Lifestyle: A New York City Tale


Today is the anniversary of my move from Manhattan to the Bronx in 1956. It is a very clear remembrance as if it happened yesterday.

I was 5 about to turn 6 , the climate was wet, cold and nasty. I was sick and wondered what the new neighborhood was going to bring to my young life. The apartment on 201 W. 84 street was empty of all furniture, bleak and uninviting.

My parents and I were waiting for a taxi to take us to the new abode. The cab came and I was wrapped in an old army blanket for the trip. We sat in the back seat , I looked out the window clueless what this meant to my life. I noticed the wet streets, people walking with their umbrellas which did a poor job of protecting them as it was pretty windy.

The cab made it through the local streets to the Westside Highway which is totally different from what it is today. I looked at the east side of the road going past the buildings, factories and unknown addresses. The Westside Highway back in 1956 was the accepted method to make the trip to the Bronx but I did not know that, my job was to sit in the back of the cab and look out.

My parents talked about what I do not know but I remember not saying anything but just observing. I do not remember if I was scared, or anxious but more likely just baffled about this turn in my life. We drove on going north and eventually getting off the highway, driving across upper Manhattan to the Bronx.

Nelson avenue was the new block, a quiet residential street,primarily lined with walk up apartment buildings. Very few buildings had elevators as they were not required if the building had 5 stories or less.

My new residence was a building with an identical partner across a courtyard that separated each structure, 1691 and 1693 Nelson ave. The apartment we were now going to live in was the first residence from the entrance and overlooked the courtyard.

There was no furniture yet as the movers were scheduled to show up several hours later. I still had my blanket, we had one chair in the house and waited. I looked out the window which featured Nelson Ave and watched the cars drive by. As it was a day after Christmas, traffic was sparse and I still was not feeling well. All I could do is wait and see what life would bring . In a soon to be 6 year old’s mind, it was mostly a moment by moment existence, deep thoughts were not usually happening.

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