Something amazing happened the last time we were in New York!
Louis Armstrong invited us over for dinner!!!!
No, I'm not delusional.
No, I'm not making it up.
It happened and I've got the photos to prove it!
You see, Louis Armstrong's home in Corona, Queens has been preserved as a museum- The Louis Armstrong House Museum. Which means, dinner with Satchmo can be a reality.
The museum, Louis Armstrong's former home, has been left virtually untouched after the death of his wife Lucille.
A brilliant gem of history, the Louis Armstrong House Museum features artifacts from his life including his extensive collection of audio recordings which chronicle moments from his life.
On the ground floor, you have what feels like a traditional museum- pictures, instruments, memorabilia, a short film.
But once you round the corner and head upstairs an entirely different experience awaits you. Led by a tour guide, you're brought from room to room in the Armstrong's home.
In each room of the house, audio recordings are played and images are shown of the Armstrong's in that room.
The tour (no photos allowed) was so vivid. His clothes were still hung in the closet, the bed had the same duvet and pillows from when the couple was alive. Lucille's hairbrush remained as always on her vanity and Louis' liquor cabinet in the corner of his study remained half-full.
The recordings ranged from a practice session in Louis Armstrong's study to my favorite...
The recording in the kitchen during a dinner party the Armstrong's hosted. Here Louis himself, invited us to have a seat at the dinner table to try some of Lucille's famous baked beans.
It felt incredibly intimate.
You see, Louis Armstrong always had a vision of his home being a place where people gathered. When he and his wife were alive, they welcomed neighborhood children and expanded their backyard into something of a park-like oasis for entertaining.
In death, it was his wish for his home to continue to welcome folks, to be a place where people could gather, listen to good music and feel a sense of community.
After all, it was through being so open and in having a true desire to connect with people that he came up with the celebrated lyrics to "Wonderful World."
The magic is still there!
One feels Louis' warmth and presence the moment they enter.
And when I walked away, I was grateful to have had the experience of being invited to Louis Armstrong's house for dinner. It was once in a lifetime!
34-56 107th Street
Corona (Queens), NY