PKM TV is in the house, ya’ll! Well, actually, it’s in the church. St. Mark’s Church, to be more precise.
Today, on PKM TV, we are lucky to have Mike Katz & Crispin Kott, authors of the Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City, taking us on a tour of the city. In this broadcast, Amy Haben talks to them about the cultural importance of the St. Mark’s Church and the Poetry Project.
We are also lucky to have Katz and Kott’s “explorer guide to New York City” because we just don’t “do” history very well over here. European cities put up bronze plaques to tell you about all the giants who strode the earth thereabouts. But American cities have, if we’re lucky, some brochures, a few “day trip” foldout maps, not to mention the small army of sidewalk hawkers hitting you up every other block to jump on one of the tour buses. New York City, in particular, demands something better. When you walk around the city, more so than any other American city, you have the sense that every block contains a chunk of history. Something happened here.
Rock and Roll Explorer Guide to New York City is, therefore, the answer to your prayers. It’s not some stapled together DIY guide for wannabe hepcats. This is serious stuff, up there with the old WPA Guide to the city. Katz and Kott spent years amassing and assembling this material and have created the definitive guidebook to the five boroughs, at least as it relates to rock ‘n’ roll history. And their perspective isn’t just punk-heavy, even if Katz and Kott came of age during that era and PKM’s own Legs McNeil—the “resident punk” at Punk Magazine—wrote the foreword to this volume. There are excursions into doo wop, R & B, Phil Spector-related sites and some nice inroads into folkie and jazz/beatnik histories as well. The entries are engaging but tightly written and there are some unexpected (but welcome) inclusions too.
This guide should be a template for other counterculture-rich American cities. Chicago…Los Angeles…Philadelphia…Cleveland…Seattle…Ann Arbor…Detroit…New Orleans…are you listening?