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The Almanac House – A Residence of Folk Revival Musicians, A Place that Matters

almanac house greenwich village new york city

It is difficult to imagine that Greenwich Village – a neighborhood where rents approach what some might consider highway robbery – was once home to a group of residents who paid the rent by playing guitar in the basement for an audience paying 35c per head. But that is exactly what the Almanac Singers did when they occupied the place they dubbed “Almanac House” in its various locations in Greenwich Village during the early 1940s.

At that time, New York City became a center for American folk music and the Almanac House was the epicenter of the movement. The Almanac House was home to The Almanac Singers, a loose collective of folk singers that included Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bess Lomax, Lee Hays and others.

Believing that music had an important role to play in political expression, the Almanac Singers staged “hootenannies” in the basement of the Almanac House to experiment with song as a tool for political expression and organization.

One former location of the Almanac House is 130 West 10th Street and though the basement is now home to a psychic, our last visit revealed the upstairs is occupied by a ukulele duo called “Sonic Uke.” Throughout the summer, Sonic Uke hosts informal concerts on the stoop of the former Almanac House, carrying on the tradition (whether they realize it or not) established there by some of America’s great folk music legends.