Jackie Robinson Park and Pool - Photo #53 - WPA Bandshell and dance area

Photo:  Frank da Cruz, July 29, 2018.
The Jackie Robinson Park bandshell and outdoor dance terrace, built by the WPA and opened in 1937 [9]. Until about the mid-1940s there were free weekly WPA Orchestra dance concerts here. In fact Colonial Park (the orginal name of Jackie Robinson Park) had its own ensemble: The Colonial Negro Dance Orchestra of the WPA Federal Music Project, which performed at the opening ceremony which turned into a big dance party. And the Harlem Community Chorus performed the Negro National Anthem. Aside from the regular concerts, big name orchestras gave dance concerts here and at other major NYC parks in the 1940s: Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway, Clyde Lucas, Don Wilson*, Ray Kinney, Jimmy Dorsey, Charlie Spivak, Claude Thornhill, to name some. Also there were performances by the WPA Trailer Marionette Theater as well as the WPA Federal Theatre Project: drama, comedy, Shakespeare... plus performances by the Federal Dance Theatre and the Negro Theatre Unit of the Federal Theatre Project ("Voodoo Macbeth"). In the 1960s, free performances were given here by the Harlem Opera Society.
* Who normally played at the Renaissance Ballroom, and who would be my children's great-great uncle.