What a wonderful world

Whilst I was retrieving my camera and my original meeting had been postponed I decided to do a bit of cultural sightseeing around Corona, Queens. Louis Armstrong lived in this neighbourhood from 1943 to 1971 when he died at 71. His fourth wife Lucille (cottonclub dancer) chose and bought the house which was an end house in the neighbourhood where she herself had grown up. Louis was glad to be living in a neighbourhood with families and a community and would spend his time (when he wasn’t touring which was sometimes 300 days at a time) helping the kids play the trumpet on the steps outside. Lucille outlived her husband by 14 years and had wrote in her will that she wanted the house to be preserved just how she had left it. The house was handed over to the Queens College who eventually made it into a museum with guided tours, complete with gift shop. You can’t take pictures inside the house so you’ll have to imagine. The first thing you see it the staircase down the right hand side with a thick wooden newel post and stair lift. You have to stay inside the carpet runners which lay over the thick 70’s long-pile carpets. Time has faded the wallpapered doors ceilings and walls and the windows are kept closed to preserve the furnishing making the whole effect a little bit eerie but remarkable at the same time. An amazing floor to ceiling blue fitted kitchen complete with 1960’s kitchenaid dishwasher. Here’s a link to an image I recall having seen in my Annie Leibovitz book to get an idea of what the style of his house looked like This picture is in the front room downstairs at the back area of the room. Annie Leibovitz
He would also have audio recordings he used to do so when you go into a certain room they play the conversation as it would have happened. Apparently they get quite a lot of visitors from the UK who come to visit the house especially. It’s brilliant to think this is still being preserved for it’s distinguished musical heritage especially when Louis was proud of living in this neighbourhood within a community that inspired his writing. They’re opening another site across the road to house all the musical archives which will be opening next year. They also hold musical events in the back garden too. I met two retired american social workers on the tour who gave me a contact to visit in Manhattan, connections are everywhere!

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