Bird House

Bird House

In the early Fifties, jazz saxophone great Charlie Parker (“Bird”) lived at 151 Avenue B, across from Tompkins Square Park in New York’s East Village, with Chan Richardson and their children. Chan remembered:

“Yeah, we lived opposite Tompkin Square Park and Bird, a lot of Ukrainians, some gypsies, Hassidic Jews, and Bird used to hang out at the neighborhood bars and nobody knew who he was. I mean that he was Charlie Parker, you know. Well, they knew his name, but they didn’t know he was Bird, and they just called him Charlie, and he would go down the bar with the other old Ukrainian guys and hanging out and and then he’d come home and bring home Kaboshi. You know (laughing). He fit in wherever he went.”

— Chan Parker, interviewed by Ken Burns, May, 1998

There is a Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Tompkins Square Park each summer.


“Chan Parker,”



Photos by Mike Licht. Download copies here and here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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