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Sign, Street, Metal, Painted, NYC Grammy Music Trail, Louis Armstrong House, Vintage, 1992

New York City Music Trail Sign, Louis Armstrong House
American: 1992
Metal, coated with reflective transfer print
29.675 x 30 inches

together with

Phil Stern (1919-2014)
Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday in Scene from New Orleans
American: Late 1940s
Vintage silver gelatin print photograph

Price on request

Original street sign that was posted in 1992 in front of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, as one of the stops on the New York City Music Trail. The sign, printed in black and red on a white background (now toned with age), features a Big Apple logo intersected with a G-clef, and the words “New York City Music Trail” crossed by parallel red lines spaced like a musical staff. The sign also has the title “The Sites of Sound.” The trail was a project developed in 1992 by the New York City Grammy Awards Host Committee. Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) is regarded as a founding father of jazz. He had an immense influence on American music over his long career as a cornet and trumpet player, composer, bandleader, and vocalist. The Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives is a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark, dedicated to preserving the house where he lived from 1943 and to documenting his life and legacy.

Included with this sign is a photographic print of Louis Armstrong performing in Hollywood in 1949, with jazz singer Billie Holiday standing behind the upright piano, a scene from the 1947 jazz film New Orleans. This print is a cropped version of one of Phil Stern’s popular images.

Product description continues below.

Description

In 1992, the New York City Grammy Awards Host Committee collaborated with New York City officials to map the dozens of locations throughout the five boroughs that played a significant role in music history. New York hosted the Grammy Awards that year for only the sixth time since it was first televised in 1971. It was seen as a major economic opportunity for the city as thousands of visitors arrived for the event, and a weeklong series of special events was planned, including the rollout of the New York City Music Trail, as reported in the New York Times in advance of the telecast:

The host committee also unveiled the New York City Music Trail, a project in which 28 sites in the 5 boroughs have been singled out for their musical significance, including prestigious concert halls and lesser-known places like a corner in the Bronx where Dion DiMucci practiced doo-wop as a teen-ager and the York College Black American Heritage Foundation Music History Archive in Queens. The sites will be flagged with signs and brochures about them will be available at Convention and Visitors Bureau offices.

Sign text: New York City Music Trail/ The Sites of Sound/ New York City/ Host Committee/ 1992/ Grammy Awards/ Louis Armstrong/ House/ 34-56 107th Street.

Phil Stern was an American photographer, known for his news and entertainment subjects. Born in Philadelphia, he began working as an apprentice in a New York City photo studio when he was 18. In 1939 he took a job as a staff photographer at Friday magazine, which sent him to Los Angeles in 1941 to work in its West Coast bureau. After Friday went bankrupt, he remained as a freelance photographer for New York newspapers and magazines. During World War II he served as a combat photographer for the US Army. He produced photo essays for Life magazine during and after the war. From 1946 through the 1980s he was a freelance contributor to many magazines and also worked in the film industry as a still cameraman. He also produced album covers for jazz records. In 2003 he was honored with an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Lucie Foundation for Photography.

Condition: Generally good with the usual wear, abrasions, weathering, etc. associated with a utilitarian used New York City street sign. Holes as issued, now somewhat irregular, from where formerly bolted to a signpost. Some New York City graffiti on backside.

References:

“Biography.” Phil Stern’s Archives. http://www.philsternarchives.com/about/ (12 April 2021).

Louis Armstrong House Museum. https://www.louisarmstronghouse.org/ (7 February 2020).

Neher, Jake. “NYC Music Trail: Swing Street.” WFUV. 18 July 2012. https://www.wfuv.org/content/nyc-music-trail-swing-street-slideshow (7 February 2020).

“Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday in scene from jazz film New Orleans, ca. 1940s.” Phil Stern’s Archives. http://www.philsternarchives.com/archive/jazz/artists/louis-armstrong/ (12 April 2021).

Rule, Sheila. “On a D Train in Disguise, the Grammys Ride In.” New York Times. 20 February 1992. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/20/arts/on-a-d-train-in-disguise-the-grammys-ride-in.html (7 February 2020).

Additional information

Material

Metal

Century

20th Century