So here was a tendency: self-immersions, burials, entrapments, irritating provocations, projects with a built-in self-destruct button, all in the name of asking a better question. But whenever one proclaims a tendency in culture, one had better be prepared to find the opposite tendency at the same time. Sure enough, one could: plenty of joyous, communal, repetitive music, but similarly intense, and similarly resisting the concept of a leader, or a hero.
Around the turn of the last century, James Reuel Smith documented and photographed the natural springs and wells of New York City. Why? Well, he was born into a wealthy family and was clearly interested in fresh water.
Most were in the northern part of the city where there was less development and drinking water piped in through the Croton Aqueduct was not as readily available. Smith rode his bike to these locations, and that’s presumably his ride in the photo below, taken in 1897. His kit includes a couple of leather bags attached to the bike frame as well as a rear rack, perhaps used to hold his camera. You can see a communal tin cup hanging on a branch of the tree growing next to the spring, as well as the flat rocks laid around the spring opening.
Smith’s interest in water sources was not limited to New York. In 1922 he published Springs and Wells in Greek and Roman Literature, their Legends and Locations. Springs and Wells of Manhattan and the Bronx: New York City at the End of the Nineteenth Century was published posthumously in 1938.
If you’re getting tired of the same old Halloween songs like Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, and Thriller, here are three alternatives.
(It’s a) Monster’s Holiday should not be confused with Monster’s Holiday, which was Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s Christmas-themed sequel to Monster Mash. Buck Owen’s 1974 hit assembles the usual monster lineup, and throws in dragons for good measure.
When a ghost (or is it an alien?) tries to scare Jumpin’ Gene Simmons (no, not the Demon bassist from Kiss) out of the Haunted House he just bought, Gene doesn’t need to call Ghostbusters, he handles the situation himself.
Haunted House was written by record producer Bob Geddins and first recorded by Johnny Fuller in 1958. Simmons’ version was released in 1964.
The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is the subject of Lou Reed’s 1989 song, which also serves as an elegy for people who died during the 1980s AIDS crisis.
In the 1920s, John Held, Jr., became famous for his drawings in Life, Vanity Fair, and other magazines that enshrined the iconic flapper image: lean and leggy, with beaded necklace swinging as she danced the Charleston with her companion, the round-headed, pencil-necked, Joe College.
The “tall, dark and tweedy” (Shuttleworth 1965) artist had come to New York City from Utah in 1912, where he found work as a commercial artist. As America entered World War I, John Held would take on another, clandestine, responsibility.