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Bob Dylan and Gloria Stavers (Editor-in-Chief of 16 Magazine) - Central Park - 1963
This is a photo of Dylan and Gloria Stavers next to The Pond in lower Central Park with the Plaza Hotel behind them.
Gloria Stavers was the Editor-in-Chief of 16 Magazine, a fan magazine founded in 1956, which in 1967 (eleven years later) was located at 745 FIfth Avenue, between 57th and 58th street, east side. She held that position from 1958 to 1975. The magazine was geared to teenage girls from ages 9 through 12. It ceased publication in 2001. Stavers was an early supporter of Bob and his music.
We don't know the exact date of the photos in this PopSpot other than they were taken in 1963. Dylan's second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan was released in March of 1963.
The location. The Plaza Hotel is the building in the middle with the green roof. It is located near the corner of FIfth Avenue and Central Park South (59th Street).
Dylan and Gloria Stavers next to The Pond in Lower Central Park with the Plaza Hotel behind them.
An older photo of that area.
Dylan in about the same place.
That shot was used on the Whitmark Demos CD.
The next two picture taken that day showed Dylan having coffee at an outside table.
The first picture really didn't provide many clues as to where it was taken.
The next picture gave a lot more detail.
In the background were brick columns with white concrete bands at about the three-foot-high level. There were also a series of chains and a metal fence between the columns. And there was shrubbery between the tables and the columns.
I did this search with Marie Fotini of France.
We figured that there were two probable places in lower Central Park that Dylan and Stavers might have gone for coffee: 1) The indoor/outdoor cafeteria at the Central Park Zoo, or 2) next to the skating rink called Wollman Rink, which was locaed nearby.
If you've seen the movie Love Story you might remember this scene that took place at Wollman Rink with Rylan O'Neil and Ali McGraw.
So Marie went online and searched the New York CIty Municipal photographic archives for "Central Park."
There were no photos of buildings at Wollman Rink that had columns like those behind Dylan.
But, from among the many other photos she found, this particular one (below) from 1938 of the Central PArk Zoo caught her eye.
It was a picture of an outside corridor at the zoo. It had the brick columns, the white horizontal concrete bands . . . and the chains! Bingo! (well, I say "Bingo" but she says the French version. Maybe "voila!") That seemed a match.
Here's a close-up of just the photo.
You can see the brick columns, white horizontal concrete strips, and sets of chains. Plus, like in the Dylan photo, there's some vegetation in front of the columns.
The background fit the Dylan photo perfectly.
Now the question was: Just where in the zoo was this background?
By looking at construction photos of the zoo on the city website, we could see had two areas of similar arches.
They were to the left and right of the large buiding in the back (as you look at it from The Arsenal entrance, which is to the east).
And by looking at an old map from around 1946 (see below), we could see that that large building was the cafeteria. So it matched up that Dylan and Stavers would be having food near there.
We found out later the space was called "Kelly's Cafeteria."
In this early photo of the zoo, in the top left quarter of the circle, you can see a little white wall in front of some trees. That seems to be the wall that you can see in the Municipal Archive photo way behind Dylan, past the columns.
A black arrow in the photo below points to where we think Dylan and Stavers were having coffee.
Although in the 1940's, when this picture was taken, people ate on the plaza next to the cafeteria, by Dylan's time we think they added chairs to the side.
Here's a simlar overhead of the zoo from the 1950's.
And here's a close-up of the patio their table would have been on.
You can see one of the arches in the bottom left corner through the vegetation.
We had looked to see if Dylan and Stavers might have been on the other side of the three arches, but, as this photo from 1951 shows, the terraces on this side were higher than the patio where Dylan was sitting.
For example, the woman on the right has just walked through the opening on the right. The woman seen through the archway is on the main cafeteria patio, which would seven steps higher than where Dylan was sitting. (You can see the seven steps in the photo just above this.)
Here's another group of happy zoo-goers eating outside the cafeteria in about the same place from the early 1940's.
And finally, here's an overhead shot of the zoo today. Almost all of the original brick columns (and chains) were replaced in the modernization, except for the colums underneath the Delacourt Clock.
Here's a map of the route Dylan and Stavers probabley walked that day from her office to the zoo.
This is the the last photo we found of Dylan from his visit with Stavers. In was probably taken in her office before or after the interview.
Because of the view of the brickwork out her window, her office must have been on the side or back of the building.
Here's a picture of Stavers in her Editor-in-chief office.
And a photo taking Stavers taking a photo of Jim Morrison from another photoshoot.
This is an article about Dylan from 16 Magazine, but it is from a later date, when Dylan had changed his look.
Stavers remained a big Dylan fan, as we can see from the Dylan/Tarantula button.
This is a copy of 16 Magazine from 1965. Note Bob Dylan's name in the bottom left. (We could not find an issue from 1963 with a Dylan mention from the Dylan/Stavers/Central Park interview. If you find one, please send in a photo of the cover or inside mention and we will add it.)
If you click this link, you will be taken on Google Street VIew to the approximate area in the present day zoo where Dylan and Stavers had their get together. The area has been completely remodeled.
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