Friday, October 7, 2011

Yorkville Now & Then: 84th Street

84th Street: Now and Then ~ Reasons I liked 84th Street as a kid: through an alley door right off York on the south side of the street, I could sneak into the backyards and make my way to my grandmother’s apartment house. One day, I borrowed a couple of milk boxes in back of Parkers Grocery and stood high enough to reach the fire escape ladder. I climbed to the second floor and slipped in my grandmother’s open kitchen window. As I was getting my second leg inside I tripped and fell on the linoleum floor. My grandmother rushed out of the telephone booth sized toilet pulling up her undies and nearly had a baby when she saw me on the floor. She rushed over slapped my face and said, “only hopheads and drunks come through the window.” I didn’t do that again. I also loved 84th Street because I got my new sneakers in Melincoffs on the corner of York, and that was a great spot for Walter Cronkite sightings. He lived in 519.

Only one reason I wasn’t nuts about 84th Street. Here’s that memory.

Christmas morning, 1961, got my first real bike. Dad lined us up before my inaugural ride ~ me, with a goofy ass face with cousin, Bobby, and brother, Rory, in front of the Old Timers Tavern on York Avenue & 83rd Street.

Immediately after the photo, I wobbled around York and down 84th Street towards East End Avenue. Ida Bodner jumped off the curb to avoid being struck. Her sister-in-law, Irene, did an awkward but effective cha-cha move to barely escape my drunken lurch.

I continued down 84th Street unimpeded, enjoying the hill at the bottom, I picked up speed and crashed into the brown mailbox on the corner, went over to my left in a heap, and landed in a large pile of dog crap.

I walked the bike up 83rd Street to my house and presented myself to Mom for clean-up. Dad waited 20 minutes on York Avenue for my return, puzzled, he went up my grandmother's apartment, called Mom, and get the good news.

Here is a link to an 84th Street Photo Album.


Anonymous said...

From '49 to '53 played stickball against the 84th st. team between 2nd and 3rd ave..the Henley brothers.I played with the 91st st. team.Ocasionally we played on 76th from York towards East river drive.Thanks for the memories.Joe Conlon

Thomas Pryor said...

Thank you, Joe, perhaps you knew my Dad, Bob Pryor, from 83rd St or my uncle, Mickey Fiorillo, from 84th St?

They hung out in Loftus and the Old Timers Tavern Thanks for reading my stuff, Tommy

petee said...

fascinating! before my time though, which started on 84th street in 1957.