Town Hall to CBGB to the subway platforms

But for Daphne, it was all just one career move. She did what she wanted to do, and did it for a very long time, and then she stopped.

Daphne Bayne Hellman, the jazz harpist who performed around the world and for three decades at the Village Gate but who had a special affection for playing on subway platforms, died on Sunday at a nursing home in Manhattan. She was 86.

Ms. Hellman, who had played on the streets of Paris at a music fair as recently as June, was recuperating from injuries suffered in a fall last month near her town house on East 61st Street, her family said.


"She was just the antisnob, that's what she was," said Art D'Lugoff, who owned the Village Gate, where Ms. Hellman and her trio, Hellman's Angels, played every Tuesday for 30 years when she was in town. It was one of the longest nightclub runs in the city's history.

"She had money and she knew a lot of people and she got along with everybody," said Mr. D'Lugoff, whose club closed in 1994.


Her cluttered East Side town house, usually full of boarders, birds, dogs and litters of gerbils, served as the base for a kind of floating salon. And she was its musical Zelig, whose close friends included, besides Mr. Spoons, the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., the artist Saul Steinberg and the writer Norman Mailer.

One of her long-term musical collaborators marvelled, "She loved to do whatever she knew you weren't supposed to do."

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Published on August 8, 2002 7:29 PM.

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