Naumburg Bandshell, New York City

On June 8, 1967, the Grateful Dead played at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, New York City, NY.  Their first show ever in New York City had a few days earlier in Tompkins Square Park.  The current structure was constructed in 1923, replacing an old cast-iron bandstand from 1862. A philanthropist named Elkan Naumburg donated the money for the bandshell in hopes of promoting the appreciation of classical music.  But, alas, his hopes were dashed when the demand for outdoor popular music began to grow.  Irvin Berlin and Benny Goodman played here as well as other popular musicians of the day that were not too far removed from the classical tradition.  Fast-forward to 1967 however, and there we have our beloved Dead.  Hippies everywhere, Owsley passing out Orange Sunshine to the crowd—they probably could hear old Elkan shriek from beyond the grave.  The band also played here on May 5, 1968 (with the Jefferson Airplane and Paul Butterfield) and June 22, 1969.  The venue is still being used for concerts, both classical and popular shows.  It is still in good shape and appears to have kept the original appearance.  Below we see the bandshell in its lovely little nook in Central Park.  Take note of the beautiful ceiling work of the bandshell  in the second picture, the classical intent of the structure showing through.  It is also very cool that you can actually go up and stand on the stage, I recommend it!  The beautiful setting, the cool architecture, and the vibes from that day in June that are still present here make this spot a necessary stop for any Deadhead in New York City!


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