When I think about my old hometown of Yonkers, New York, or return to visit my family still living there – usually crossing the Hudson on the Tappan Zee Bridge and making landfall at Tarrytown, hometown of Rip Van Winkle — I somehow come unstuck in time, like Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim.

Henry Hudson’s ship is anchored off Yonkers, right where the Nepperhan Creek drains into the Hudson River. At the nearby Yonkers post office, an anonymous clerk is showing up for work – he’s David Berkowitz by day, Son of Sam by night. A talking dog barks and Gene Krupa’s hands blur as he plays his drums in his Park Hill mansion while down the hill on School Street a young girl named Ella Fitzgerald snaps her fingers to the beat. Forty years later, the School Street tenements are gone, replaced by two high-rise public housing towers, and a little boy named Earl Simmons gazes out of a window and twenty years later becomes the rapper DMX. An Otis elevator drops down from the clouds and the Musak plays “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot” by DMX and out of the elevator struts James Cagney, a Yonkers boy, dressed as George M. Cohan as Yankee Doodle Dandy in a red, white and blue top hat. He’s arm in arm with Linda Lovelace, also a Yonkers girl.  They walk down to the train station, across from the post office, and join the thousands of Yonkers residents who watch and weep as Abraham Lincoln’s funeral cortege passes slowly through, and I’m in the crowd, and Sousa’s band is playing a dirge, and just then I hear a splash – my great-uncle Thomas Crooks is being pulled out a vat of acid by his fellow workers at the old Alexander Smith carpet mill.

The men wrap Thomas in burlap and carry him up the hill to the old St. Joseph’s Hospital – just two blocks away from the Mulford Gardens housing project, where thirty years later I live as a boy and look out from our third-floor window at the city’s crowded hills and dozens of church spires and the gilded dome of City Hall and the dark Palisades cliffs across the Hudson in New Jersey and, shimmering in the distance, the lights of the Empire State Building and the George Washington Bridge.  As I look out my Mulford Gardens window, I see the other mill workers who have rushed up the Palmer Road hill to fetch Thomas’ mother – Anna Crooks, my great-grandmother on my mother’s side. Anna arrives at St. Joseph’s hospital and embraces her burned and dying son. Thomas dies. His skin is red and blistered and peeling off like tissue paper. He’s just twenty-three years old.

I’m twelve years old and I’m a delivery boy for the local daily newspaper, the Yonkers Herald Statesman. The bundle of papers is dropped at the usual corner, a block up from the corner of Palmer Road where the Crooks home stands to this day.  I take one newspaper out of the bundle to read (the customers on my route always complain that their papers come late – now they know why). One headline says MAN WALKS ON MOON. Another says FAREWELL TO LINCOLN. Another says CARPET MILL TO CLOSE. Another says SON OF SAM CAPTURED. Another says MAN HAS PREMONITION OF OWN DEATH. The last headline gets my attention. The article describes how young Thomas Crooks had met his unnamed fiancé for a picnic lunch under a tree at the beautiful old Oakland Cemetery, located across from the carpet mill. According to the article, the work whistle sounded at the mill, and Thomas started to return to work. But “before returning to work, Mr. Crooks turned to her and said, ‘I am going in. But I shall be carried out.’ “ Fifteen minutes later came my ancestor’s dive into that acid bath. The newspaper article described my great-grandmother’s arrival at the hospital, just in time for her young son’s death. This is the last sentence of the newspaper article: “Mrs. Crooks was burned about the face as she continually kissed her dying son.”

Anna Crooks, mother of Thomas, was my mother’s grandmother. My mother remembers that her Grandma Crooks had tiny scars all around her lips. My mother never knew why her grandmother had those scars until I found a 1928 clipping of that old Yonkers Herald Statesman article. The clipping was tucked into an old family Bible. “They were scars,” I told my mother. “But they were really birthmarks.”

