“Sweet Spot,” by Mike Sugerman
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – You never know what you’ll run into when you explore different neighborhoods of New York.
Like a quiet, leafy part of the Corona neighborhood of Queens. It’s a typical middle class neighborhood until you turn a corner and find a little piece of history: The Louis Armstrong House.
It’s the place the man called Satchmo lived most of his life. It’s also a National Historic Landmark.
“Louis really is the single most important person in the history of the music we call jazz,” my tour guide Harvey Fischer told me.
The king of jazz lived in Queens.
In the midst of this quiet, leafy Corona neighborhood, you get a sense of the life he and his wife, Lucille, lived for more than four decades.
Fischer isn’t the only guide. Armstrong’s recorded stories play as you tour his old haunt.
It’s a time warp – untouched 20th Century Queens.
Fourteen thousand visitors walked through the modest home of the jazz legend last year to see the things that he cared about most and learn about the life he lead.
“There’s a story behind this portrait. It was painted by young Tony Bennett,” says Fischer.
It sits in what today would be considered his ‘man-cave’ – his study where he practiced and worked on his craft.
“Armstrong was not just a great artist who many people put up there with Picasso and Joyce and other great artists of the 20th Century, but also was a tremendous human being,” Fischer says.
He was involved in the civil rights movement, charity and helping kids.
It’s all on the walls and the halls of the shrine to one of the sons of Corona, which you’ll learn about in this house on a quiet, leafy street in a working class neighborhood of Queens.