Passage: Two soaring spirits

It happened this past week ... the loss of two virtuosos at making people’s spirits soar.

        
Hugh Hardy
was an architect who renewed and restored many of New York City’s best known landmarks. With his own flair for theatricality, he made the faded New Amsterdam and New Victory Theatres near Times Square truly new again.

And most famously perhaps, Hardy restored the fabled Radio City Music Hall to its original luster, explaining to Rita Braver back in 1999 why he didn’t think of trying to alter its Art Deco-era design:

“Because nothing could be better than the building in 1932,” he said. “Nobody could be so arrogant as to think they can improve Radio City.  It can’t be done!”

His other projects ranged from the very large to the very small -- from the creation of a huge dining and market space in the vaults under Manhattan’s 59th Street Bridge, to the strikingly-angled reconstruction of a Greenwich Village townhouse destroyed by a radical group’s bomb in 1970.

And let’s not forget his vast outdoor project -- the restoration of Midtown Manhattan’s Bryant Park, once a notorious home for drug dealers:

Braver asked Hardy in 1999: “What are you trying to achieve here?

“Exactly what you see. Everybody together in the heart of the city.”

Architect Hugh Hardy was 84.


     
James Cotton was a master of the blues harmonica.

Born in the Mississippi Delta, Cotton began playing on the streets for money while still a young child.

He went on to perform with such greats as Muddy Waters, before going out on his own as the leader of the James Cotton Blues Band.

All told, James Cotton recorded nearly 30 albums, including his most recent, “Cotton Mouth Man,” in 2013, which went on to win a Grammy nomination.

James Cotton was 81.

To hear James Cotton perform “Midnight Train,” click on the player below.

James Cotton - Midnight Train (Cotton Mouth Man 2013) by nakovski1992 on YouTube