Saturday, May 15, 2010

West Side Story

Here's a great article by John Podhoretz about Manhattan's Upper West Side in the 1960s and 1970s. I learned a lot from it. Walking those streets today, it's hard to imagine the scenes and events Podhoretz describes.

7 Comments:

Anonymous KAIMU said...

ALOHA!!

I did have a connection to New York City in the 60s and 70s as well. My Uncle lived on E 69th and I lived out at City Island for six months in 1974 repairing a 85ft blue water sloop for some California exec who wanted it transported from NYC to Marina DelRey through the Panama Canal. Interesting times then at that marina living on a dry dock. So many yachts moored there owned by wealthy NYC businessmen. On the weekends these "businessmen" would come out and visit their toys. I used to party with one of Walter Cronkite's daughters, so that's the types that were there. Traveling from City Island to Manhattan where my Uncle's office was in the garment district was quite an eye opening experience. My recollections of the Bronx looked like a war zone with the same crumbling buildings you saw in WW2 photos of bombed out London or Berlin. Except for commuting from one wealthy area, City Island and Oyster Bay, to another on E 69th I never really saw the West Side as it was then mainly due to my Uncle. I never got mugged or even heard of "Charlie Chop Off" until now.

When Podhoretz mentioned HAIR and the Cowsills it brought back my memory of HAIR which was to have my Uncle's chauffeur drive my brother and I to the Broadway show, stop out front, be escorted in past the crowds standing in line and deposited three rows back from center stage with a pizza in our laps. My brother and I were literally the only people sitting there in the entire theater. It was about an hour before they let anyone else in.

My family, my Mother and Father were not wealthy, but my Uncle was and fabulously so. Yet I was actually embarrassed by that whole HAIR "thingy" I went through. I was not used to such treatment and I had no idea my Uncle had that much clout on Broadway, but "Mr. Beene", as he was called, had a lot of clout in NYC in those heady days.

My point is that wealth and fame can blind you to a lot of "reality". How far is it from E 69th to W 69th? Not far, yet in the 60s and 70s that Podhoretz describes they seemed light years away compared to my memories of NYC then. I never had to see any of the West side horror and nobody I knew then in NYC, especially my Uncle, wanted me to see it. The view from my Uncle's apartment on E 69th or his mansion at Oyster Bay or his summer house in Capri must be the exact same view from Wall Street and the White House ...

5/15/2010 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...

"My point is that wealth and fame can blind you to a lot of "reality"."

This is true. And it is something I try to keep in mind whenever I start to hate the rich.

5/17/2010 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Goldhorder said...

Lol... You guys gonna have a sympathy party for the sociopaths? I'm sure they r a product of their environment! If i were u... Other than buying gold and silver.... I would stick to hating the rich. I guarantee you the biggest fear they have is some sort of focused anger towards their plundering and destruction of the capital of this country.

5/17/2010 9:40 PM  
Anonymous bill in cali said...

Is anyone home ?

5/28/2010 6:08 PM  
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7/08/2010 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

What you're writing is a terrible blunder.

5/26/2011 4:28 PM  

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