Moondog (Louis T. Hardin, 1916-1999) was a fixture of the New York street scene during the 1950-70's, especially along Sixth Avenue. He was blind, having lost his sight in a farm accident in his native Kansas at age 16. He took up drums and other percussion instruments in his youth and moved to New York in 1943. He composed and played eccentric music that found favor with the beat generation. As I write this, there are currently dozens of his recordings available at amazon.com. Hardin created his own clothing based on his interpretation of the Norse god Thor and was known as "The Viking of 6th Avenue".

These photos were taken in 1967 with my first "good" camera, a 35mm SLR Miranda F. I had only been taking pictures for a couple years and at that time, I didn't know I was doing street photography. It wasn't really called that and my goal was to just get closeups of interesting people. A few years ago I found the lens I used for the photos in some boxes of old stuff. It was a Vivitar 135mm f.3.5 preset telephoto. With a preset lens, you would set the desired aperture, focus wide open, then use a ring to manually stop down. How primitive we were then!

Harry Britton, Erie PA

Cities small and large have their share of "characters" and New York is no exception. Some went on to fame, or is it "infamy?" One of those characters was Harry Britton, Erie PA. During the late 1960's - early 70's, Britton could be seen wearing his signs and buttons carrying his placards and selling his Husband Liberation newsletter for 25¢. According to a 1974 article in the New York Times, his wife "packed his suitcase and told him to go fly a kite” after he lost his job as an industrial engineer for General Electric in Erie. His logic behind the protest was explained, “It will prove how much I love her,” he reasoned. He smiled and added, “Besides, if she gets too embarrassed, she'll want to get me off the streets.”

Britton was known to support himself for about $2000 per year, from the $40 he earned each week from selling his newsletters, plus $30 his Wife would send him each month from his Social Security and Veteran's Administration checks. He stayed in a $16‐a‐week room on West 51st Street and said he ate at McDonald's. He frequented Fift Avenue in the neighborhood of Rockefeller Center.

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