Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yorkville Melodies Turn Into Satin

Our Town & the West Side Spirit published my story on the history of Doo-wop on the Upper East Side.

In the mid 50s' the Yorkville Melodies sung on the corner of 87th Street & York Avenue. They led to the creation of a group called The Del-Satins ~ these Yorkville men harmonized and sung on some of the greatest records of all time. The Del-Satins went on to a terrific career and are still singing together 50 years later. Their show on May 13th @ St. Stephen's of Hungary is a sellout.

"Yorkville Melodies Turn Into Satin"

“Barbara, Kronks!” I said turning to mom's youngest sister working the stroller and me down the long York Avenue stoop. It was June 1958, Barbara was 19, I was four. Barbara loved me better than a sandwich loaded with mayo, but she had a second reason for taking us gallivanting: Teen boys loved teen girls pushing carriages. I was bait. To get Barbara’s attention the guys had to go through me, and these were rough nice guys on the corner of 87th Street and York Avenue. In Kronk’s Soda Fountain shop, I’d get pretzels and egg creams on the cuff while the boys tried to impress Barbara. “Please don’t tell your mother, Tommy,” Barbara begged on the way home. Later, Mom asked, “Why aren’t you eating your hamburger? It’s your favorite!” “I don’t know,” I lied, not wanting to drop a dime on Barbara. Mom looked at my bloated belly and called her parents. “Mom, put Barbara on the phone... a moment later… What the hell did I tell you about loading him up with crap right before dinner?”

But it didn’t matter; Mom let Barbara walk me over to Kronk’s anytime she liked. Mom needed the break. My younger brother, Rory and I were unified on only one thing, torturing adults. No relative would babysit the two of us together in their own house. Anytime, Mom needed to go out and she couldn’t find a willing babysitter to come to us, she had to work the phone to get two separate relatives to take us in.

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