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  The Loving Spoonful

The cover of the single "Daydream" by the Lovin' Spoonful (photo by Don Paulsen).

Finding this was like finding a needle in a haystack. For three years, every time I walked through Central Park I was always on the lookout for the combination of the sloping rock, the tree, the building tower in the back, and the vertical "slash" in the rock on the right.

About a year ago I had discovered the location of the second photo of the Lovin' Spoonful that you will see below following this cover. They were near a place called Heckscher Playground in the southern part of the park. At that time I looked around the boulders for this cover, but found no matchup.

But last week, (July 2015) I decided to give the area one more try, and after an hour of walking over "Empire Rocks" and "Spur Rock" holding the album photo in front of me - I finally found the sloping boulder - with the vertical gash in the rock! Do you believe in magic? Well I do now.

The band was composed of: (left to right) Steve Boone (bass), Zal Yanovsky (guitar), Joe Butler (drums, vocals) and lying down, John Sebastian (vocals, harmonica). (The child between Zal and Joe's legs may have just wandered into the picture, as this was near a children's playground.)

The vertical gash in the rock.

A close up of the gash. It looks like it was drilled out a long time ago.

Looking straight down at it.

The location.

In summer there are too many trees to see the west side of the park, but using Google Street view I found this photo of the tower in the background.

Here's a close up of the tower. It's the West Side YMCA. (Thank you Anne Raso, for sending this cover in to me back in the day. It was quite the challenge, but fun to find.)

Here's another album. The cover of the electric-folk-blues compilation "What's Shakin' " featuring the Lovin' Spoonful, released in June 1966. (photo by Don Paulsen) (The photo has been reversed horizontally on this cover.)

This is the photo whose location I came across about a year ago. It next to a huge boulder next to Central Park's largest kid's playground: Heckscher Playground, located 2 blocks north of Central Park South and 7th Avenue.

There's the boulder.

You can see the white reflection on the smaller boulder is the same in both photos.

Here's PopSpot #1 of the photo.

And PopSpot #2.

It was located about 1/10 a mile north from Spur Rock, where the other photo was taken.

Now for some other Lovin' Spoonful photos I've been gathering for the last year or three.

This is 130 McDougall Street at West 3rd Street, Greenwich Village. It's across from the Caffe Reggio.

Here's the band in a photo by Dave Gahr.

This pretty entrance is at 16 Minetta Lane, Greenwich Village. Just down the street from MacDougal Street.

Avec the band. (photo: Dave Gahr)

Bleecker and MacDougal Streets. Greenwich Village (photo: Dave Gahr).

The Cafe Figaro in its final year. It was at the southeast corner of Bleecker at McDougal and was famous through the "beat generation" and "folk years" of the village. ( In the late 1970's, my landlord's office was upstairs. He interviewed me at his favorite table downstairs. The walls were covered with shellacked copies of the French newspaper Le Figaro. I passed the interview and lived at 24 Cornelia Street while working at Barnes and Noble on 17th Street and Fifth.)

Some scenes from an early promo "video" of "Summer in the City." I've embedded the video at the bottom of the entry.

These are the same steps. They are in Riverside Park at 105th Street

The past meets the Present.

An aerial view.

This is where you enter the park to get there.

There's a nice bar there in the summer. This is where the tables are.

Joe Butler looks across the river to the "the Jersey side."

Joe PopSpotted.

Here's another scene from the YouTube video. (as noted: you can click to this video at the bottom of the entry)

They are at the top of the West 99th Street and Riverside Park steps.

A modern view.


The cover of the "Rain on the Roof" single.

Using Bing overhead views, I found the location. Way in the back at the top left you can see part of the Empire State Building. That was the biggest clue.

37 East 28th Street between Madison and Park

Here's a shot from New Orlean. The statue behind the group looks early like one across from the White House in Lafayette Park. That confused me for a while.

This is Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana. (NOLA to natives.)

Here's the cover of the soundtrack album they made for the movie, You're a Big Boy Now.

The statue in the center of the park is of Andrew Jackson. It was created in 1856 by sculptor Clark Mills who made three other identical statues, including the one across from the White House.

My son Nick (left), who went to college in New Orleans, conjures up the album.

Here's a different view.

This is the St. Louis Cathedral, also on Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

These photos were taken by the rock photographer Henry Diltz who also shot the cover of the first Crosby, Stills & Nash album. (see PopSpots #36)

Here's the PopSpot.

And finally, here's Joe Butler being photographed by Micky Dolenz of the Monkees. They are on Greenwich Avenue (at the intersection of Charles Street) behind the playground of P.S. 41 (where son Nick, above, and his sisters went) in Greenwich Village. (i.e. so it was pretty easy to figure out.)

P.S. 41 playground in Greenwich Village.

Joe Butler being photographed by Micky Dolenz of the Monkees.

Here's the video of SUMMER IN THE CITY that was partly filmed on Riverside Drive, as mentioned above. If, at first, you see a black box with text, click "WATCH ON YOU TUBE" and you will be taken to YouTube to view the video.

So long. Believe in Magic!


This shot came from the back cover of the album, DO YOU BELIVE IN MAGIC.

Here's where it was shot on Minetta Lane in Greenwich Village.

And here's where the past meets the present.


Zal Yanovsky sits along Minetta Lane.

Here's where he was sitting. (There was an iron fence there before being replaced by the cement wall.)

The Zal PopSpot.


The band against the wall on Minetta Lane.

(photo by Dave Gahr)

The wall, which is just to the left of the back entrance to the Cafe Wha?

Just like yesterday. Do you believe in magic?

(inside photo by Dave Gahr)


This photo is taken on Minetta Street which is perpendicular to Minetta Lane.

Here's the bend in Minetta Lane outside of Panchito's, which, in the early 1960's was called The Commons, and was where Bob Dylan wrote "Blowin' in the Wind."

And the resulting PopSpot.