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Oral History Collection- South Village



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This material cannot be used for commercial purposes. Short quotes and references are permitted for educational purposes. If short quotes are used, provide complete citations referencing speaker, interviewer, date, and Website with URL Address. Do not re-post or link this site or any parts of it to another program or listing, without permission from the Oral History program. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this site are strictly prohibited. Any use of the content, except as specifically permitted in these Terms or as otherwise expressly permitted in the content or in a writing signed by GVSHP, is strictly prohibited. Questions and research appointments should be directed to Sam Moskowitz.

These oral histories were produced by Oral Historian and artist Liza Zapol with funding provided by the New York Preservation Archive Project and the support of GVSHP members.

David Amram
Tom Bernardin
Colette Douglas
Maria Kenny
Peter Longo
Gloria McDarrah
Romana and Andrew Raffetto
Matt Umanov



David Amram
A noted musician, bandleader, prolific composer, and pioneer of the jazz French horn for more than the past half-century, Amram lived in various parts of the Village and has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Willie Nelson, Langston Hughes, Charles Mingus, Leonard Bernstein, Tito Puente, Joseph Papp, Arthur Miller, Pete Seeger, Elia Kazan, Allen Ginsberg, Nina Simone, Gregory Corso, Bob Dylan, Sonny Rollins, T.S. Monk, and Jack Kerouac, among others. He was a habitue of many of the most renowned Village clubs and cafes of the 20th century.

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Tom Bernardin
A native of Lawrence, Massachusetts, Bernardin moved to New York City as a young man and enjoyed the freedom and community for gay men that he found in the Village. Preservation pioneer Margot Gayle inspired him to become involved in preservation, which Bernardin has especially pursued via a passion for clocks and lampposts, founding clocks.org.

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Colette Douglas
Douglas lived in MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens in the 1950s, and tells a classic story of mid-century Village life, from attending Little Red Schoolhouse as a child, to witnessing her husband fight the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway which would have destroyed the neighborhoods of SoHo, Little Italy, and the South Village. Presently she lives on Charlton Street.

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Maria Kenny
The child of Irish immigrants, Kenny grew up in the Bronx and Greenwich Village. Her father, Pat, was owner of the Village music club, Kenny’s Castaways, and a part owner of The Bitter End. Kenny recalls musicians and the scene, and the changed circumstances that eventually led her and her brother to close the club in the 2000s, some time after their father’s death.

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Peter Longo
Longo grew up in an Italian family in the Village, attending Catholic schools and absorbing the immigrant and Beat cultures that surrounded him. He took over, and still runs, the coffee business his father started, the Porto Rico Importing Company.

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Gloria McDarrah
McDarrah has lived in the Village since the 1950s. She worked in publishing, and married Fred McDarrah, who established himself as a photojournalist and a leading documentarian of mid-century Greenwich Village. She also worked at the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and continues to promote her late husband’s body of documentary work.

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Romana & Andrew Raffetto
Romana is the former owner, and her son Andrew is the current owner of Raffetto Pasta at 144 West Houston Street. A Village and New York institution, Rafetto Pasta was founded by Romana's father-in-law in 1906.

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Matt Umanov
Umanov is the founder and proprietor of Matt Umanov Guitars, located at 273 Bleecker Street. Since 1965, Matt Umanov Guitars has been buying, selling, and repairing vintage guitars, and has served some of the biggest names in music.

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