When I visit Yonkers, I see ghosts everywhere I look. They stroll down the street carrying parasols. They drive fast cars past the strip malls along Central Avenue. They sit in the grandstands and watch the sulkies at Yonkers Raceway. They haunt each and every one of Yonkers’ seven hills. Oakland Cemetery is still there, and it’s filled with ghosts. It’s still hauntingly beautiful – wooded, with narrow curving roads winding around the old graves and monuments. It would be a good place to have a picnic lunch with your girlfriend. Oakland Cemetery is hemmed in by the Saw Mill River Parkway to the east, by the tenements of the old Slavic neighborhood to the east (where the onion dome of the Orthodox church testifies to a bygone day), and by the old carpet mill building to the west. It’s not a carpet mill anymore – the Alexander Smith company closed shop years ago, moved to the South for its cheaper labor, and the huge, sprawling, looming buildings, which stretch for blocks along the Nepperhan and Saw Mill River roads, now house smaller businesses and warehouse stores and even some artists’ studios.

My maternal great-grandparents and grandparents are buried at Oakland Cemetery. So are two victims of the sinking of the Titanic, Alex and Charity Robins. So is a Yonkers physician named Dr. Charles Leale.  Will wonders never cease? No, they will never cease. It is a world of wonders.

Dr. Leale of Yonkers just happened to be working in Washington for the government in 1865 and just happened to be attending the performance at Ford’s Theater when John Wilkes Booth just happened to shoot and kill Abraham Lincoln; Leale was the first physician to arrive at the side of the mortally wounded president, and Leale took charge of the initial efforts to save Lincoln’s life. The grave of Dr. Leale is located within shouting distance of the grave of Thomas Crooks, who abides in the Crooks family plot a few hundred feet from the wrought-iron gate at the entrance to the cemetery, and I have a photograph of his gravestone. I wonder if  Uncle Thomas and Dr. Charles and the good doctor have any good late-night chats.

Revolutionary War troops march through Yonkers along Mile Square Road. My Italian grandfather takes his young grandson to his second home, the St. Cosmo and St. Damien Club on lower Park Hill, where he plays cards and drinks shots of anisette. The steamer Henry Clay burns and sinks in the river off Yonkers, killing dozens – including the young sister of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Edward Hopper sets up his easel in Getty Square, the old downtown business district. Now, it’s referred to as Ghetto Square. A stagecoach pulls up in front of the old Getty Hotel. The stage coach becomes a trolley. The trolley becomes a bus. Out of the bus step Edgar Allan Poe (who visited Yonkers) the English poet John Masefield (who worked at the carpet mill), the cast of “Hello, Dolly!” (which takes place in Yonkers), TV comedian Sid Caesar and the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the singer Mary J. Blige (all born in Yonkers). The last one off the bus is me.

I’m nine years old. It’s winter, so it’s already dark at 5 o’clock as I head home for supper. I walk up Spruce Street, turn left onto Linden Street, then turn right and walk up the steep incline of Elm Street, up past Oak Street, finally turning left onto Walnut Street, blazing a trail through the forest of streets until I’m safe at home. I pause on the front porch and look up at the winter sky. Usually the lights of the city blot out the stars. But tonight I see hundreds of stars. My eyes move from one to another to another, noticing a pattern, recognizing the shapes of letters, realizing that the letters form words, like a marquee in the sky. The marquee proclaims:  WELCOME TO THE CITY OF GRACIOUS LIVING!


24 thoughts on “City of Gracious Living

  1. Hi …I really enjoyed reading your article ..and as it happens …probably had the same paper route for the Statesman as you did ..

    I lived on Clarendon Avenue …and picked up my paper at the corner of Clarendon and Palmer road …every day for several years .. and ended up at an apartment house next to Dellwood dairy and the cemetery.

    I also have many stories about Yonkers .. many of which include my Italian grandpa, Antonio (from the Commune di Cammarata mountain village near Palermo)but the one I am asking help for …has to do with my Dad ..and his father (a Russian immigrant) and the Alexander Smith carpet shops.

