On Saturday, February 1st I led a walking tour that included a guided visit to the Louis Armstrong House Museum, followed by a 90-minute tour through the Corona neighborhood, topped off with a visit to the Queens Museum of Art at Flushing Meadow Park. The house tour is an extraordinarily intimate experience as everything in the house were the possessions and furniture owned by Louis and Lucille Armstrong. Even though Mr. Armstrong was extremely financially successful, he and his wife chose to live in a modest home in a working class neighborhood. Their brick home is pictured above. How successful was he? King George of England gave him a gift of a trumpet which is on display in the house (pictured below). The house is open to the public. For information on visiting and related events (including summer concerts in the garden), check out this link.
Queens attracted many African American jazz musicians. Some had come from the South like thus preferred homes with backyards as opposed to a Manhattan apartment, Louis and Lucille loved knowing their neighbors and Louis would hang with local children. Dizzy Gillespie, a fellow trumpeter from South Carolina, lived around the corner from the Armstrongs for a time. Check out the Queens Jazz Trail Map to learn more!
And lastly the lyrics of one of his most enduring songs:
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