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April Throwback - The Who at Morningside Park and the Sorry State of the Carl Schurz Monument Today

On April 5, 1968 photographer Art Kane working for Life Magazine assembled the members of The Who for a photo shoot at the Carl Schurz Memorial monument. They were in NYC to perform two shows (April 5 and April 6, 1968) at the Filmore East at 105 Second Avenue. Mr Kane was known for his meticulous photographic compositions and the idea to have the band pose covered by two Union Jacks stitched together may have come to him after seeing photos of band members in jackets emblazoned with the flag.

In the montage below we see the photo as it was used on an album cover years later along with another photo from the shoot showing young children sitting to the right of the band on the steps of the monument. We also see a contemporary photo showing more of the plaza context.

The story of the album cover and directions to the site are extensively covered on the PopSpots web site.

Unfortunately today the site of this iconic photograph is threatened by neglect and disrepair. We have highlighted some of these conditions in the photos below. We have received assurances from park managers that there is no cause for alarm but the barriers and caution tape they have put up to keep people away clearly indicate they recognize there is a safety issue here. We have been told that the city's engineering reports have indicated the plaza is safe but these reports have not been shared with us so we have filed a FOIL request for them and are awaiting the results.

Besides being the site of this iconic photo shoot, this monument is an integral part of the scenic landmark designation the park received from the city in 2008.

For park users' safety and the integrity of this historic monument the city must address these conditions immediately before it is too late!

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