    …I was hoping you might have or know where to find a photograph of the train trestle that allowed the coal train to deliver to the mills.

    It seems that my father rebuilt the coal trestle..and several times in the last year talked about this as being his greatest working accomplishment.

    My father, also named John was a carpenter.

    In the year 1936 or so, Grandpa John helped my father his first job after Dad graduated from high school.

    The job was in the mill running spare bobbins back and forth to the weavers and in general bringing materials the loom operators needed..

    It seems my father was a superb worker …and one day … his work habits caught the attention of the foreman of the Mills’ carpenter shop … who went to my Grandfather and inquired about the young man he had seen about the factory ..

    After several minutes of discussions…the terse Scotemen offered my Dad an apprentice position working in the carpenetrshop

    Grandfather accepted on my Dads’ behalf … and the appointment was an interesting as well as unusal one one …because the Scots, loke so many other groups tended to stick with theor own, and they hired on only other Scots …but I guess my Dad had the right stuff ..

    anyway he worked under a aging…slightly built …but tough Scotsmen…who proceeded to slowly but deliberate teach my Dad the art of barrel and loom making ..

    I can not remember all the details about the barrels (or wooden bins) where made to hold washing water for the loomed material … the carpenters also worked as millwrights for setting the mills machinery and equipment..

    and my Dad did this work until WW2 …when he enlisted in the Marine Corp to spend 4 years, beginning with Guadalcanal, fighting the Japanese .. which is a whole other story as he eventually became a pilot although his rank was that of a sergeant ..(apparently the Marines ran out of officers to man the fighters and so reached down into the ranks for a select group of enlisted men for pilots ..)

    anyway at some point he was asked to rebuilt the heavy timber trestle that brought the loaded coal trains to the mills coal bins ..

    this meant taking apart the existing trestle …marking each member for its exact location …then assessing which members had to be replaced ..(apparently a substantial number) …making a pattern for each member to be replaced …

    all of this was done with the benefit of either an architect or structural engineer…

    the my Dad and the old Scotsmen traveled to New Jersey to choose which trees would be felled for the replacement timbers ..

    after that the trees were brought back to the mills …and worked to fit the patterns previously made

    Over the course of a summer the trestle was rebuilt .. with a crew of 4-5 men with my Dad as the foremen ..

    When the trestle was completed ..each of the pieces were cut and fixed in the old way ….with mortice and tendons …

    the railroad engineers showed up for 3 days of testing and commissioning ..

    first the locomotive was ridden up 1/2 way …the engineers scoured the trestle for stress, movement and anything untoward….and then the locomotive was slowly rolled back …as the engineers again documented …tested …and noted every possible anomalies …

    then the locomotive was run up the full length of the trestle …tested …and checked again …( apparently the trestle was long enough to hold a locomotive and several coal cars) .

    on the next day …the locomotive had empty coal cars attached and together these were rolled up 1/2 way …and then rolled back … under the keen eyes of inspectors …professional engineers and city authorities ..

    finally on the last day ..a fully loaded coal train …locomotive …and wagons …were summoned …to the mill…

    that day the crowd was enormous ..my Dad and his crew flanked the trestle ..and waited ..

    And grandpa was there too … not saying anything but signalling that everything would be OK …to his son

    at 8 am ..the final tests began ..

    I’ll bet there was a lot of controlled breathing going on that morning …because in the end ..these were simple carpenters …competent but carpenters doing the work of professional engineers ..perhaps it may have dawned on the mill bosses that when the order went out to re build the trestle …. the stacks involved in doing that work …were much higher than the expectation that their own mill crews could accomplish such a feat .. or perhaps even been given the task to begin with ..

    yes I can see the administrators looking out the windows of their offices …at the fully loaded train …and all the gathering dignitaries, mill workers …officials …and consulting professionals and thinking … “u-m-m-m …I know I gave our gang the work order …but … we probably could have hired at least one structural engineer I suppose …..I mean just to oversee the project ….what will i say ..if we fail …to a board of inquiry if I am asked about a structural engineer?”

