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.