Dear Reader editor:
Your July 30 Cityscape article entitled “Home Invasion” may have been a little tough on the Old Town School of Folk Music and its recent move to the Lincoln Square neighborhood. In it, author Jack Clark describes the neighborhood’s loss of “bums” and “people with accents” since the school’s move there.
Actually, the old Hild Library building was boarded up and vacant for years before being rejuvenated by the Old Town School. This nonprofit music school nearly died out in the 1980s but miraculously turned around to be financially solvent enough to acquire the abandoned library building. In less than a year the school has been transformed into a haven for all kinds of music, dance, and theater. People from many cultures now learn to play a plethora of musical instruments in this wonderful space that provides warmth and support for all who visit.
I wonder if Jack could forgo a beer or two–maybe move away from his peeping window to stop by and observe the homeless people he thought left the neighborhood now roaming the halls of the Old Town School. Once there, he could see his “people with accents” enjoying the music and dances of their own home cultures. And Jack may also find that it is not too late for he himself to learn a musical instrument, a dance, or how to be an actor in a theatrical play. Thus, Jack would be lucky enough to participate personally in the richness of his own culture in an institution unlike any in the world.
Michael J. Graff