Throwback Thursday: Remembering ‘Old John’

Stephen Harmon took this photo sometime in the late 70’s or early 80’s at 72nd Street and Broadway. “Old John the accordion player was an UWS fixture, who was a great musician appreciated by many UWSers. I talked with him many times and then one day he was gone.”

HISTORY | 12 comments | permalink
    1. Sarah says:

      Great picture.

    2. dannyboy says:

      “then one day he was gone.”

      or “then one day he was disappeared from the UWS.”

      • Rob G. says:

        Dannyboy, do know of some sort of backstory about this gentleman’s disappearance? Did you know him? You seem to be alluding to something sinister here. Please let us in on your secret.

        • dannyboy says:

          He lived here and played music. His accordian was once stolen, but replaced by the Block Association.

          Suddenly he was gone. Along with the music, life, and community that died too.

    3. Art says:

      I don’t particularly remember “Old John” — although if I had seen him in the late 70s or early 80s maybe he would have looked “old” to me then, but now he would pretty much just be a contemporary. !

    4. David says:

      Did they name the luncheonette on West 67th after him?

    5. C.hamiter🙂 says:

      I respect the Art of Music I remember him very nice person music is good for the Soul🙂

    6. ruth says:

      I remember him. clearly. Steve, your photos are always so meaningful. thanks for these memories.

    7. chase says:

      Old John’s Luncheonette?

    8. Ethan says:

      Oh, a blast from the past, a roar from before, a stormer from the former. There was something about that man; other people on the street would come and go, but he was such a fixture, and that sort of made him the ‘main’ guy on the street, at least to me. He was a ‘boss’ of sorts, but maybe he didn’t know it. Maybe he did

    9. Sam says:

      Thanks for the memory. My husband was a gem engraver who was struck by the melancholy of John’s usual pose. As we walked around the neighborhood one day, he photographed John playing his accordian. Some time later he engraved John’s portrait in rock crystal. Thought you’d like to know he was commemorated.