Louis and Bria in NYC

On a rainy Friday, December 1, I made my second trip to the Big Apple in just under two months. My main purpose was to see Bria Skonberg’s quartet at Birdland, where she was in the midst of a four-night residency. To make the most of the trip, I explored two other music-related options. One was a 90-minute historical tour of the Bowery led by TST correspondent Ramona Baker, who recently moved to Brooklyn from her native California. I got the lowdown about the tour from Ramona at the West Coast Ragtime Festival about ten days prior to this trip, and had it not been raining, I would have gone. Check out takeawalk.com and click on “Bowery Historic District Tour.” You may need to dig a little deeper to be sure of getting Ramona as your guide. The backup option was the Louis Armstrong Center in Corona, Queens, which had opened this past July. Given the weather, I chose that one and will save the Bowery tour for another trip. The full Armstrong visit includes the museum and Louis’s house across the street. I had been to the house about ten years ago, and as it turned out, I arrived too late for the last tour, which are led by docents only. The senior admission for just the museum was a very modest $8. I spent the better part of an hour there. The museum space is not large—perhaps 1,000 square feet, all in one room. There is a small souvenir shop next to the admissions desk, and
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Bill Hoffman is a travel writer, an avid jazz fan and a supporter of musicians keeping traditional jazz alive in performance. He is the concert booker for the Tri-State Jazz Society in greater Philadelphia. Bill lives in Lancaster, PA. He is the author of Going Dutch: A Visitors Guide to the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Unique and Unusual Places in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and The New York Bicycle Touring Guide. Bill lives in Lancaster, PA.

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