Thursday, July 7, 2011

What I saw on July 3 - Washington Squared Swing - NYC

Some of what I did and saw this weekend.

Sunday, July 3, was supposed to be a beautiful day in the metro-NYC area. It was, if you don't mind overcast, drizzle, occasional showers, and periods of no rain but heavy skies. It was warm and humid. Ah, the delights of subtropical summers. I've said it before, and only one person has ever contradicted me, but nobody ever moved to New York City for the weather.

As I so often do on Sunday, regardless of season or weather, I took the commuter train into midtown Manhattan, got out my camera and started walking. It was a holiday weekend and I expected lots of tourists and not too many locals. Combining that with the weather, I figured both the streets and the parks wouldn't be too crowded, and what crowds there were would be subdued rather than rowdy.

I walked through Madison Square Park and at the corner of Broadway and 5th Avenue, instead of continuing down Broadway as I did the day before, I strolled down Fifth Avenue. Once you get south of the Empire State Building, there aren't as many tourists and south of 23rd St. it's mostly shoppers, so strolling and photography is pretty easy, unlike the broken-field walking you do in midtown.

What did I anticipate seeing at Washington Square that I would not see at Union Square or in the East Village? More NYU students, even though it's summer; more tourists, even though it was drizzly; a few more unloved down-and-outers; but mostly I didn't expect it to be much different from Union Square or Broadway from 14th to Houston.

What I did see and hear under the arch was two couples dancing energetically to a swing beat. The music was coming from a boom box programmed by iPad - ah the delights of the 21st Century. The dancers were youthful, and some of them were young. The dj wore a hat with a little feather in its band, and it wasn't long before Steve introduced himself and told me about the club, Washington Square Swing, that dances on Sundays in Washington Square from 1-4PM. They were having fun, and the onlookers seemed amused.

They have a Facebook community, if you're interested:

And, as usual, click on a photo to see the larger version.


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All photos and text ©2011 Arthur Kaye.
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