    “I was warned that it just wasn’t possible …oh my gosh I better get down there fast!”

    Which I imagine he did.

    But I do not think the carpenters ..either my Dad or the Scotsmen ever even blinked in hesitation …

    they saw it as a project to be addressed ..organized and executed .. as a competent tradesmen always does … with success …and a good dose of humility ..

    I have seen it before with skilled tradesman of the old school like my Dad …somehow he knew enough about … patterns …trees …stress forces …engineering principles … tools …cutting etc.. everything needed to be known and understood to succeed … in a way we could only dream of today … actually to succeed today in only a way a highly regarded professional engineering firm could!!!

    This time it took 4 hours for the complete and final testing.

    All was satisfactory and the trestle received all, the he approvals needed to go into use.

    That’s the moment my Dad remembers …

    An instance of validation ..that has lasted a life time …

    The validation that bring tears to his eyes ..

    Tears that are in such contract to those formed when recalling the horrors the Island campaigns ..

    Those Island tears …are of loss …weak ..and watery ….they run down the cheeks and drop quickly to the ground … you can not catch them with a tissue ..

    But the tears of validation are different …they are strong ..they hang on the corners of the eyes ..they do not want to leave their creator .. they stay to honor the person ..and there is never a need to wipe them …for they remain forever with their owner ..

    They replenish the spirit.

    I’ll bet the administrator never wiped away a tear that day ….he may have wiped sweat from his brow … the nervous sweat of anxiety … for when my Dad asked for afternoon off for his crew who labored so diligently on the trestle project … throughout the hot summer ..

    he was told ..”it just isn’t possible”

    That’s what makes a Dad great …they accept success and the accompanying lack of recognition …without prejudice ..

    So I sure would like to have a picture of that trestle … that exact moment …do you have one in your files.


    John B Naradzay

    1. There is a nice picture of that pair of coal unloading trestles in the book “The Old Put” (p. 97). You can clearly see the tracks approaching the smokestack and get a good sense of their length and height. It is not a side view, though, so you can’t see the trestle construction. The photo is sourced “Collection of the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY”.

  2. Born: Yonkers General Hospital in 1947. Grew up there about a half mile from the Bronxville line neer to Palmer Rd. My Uncle Nick is buried in that cemetary too. He owned the drug store at the foot of Lockwood Ave. on SMR Rd. My father and his brothers were all born on the infamous School St. and my Uncle Joe remembers giving Ella Fitzgerald nickles and dimes for singing on the corner there. Went to Halstead School 1961 – 1965. The YHS pick-up points were all over that place in the 1950’s, for kids to have paper routes, usially with special bonus offers on printed sheets for prizes for performance. Bicycles,radios,stuff. I remember Steve Tollarico, probably better known to you as Steve Tyler of Airosmith, he lived on the perimeter of the aquaduct up by Mountaindale Rd.

    1. Another thing that might be of interest. There were a lot of us Italian-Americans in Yonkers. Did you know that Gioseppe Garabaldi came to Yonkers first before he went to Statten Island where he knew Antonio Maiucci the real inventor of the telephone…???

  3. My father worked for years as a weaver at the Alexander Smith Carpet factory. I was born in Yonkers in 1935, lived on Ludlow Street at the time, later on Vineyard Avenue and several other streets along the Hudson. My mother used to talk about Ella Fitzgerald all the time. I went to Holy Rosary School and St. Peter’s and then Gorton High School before moving to Norwalk and Darien, Connecticut. I’ve written a few stories that mention Yonkers on hubpages.com. My grandfather was a prize-fighter from Yonkers who fought under the name of Shamus O’Brien just after the turn of the century. I’m just about to publish a blog about him. Remember Hitler’s face during WW II that could be seen across the Hudson on the Palisades? I have a picture of it in one of my hubs.

