Back in the days in my neighborhood of Washington Heights, you always heard or knew of either a block party or a park jam going on somewhere. However, there was one in particular that took place every year in the most unusual of areas. "The Riverside Jam" as it was called, was nestled along the Hudson River down by the Amtrak Rail right near the Little Red Lighthouse & the tennis courts. These "Jams" were set up annually from the early 80's until sometime in the mid 1990's. Unfortunately, since there were never any permits for these parties the police started to shut them down after a while, so it's hard to determine when they actually stopped doing them.
The Riverside Jam always took place in the summertime, and usually lasted until daybreak. There were several ways of getting there, the most common way was to walk down from Haven Ave. & 176th street. Flourescent arrows were spray painted on the floors as a guide to follow, directing you to the jam. The anticipation while walking the path was fun & exciting to say the least, especially when you started to hear the music before even reaching the locale. Once you crossed the Amtrak overpass, you were there.
Imagine... DJ's spinning music blaring through giant home-made speakers in a park area practically right under the George Washington Bridge. No apartment buildings or residents to worry about, so no one to complain about the loud music, and no cops to shut it down. It was dope! These were some of the greatest parties i've ever been to, and some of the best times of my teenage years.
Although I don't recall any negative incidents ever occurring during any of these parties, I'm pretty sure what began garnishing the attention of the authorities was the fact that people started driving their cars to the jam, gaining access from a walking path that starts at 158th sreet. After a while, The Riverside Jam ceased to exist. Several attempts have been made to revive it since, the best of them was a jam thrown by Nocturnal Productions in the early '90's. However, the location was different from the original, and even though this party was still good, it was "legal", meaning there were permits and time constraints. ...It just wasn't the same.
I always think back to those parties and how much fun they were, especially when I hear some of the songs that used to get played at these jams. It just takes me to a special place, and the music will be forever imprinted in my soul. With this in mind, i've put together a digitally Mixed CD inspired by the very same music of these parties... The Riverside Jam. Just click this title or the photo below to download the CD in zip.file format, complete with an iTunes playlist. 34 tracks of old school music; Electronica, Funk, Hip Hop, Reggae, Freestyle & House.
Enjoy the CD, and please let me know what you think.