Saturday, July 21, 2012

Woody Guthrie: Coney Island Troubadour

July 14th marked the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birth. Coney Island was the site of a major celebration with Billy Bragg, Steve Earle and Woody's daughter, Nora, in attendance signing her new book, My Name Is New York: Ramblin' Around Woody Guthrie's Town.

Yuko and I made the pilgrimage a few days after the anniversary and visited the spot where Woody lived with his family. The plaque above was put up in 2008 and reads:
"Folk hero Woody Guthrie and his family lived at 3520 Mermaid Avenue from 1943 to 1952. The building was demolished in 1972. When Guthrie died in 1967, his ashes were spread in the ocean one block from here, at the foot of West 36th Street."

In a recent interview, Nora recalled that Woody went out on the Coney Island boardwalk everyday. "That's why his ashes are there. I think that's where he was happiest."

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