  4. Hi,
    Great stories of the City of Gracious Living. Ya learn something new everyday. For example, 1999 to 1944, Leo Hendrik Baekeland and family lived in Harmony Park off North Broadway on Robert’s Lane. He was the inventor of Velox photographic paper and Bakelite. He was my mother’s grand father.
    I am making a documentary about him and his inventions. Any information you can give me will be appreciated.
    Thanks and keep on writing…

  5. I stumbled across your homage to our hometown, one I hated for years, always bragged about to anyone in shouting range, and misted over when I drove up from “The Hollow” to “The Heart”, where I grew up; just shy of Shonnard Place, the real line dividing the lace curtain Amakasin Club crowd from the rest of us on Voss, Lake, Vineyard Avenues and Lennon Park, where the pastor from Sacred Heart, Father ****** proweled at night; some said to chase out the bad guys, others said nothing and made sure their boys were home before dark.

    And now, even after living 28 years in the wilds of Ocean County, New Jersey, when I pass Kappock St on the Henry Hudson, my heart sings -“Home”!

    Thanks for the taste of a fine wine, Yonkers.

  6. I loved reading this post … really brings me back since I grew up on Moquette Row!
    Anne Burke Dean

    1. hey Anne, i used to play stickball in moquette row. we would hit into the south facing porches. was a student at saint josephs’ and lived up on ashburton.
      did you google earth much? was snooping around this morning and found Nick DiGiovanni, neat!

  7. I love coming back to this story. I recently went back to Yonkers. Took some pictures. My mother grew up on North Broadway and Wells Ave so did I. The building still stands but the upholdsters across the street which was a coal storage place in the 1880 is gone and the steps to overlook terrace as many of the other step streets are blocked off. Since I no longer have relatives living in Yonkers I stayed at the Van Cortlandt Motel. I found the people in getty square Friendly. I ate food I never ate in the Square before. A place that used to serve yeck food and before that was the Army Navy store now has a great selection great place Lunch up on New Main by the Salvation Army I ate there 5times in 4 days. I walked just about all over downtown. Wish the weather was more cooperative. I should have taken more pictures at the Cemetaries but the weather wasn’t with me. Where Miss Fitzgerald used to work as a teenager is a beautiful Mural, The Tyrone house is no longer in its original spot(site of Vandergelders store in Hello Dolly) still the mens hang out .
    The hotel next to it is gone. So is Mr Sid Caesar parents bakers we know it as Resturnt supply. They haven’t gotten to Peter Scallari parents bar yet.
    I hear they are going to tear down PS6 someone take a picture of it I didn’t get up there. I wish I had so many of the old places are gone. People didn’t know that behind chickhen island (Isn’t it funny how they can legislate name changes but we keep the old names) is where some of the first silent movies where made. Chickhen Island is going to be a baseball field so they told me.
    The Night you are thinking of is the night the lights went out. I sat at the gas station and just looked up at the sky what a night the stars looked like diamonds. I was there until the police came by and told me to get off the street.Everybody that night had their windows open it might have been November but it felt like september. nothing happened. beside the police station was just down the street.

    1. Donna I grew up at 75 North Broadway just up from Wells ave across from the steps lived there from 1954 ( birth) to 1974 My parents lived there from 1940

  8. Masterpiece! .Born in Yonkers General Hospital in 1949. Grew up on Woodworth between Point and Gold. Still live near City Hall. Taught at School 25, where I attended, for 33 years. Graduated from Gorton in 1967.

