commissioner Newbold Morris ordered the police to crack down on “the roving troubadours and their followers.” The musicians defied the ban, and on April 9, police invaded the park to clear them out. The result was what became known as the “Folk Song Riot.” One group sat down in the empty fountain and sang “We Shall Not Be Moved.” The cops attacked them with billy clubs. “5,000 BEATNIKS RIOT IN VILLAGE,” the tabloid Mirror headlined.
One of the demonstrators may have been 19-year-old Bob Dylan, who two days later opened for John Lee Hooker at Gerde’s Folk City, down the block on West Fourth Street. The city eventually relented after more musical protests, including a sing-in by 1,500 people in a nearby vacant lot.
Other items on the CB2 meeting agenda (both public hearings):
* Request for renovation of Father Fagan Square (Sixth Ave. betw. Prince and Spring)
* “Treeing-up Hudson Square”- A proposal for intensive tree planting.
Date: Wednesday, March 2nd, 6:30 p.m.
Location: Little Red School House, 272 Sixth Avenue at Bleecker Street, Auditorium
Trains: A, B, C, D, E, F to W. 4th-Wash Square or 1 train to Houston Street
Note: No mention of Washington Square Park Phase II update, cost overrun, delays or projected completion on the committee’s agenda.
P.S. — This anniversary event was canceled. See archives for why.