The Corner

Cheap Dates and Literate Musicians

From one reader:

Your Forbes piece was a pleasant departure from politics and I enjoyed it and Glenn Miller’s “Little Brown Jug.”  By the way, your memory of the Staten Island Ferry reminded me of some of my best — and cheapest — dates in the springtime when I was a senior in high school, growing up in Brooklyn:  

Subway from Brooklyn Heights to Battery Park (the location of the Staten Island Ferry terminal) and back for two people:  sixty cents.  Round trip on the Staten Island Ferry for two:  twenty cents.  One six-pack of Rheingold beer enjoyed at the ferry rail, cruising one the world’s most beautiful harbors:  a buck thirty-five.

And from another:

Talking about the big band era, reminds me of something that has always impressed me about so many of those stars.  How literate they were.

I think of so many, Louis Armstrong, for example, who came from such desperately poor and illiterate environments, but, not only could they play instruments in an incomparable manner, they could sing complicated lyrics with historic, geographic and literary references. I once saw(on film; I’m not that old) Armstrong and Danny Kaye sing a duet which was a play on a number of such aforementioned works.  I was staggered by their literacy, particularly Armstrong (can’t wait for Terry Teachout’s bio).  There were so many others, and I would even include some of those old blues singers like James Cotton, Muddy Waters, etc.

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