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Throwback Thursday: A Lion in Greenwich Village, NYC, 1968

August 21, 2014

This week, we are all about animals once again.

But this time we’re delving into the personal collection of Rob Hoffman, PPP’s founding partner.

Rob grew up in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood of New York City that has become associated with everything chic – from Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City” to the ultra-hip Meatpacking District.

About 45 years ago, however, it wasn’t all fashion boutiques and five-star restaurants.

Back in the 50s, an army war veteran named Barney started rehabilitating dogs in a storefront on Christopher Street. Shortly afterwards, at some undetermined date, he took over a nearby vacant plot of land and opened a pony stable designed to teach city kids how to ride horses.

Only it wasn’t just a pony stable. Barney would often house other animals. Such as goats. Monkeys. And in 1968, a lion cub named Lulubelle.

Filmed by Rob’s father in June 1968, the Super 8 conversion displayed below shows a visit to Barney’s stable by  Rob, Rob’s mother and his little sister Alex. Among the highlights: The screaming monkey. The goat eating trash. Barney throwing day-old bagels into the corral to feed the horses. And of course Lulubelle, who in the course of the film is petted by Rob, gets bottle-fed by her handler and wanders around on her own in the corral and on the sidewalk.

Just a short time after this movie was made, Barney was forced to close his stable and move it up to the adjacent borough of the Bronx. His efforts at bringing the country to the big city did not go unrecognized, however. In 1971, Hollywood released a movie starring Jack Klugman (The Odd Couple, Quincy) called “Who Says I Can’t Ride A Rainbow?” . Though long forgotten and apparently unavailable, the film is notable as the big-screen debut of Morgan Freeman.

Barney is said to have died shortly after the movie was released. And we don’t know what happened to Lulubelle. But we have the memories, captured on celluloid and in some of the Kodachrome slides we scanned of Rob and Lulubelle and posted below.

CyberViewX v5.16.15Model Code=47F/W Version=1.12
CyberViewX v5.16.15Model Code=47F/W Version=1.12
CyberViewX v5.16.15Model Code=47F/W Version=1.12

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