The man, later identified as Fred Goreham, 72, was apparently panhandling near the Symphony Space at Broadway and 95th Street, where Seeger has been performing with Arlo Guthrie and others. Someone spotted Goreham and yelled "Look, it's Pete Seeger!" A crowd formed around him immediately."We were like, this is so cool, he's like a legend!" recalled P.J. Franks, 22, of Queens, who was marching next to the man he thought was Seeger. "Although it seemed odd that he didn't seem to know the words to any of the songs we were singing."
According to several people who were there, the crowd started up spontaneous versions of Down By The Riverside and We Shall Not Be Moved, but "Seeger" kept singing the lyrics to Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.
"He also kept asking if anyone had any muscatel," recalled protester Amy Weinberg, 24, of Oyster Bay. "We just thought he must have been parched."
The crowd of about 600, including several who joined in from the Occupy Locker Room NBA labor protest, apparently followed Goreham from 95th Street all the way down to Columbus Circle, eventually touching on a song "Seeger" seemed to know, This Land is Your Land.
"But after he sang This land is your land, this land is my land, he just keep going, This land is her land, this land is his land, this land is whose land ... and pointing at random people in the crowd," said Franks, who had handed the old man his guitar. "He strummed it a few times, but then he began sort of humping it. It was very awkward."