    1. Sylvia: Thanks for reading — and enjoying — my writing…and thanks, especially, for saying I wrote a “Masterpiece!”

      1. been reading, your stuff, today. what a treat. “city of gracious living” really made me nostalgic. been looking at some of rob yasinac’s photos. esp. the shot of the ‘sugar house’, that was my corner there. 166 buena vista. my dad worked at flo-sweet. so mr. nick, help me out here. i visited ‘yunkiss’ back in 2005. was driving up palmer road, and there, where the fortfield reservoir used to be, a damn high school, saunders from south yonkers (a football powerhouse back in the day). i’m dying to find out more about the building project. it had to be an amazing feat, to fill in a reservoir and bring the land up to street level? when was it done? who did it?
        how long did it take? and on like that?
        been jammin’ all morning trying to get some
        news about it. i hope i lucked out. you got an Email address to spare?

        so i picked up my bundles of the herald-statesmans, over on ramsey oh maybe at glenhill? p.s.5 had a big paved yard, i knocked a softball clear over the trees in center field, and cleared glenhill, think it landed in old man devito’s yard. lived on jessamine. i’d take my papers over to lockwood and pickup gavin and deliver the length out to palmer and catch the first few houses on palmer and i’m pretty sure i got over to halladay. i was all over the place.
        so the reservoir was at the end of jessamine, we’d hop the fence at nite, and ‘hula-popper’ some bass out of the water every once in a while. before jessamine i lived in an apartment on ashburton, before that beuna vista. and on like that. lived in n. tarrytown, worked the post office in tarrytown, after leaving the chevy plant. that’s flattened now, guess there are environmental issues with that site?

        i should stop, any info/leads on the reservoir/saunders high school, would be super! thank you.

  9. Thanks for Yonkers Memories. I was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital 1937 & loved lioving in North Yonkers overlooking the beautiful Hudson River till 1947

  10. Toni Alaimo Brideau
    I too grew up in Yonkers, My younger years were I
    grew up was on 63 Oak St, over Tom’s butcher shop. Then as a teenager
    moved to Nepperhan ave, near St Casmirs Church. so many fond memories of
    how beautiful it was growing up in Yonkers, sad to see how it is today, hopefully
    as said history repeats it self perhaps one day it will again be the city of gracious living. This article was amazing and must say as I read it, it brought tears to my
    eyes. My father Charles was from Sicily and my mother Susan was from Sayre Pa. My brother Charles was born at the professional hospital on ludlow st.
    My parents Susan and Charles Alaimo are both sadly left behind at Oakland cemetery.
    I consider myself lucky that I grew up in Yonkers.
    I live in Florida but my home is Yonkers, so so many wonderful memories.

    1. What years did you live on Oak street?
      Let me tell you the reason .. in 1957 or 58 my new best friend Vinny Fusco moved to my neighbor in the Lockwood Avenue area of Yonkers .. from Oak or Linden or Poplar (I can not remember now) but anyway he soon asked to help him with a problem .. as I was the leader of the local gang of 6 regulars and 4 junior members from my neighborhood called .. a translation would be “the Greats” ..
      So we traveled (without the juniors) with Vinny and his older brother Louie (by 2 years) to their old neighbor near Oak street (not far from a bakery) one fine Saturday morning …
      Where we met up with his old gang some of who were girls ..at the agreed upon rumble spot not far away …
      It was a vacant lot, as I remember, which ran up hill .. we were unfortunately at the bottom of the hill … when the opposing gang appeared at the top of the hill .. we gave a rebel yell and charged up ..
      All together there may have been 25 kids on our side … all between the ages of 10-14 .. including as I mentioned some girls ..
      I don’t know how many were in the gang up on top because we didn’t make it that far ..
      Vinny and I were at the head of the charge ..About 1/2 way up .. I happened to turn to around to make sure all that started were still accounted for .. especially Mike G and Johnny D .. who, while my dear dear friends .. lacked the belief in sustained enthusiasm .. Johnny D always had to pose 1000 “what if” questions” …
      That is when I noticed the arrow.
      It sailed over my head and hit a girl in the teeth about 15 feet below me.
      I can still see it today ..clear as a blue sky …all in slow motion … arcing over Johnny D’s head ..(he had slipped and so was bent over with his head close to the ground) … right into her face .. her front teeth to be exact .. luckily her mouth was shut!
      When she got hit she disappeared … head over heels …
      The advance stopped dead in its tracks ..except for the recovered Johnny D .. he continued his charge uphill unaware of the arrow attack.
      Vinny was stunned ..his eyes were huge white saucers! … he let loose a string of curses even my grandfather might not recognize .. and started down hill screaming “I’m getting my cousins zip gun!”
      In the mean time Mike G and I were yelling up the hill as loud as we could to get Johnny D attention … “stop..stop … come back”
      He didn’t stop until he reached the top of the hill ..where he found no one …so he turned around toward us and raised his hands in triumph!
      “Come on back!”
      In less than 1 minute, the opposing gang, Vinny, the girl and arrow were gone!
      We the “Greats” briefly looked for the arrow in the grass and among some stone rubble ..before walking down and away from Oak street… arguing all the way home back to Lockwood Avenue about the “what Ifs” ..

