Published December 7, 1941


Plastered from HARLEM as seen by hirschfeld


Here is a Hirschfeld take on an uptown Manhattan after-hours reveler who may be on her way back outside from one of those legendary rent party shindigs where, along with the most fantastic stride (i.e. eastern Ragtime) piano music in the world, the menu featured down-home recipe pig’s foot and bottled beer.

Or maybe the venue this time was one or maybe even a sequence of gin mills, cozy hole-in-the-wall sip, snack, and jive joints mainly along and between Lenox and St. Nicholas Avenues from, say, 125th Street. On up towards Sugar Hill, where during the Prohibition Era, the joy juice was served under the counter, or (especially in ballrooms) shared from a hip pocket flask by an old friends or would-be friends and/or dancing partner.

Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, not unlike many other blues divas and red hot mamas, boasted that when they were “in their gin” they became so “sent” (i.e. ecstatic) that they didn’t care about anything but the good times they were having.

But Hirschfeld’s somewhat over-indulged reveler who is ever so obviously weak in the knees and ankles has not crushed her elegantly plumed hat, and she knows precisely where her purse is!

As for the ever so patient cop, he has not taken her into custody; he’s taking her home if she lives in his precinct and to a cab or bus if she lives elsewhere. After all, a good uptown cop in those good old days knew that good business was good for his precinct. Nor did his civic pride go unacknowledged by the local business establishment.

-Albert L. Murray

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