Woody Guthrie moved to 3520 Mermaid Ave. in November, 1943. Along with his wife Marjorie Mazia – a dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company - and his daughter Cathy Ann, they lived in Apt. 1R, a $35 dollar a month one bedroom apartment with a stair down to the backyard. Their sons Arlo and Joady, and daughter Nora, were also born here, where they lived for the next seven years.

The Guthrie family moved to Coney Island to be near Marjorie’s parents – Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt and Isadore Greenblatt who lived in Sea Gate. However, Marjorie always enjoyed joking that it was because Woody truly loved the beach – this great expanse of sand – which inspired nostalgic memories of his Dust Bowl years in Oklahoma and Texas! Here in Coney Island, Woody was introduced to a multi-cultural feast of languages, religions, cultures and yes, even foods! From hot dogs to blintzes, from lox and bagels to hot Mexican Chili, from sweet and sour meatballs to chop suey, Woody imbibed all the flavors and spices of Coney Island life into his lyrics, short stories, prose, novels and diary entries. Mermaid Ave he wrote, “Where all colors of good folks meet”.

Not surprisingly, the songs Woody Guthrie wrote here reflected the palate of humanity that surrounded him daily; from the classics “Deportee” and “1913 Massacre”  to his Jewish history & Hanukkah inspired songs like “Happy Joyous Hanuka”, to his beloved children’s songs like “Riding In My Car” and Howji Do”, over 150 of his songs written here have been recorded by artists in all genres – from folk, to punk, jazz and rock.

This apartment has now become Woody’s best known home, in part because this is where the “ramblin’ dust bowl balladeer” actually stayed put for the longest period of time in his life – 7 years! From 1943 to 1950. But also because it became the title of the acclaimed 1996 Grammy nominated album “Mermaid Avenue” by rockers Billy Bragg and Wilco.

The Guthrie family on Coney Island beach

In 1950, the folk group The Weavers, led by Woody’s close friend Pete Seeger, recorded Woody’s song “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Yuh” and the Guthrie family was able to move into a larger apartment in Brighton Beach. Little did Woody know at the time that the apartment complex – Beach Haven - was built and managed by Fred Trump, and on discovering their racially discriminating policy, Woody raged against “Old Man Trump” in a number of his lyrics. They soon moved out of the Beach Haven apartment.

And thus, to this day, the family’s memories of life on Mermaid Avenue have become even the more sweeter, the more heartfelt, and the more soulful. Woody and Marjorie Guthrie ashes were thrown into the ocean just down the street, by the rock jetty where the family spent so much of their life. It is a shrine to many. As Coney Island is, and now Mermaid Avenue will be, to all New Yorkers.



1913 Massacre
Against Th' Law
All Work Together
All You Fascists
Baltimore To Washington
Been Out On An Ocean Trip
Belle Starr
Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done
Birds and Ships
Black Wind Blowing
Blinding Of Isaac Woodward
Blubber My Gum
Born To Win
Buffalo Skinners
Bugeye Jim
Build Me A World
Build My House
Cadillac Eight
Come See
Come When I Call You
Dance Around My Atom Fire
Dead Or Alive
Dear Mrs. Roosevelt
Dig A Hole
Don't You Push Me Down
Dying Miner
Eisler On The Go
Farmer-Labor Train
Fastest Of Ponies
Feed Of Man
Gonna Get Through This World
Goodnight Little Arlo
Grassy Grow
Hannuka's Flame
Hanuka Bell
Hanuka Dance
Hanuka Gelt
Hanuka Time
Hanuka Tree
Harriet Tubman
Headdy Down
Hezitatin' Beauty
Hoodoo Voodoo
Hour Cometh, The
How Joo Do?
I Gotta Go Down
I Like To Stay Home With Daddy
Ilsa Koch
I'm Shipping Up To Boston
It's A Wrinkled, Crumpled, Rumpled Look
I've Got To Know
Jackhammer John
Jesus Christ
Jigalong Home
Joe DiMaggio Done It Again
Just One More Time
Little Bird
Little Curly Head
Little Sacka Sugar
Los Gatos Plane Wreck
Ludlow Massacre
Mail Myself To You
Make A Blubble
Many & The Few, The
Me Yellow Crayon
Meanest Man
Miner's Kids And Wives
Mother Sing Again
My Dolly
My Little Seed
My New York City
My Rolling Ocean
Needle Song
Ninety Mile Wind
Pick It Up
Put Your Finger In The Air
Race You Down The Mountain
Ranger's Command
Remember The Mountain Bed
Revolutionary Mind
Riding In My Car
Roll On Little Ocean
Sleep Eye
Sleepy Eyes
Someday Some Morning Sometime
Swimmy Swim Swim
Talkin' Sailor (aka. Talkin' Merchant Marine)
Talkin Subway Blues
Talking Fishing Blues
Talking Meaness
Talking Miner
Tea Bag Blues
Ticky Tock
Tip Tap Toe
Union Feelin (circa)
Union Train
Veedee Blues
Walt Whitmans Niece
Warden Of The Skies
Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key
When The Yanks Go Marching In
Woman At Home
You Better Get Ready

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