Tompkins Square Park - June 1, 1967
June 01, 1967
free afternoon concert
This was the very first time I ever saw the GD. I was 14 years young. I had been walking around the West Village with my Mom. She enjoyed walking around the area and looking at the Painters and the Poets out on the side walks.
Wow I knew I loved the Dead for their energy but did they play Palo Alto and New York City on the same day. Something is wrong with the date for this show or the next my guess is the next one becuase all the others after this are in New York, please verify the dates for June 1, shows....
On my way to work, one beautiful June day, on the subway underneath the East River,I was reading my paper, which said:
The psychedelic San Francisco band, The Grateful Dead would be playing a free show at the Tompkins Square Park band shell.
Well, the next thing I remember was walking down St. Mark's Place toward the park, behind a bunch of weird guys, lots of real long hair, one wearing an Uncle Sam hat, you guessed it, yup, turned out to be them. That's the first time we met, hopefully not the last.
They've been good to me ever since.
Still out there, following those guys....
Found some interesting info and context about this show in the Voice that came out the following week. Two days before (Memorial Day), there was a disturbance in Tompkins Square after the park foreman, having received numerous complaints from elderly Ukrainians in the neighborhood about 20 or so hippies sitting on the grass and playing musical instruments in violation of park regulations, lodged a formal complaint with the police. When a couple of cops arrived and ordered the "kids" to leave, the hippies laughed and kept playing. The cops called for reinforcements; so did the hippies, to the tune of about 200, all singing with locked arms. The cops moved in with nightsticks and carted a fair number off to the Ninth Precinct.
It turned out that the Ninth Precinct commander, who had spent the previous year attempting to build goodwill with the hippie community, had been off on Memorial Day. He spent much of the following day meeting with the community in an effort to repair this goodwill and, as a result, the patch of grass in question was designated a troubadour area.
That night (Wednesday), The Group Image played the bandshell in the park. No cops were around. A group of Puerto Rican youths, upset by the hippies' now apparently permanent presence in the park, began throwing rocks and beer cans at the group. The Group Image was forced to stop playing and beat a hasty retreat. At the same time, a meeting was being held at the Forum restaurant on Avenue A to announce the formation of the East Village Defense Committee. The Ninth Precinct commander was present and much anger and many questions were directed at him, based generally upon the improper police action of the previous day.
The Voice article continues:
"June began on Thursday, and the Grateful Dead were in town and, despite some rumble rumors from the Puerto Ricans, the prospects for peace looked promising. A happy, scruffy parade of 80 marched down St. Mark's Place, complete with police escort, to present the Dead with a white carnation key to the East Village, graciously accepted by Pigpen. And the Tompkins Square bandshell rocked with San Francisco glory until a noise complaint was lodged in the late afternoon. Rather than tune down, the Dead turned off."
The Dead would return to NYC the following May to play a free concert in Central Park.