Then & Now
West Point cadets and the sex-and-drug ’60s; IBM, Luckey Platt, and ice harvesters; airports, bridges, and those famous ferries. Join us for a look back at the last 100 years of Valley history
(page 9 of 20)
Photograph © Peter Aaron. Bard College Archives, on-line at www.hrvh.org
Then: Students at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson fully embraced the free-spirited zeitgeist of the 1960s, and Peter Aaron, a class of ’68 graduate with a budding love for photography, was there to catalogue it all. “The kids pretty much looked like the cast of Hair,” Aaron laughs. (He snapped the photo below with a timer, and is pictured seated on the left.) Surprisingly, he says that Bard’s campus — widely regarded as one of the most liberal in the country — wasn’t particularly active when it came to protesting the Vietnam War. “But we were acutely aware of the culture of drugs, sex, and rock ’n roll,” he admits. One controversial campus drug bust — spearheaded by then-Dutchess County assistant district attorney (and future Watergate burglar) G. Gordon Liddy — resulted in the arrest of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, two Bard students who would later form the jazz/rock band Steely Dan. Aaron knew Fagen and Becker, as well as classmate Chevy Chase, who pulled pranks, impersonated friends, and “seemed destined for fame” even then. In fact, Fagen, Becker, and Chase (on drums) performed on stage several times together as the Leather Canary during their time at Bard.
Now: Some things never change: Bard earned this year’s top spot on Princeton Review’s list of marijuana-loving campuses, and was ranked the second most liberal campus in the country in 2005. Rabble-rousers Chase, Fagen, and Becker went on to find mainstream success in their respective careers. Comedian Chase starred on Saturday Night Live and in movies like National Lampoon Family Vacation and Caddyshack; Fagen and Becker have sold more than 30 million albums and won several Grammy awards. Their 1973 single “My Old School” includes the lyrics “California tumbles into the sea/That’ll be the day I go/Back to Annandale.” Against his word, however, Fagen returned to the school in 1984 to receive an honorary doctorate in the arts. As for Aaron, the former physics major is now an architectural photographer based in New York City, and says he remains in touch with Chase to this day.
Next: Vassar College
Click on any image below to view more historic photos from 'round the Valley