As an enthusiast for almost all of Shepherd’s creative works, I nevertheless believe that his first years in New York City were the great expansion/blossoming of his artistic life. He seems to have been waiting for the moment when he could arrive in the city, which was famed for being the center of the country’s–and the world’s–creative life at that time. Describing its importance to him in two of his broadcasts, he said:
Three of them looked at me with one eye, and all three of them said, “If you go anywhere, man, the only one place to go–New York! I mean the Big Apple–that’s the big time!…I looked at the three guys and I said, “You’re right!” Ohhh.
I was in the East. The effete East. The East of golden promise. what was it that Thomas Wolfe used to call Manhattan? “The Enfabled Rock.” And I was here. I mean we’re all here. Do you realize how–how fortunate we are?….You have no idea what a terrible lure this place is to people who live outside of this place.
This is not to necessarily say that this was the height of his artistic achievement, but it certainly was a great time for him. A few years ago I made a chart noting what he had done in those first years. Think about it!:
(Click on images to enlarge)