The Princess and the Belafonte


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November 24, 1960, Vol. VI, No. 5

Royal Invasion at Bank St. School

By Mary Perot Nichols

The visit by a royal princess to the Bank Street School last week did not faze the 3-year-olds a bit. David Belafonte, Harry’s son, kept right on pommeling clay, and a little girl with a pigtail industriously went on with her dish washing as Sweden’s Princess Desiree walked into the first classroom, followed by a swarm of photographers and reporters.

As the Princess, herself a nursery-school teacher, went from younger classes to older classes, the interest of the children in the small-scale invasion rose modestly.

A 4-year-old boy named Roger, playing on the roof, asked: “What’s a princess?”, then kicked the boy next to him on the jungle-jim. Another youngster pushing a large block through a mass of photographers, shouted: “Get out of my way.”

…Dr. John Niemeyer, president of the Bank Street College of Education, explained to The Voice that the reason the Princess had ben brought to the school was because it was the one school in America that she had expressed a desire to see.

Greenwich Village’s Bank Street is a noted experimental school for children which recently received a million-dollar grant from the National Institute of Mental Health for research.

As the royal pedagogue left the school for a waiting limousine she was overheard confessing to a reporter: “My favorite things are Sinatra, Belafonte, and the color red.”

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