  11. I grew up on Mile Square Road, near Palmer Road. I used to help by brother deliver newspapers in 1967, as girls didn’t have paper routes then. I think there are many, many beautiful parts of Yonkers…Dunwoodie Golf Course, St. John’s Church on Yonkers Avenue, the Art Deco apartment buildings on Broadway near Caryl Avenue, Park Hill Colonials,

    Unfortunately, lots of crowding, litter, and non-gracious billboards have detracted from parts of the city’s beauty.

    I live in Tennessee now, but it was great to hear other’s memories!

  12. I was born in Yonkers General in 1957. My family lived on Ashburton and then Schlobohm for twenty years. I’ve lived in other places and for longer time periods, but I still have dreams that take place in Schlobohm and St. Joseph’s on Ashburton.

  13. This site brought back a lot of memories for me, too.. When I was young I lived in South Yonkers, on St. Andrews Place. My nanny lived in Schlobohm, and I went to St. Joseph’s
    School on Ashburton Avenue.

    My best friend JoAnn lived on St. Andrews, too. In the summers our parents worked
    and we roamed all around the city. When we were just seven years old, we would ride our bikes to Van Cortlandt, to take a pony ride. Or go to Park Hill Movie Theatre, watch
    the news, cartoons, and two movies, and be in there all day. Nearby was Francis Edwards, who had the most delicious ice crea. We would ride our bikes
    all the way up to Untermeyer Park.

    We rode busses all over the place, getting transfers till we returned home. Our favorite ride was from the Square and
    back, riding the Nodine Hill bus, with ‘Joe the Nasty Bus Driver.” He yelled at everyone.

    By the time we were nine and ten, we would go to Tibbets pool and stay there all
    day long. My mother would pick us up when she got out of work.

    Today I live in East Texas, and JoAnn in Arizona, we still talk often, and have always said that today, our parents would be arrested for our total lack of supervision.

    I can give a bit of information on the reservoir on Palmer road. When I was ten my
    mother and I moved to the intersection of Gavin St and Fortfield Ave. I discovered the
    reservoir while I was wandering around with my dog. It was empty at this time.
    I would go there with Sam quite often and slowly slide down to the bottom, it was all
    huge rocks, seperated in the middle with a huge wall of stones. We would play around down there all the time. I always wanted to walk across the wall, but was never that
    brave. I’m sure it was plenty wide enough, but was not find of heights – I would walk
    in about ten feet, then chicken out…

    The first school built there was named John Burrought JHS, I attended the first year
    it opened, 1968 – was in ninth grade – and was one of the first graduated in 1969. Years
    later, it became the new Saunders.

    All these years my mom worked in the Square at People’s Savings bank. In 69’ she
    passed away, and I went to live with my Nanny – she was by then living on Voss
    Avenue in North Yonkers, and I went to Sacred Heart from grades 10 – 12. I pretty
    much lived all over Yonkers – it was a wonderful time a great place to grow up.

    There is a wonderful website that has tons of old pictures of Yonkers. It called SoyoSunset… here is the link…


    Also, this website has actual PDF pages from the actual Herald Statesman and
    other newspapers, going back many, many years.


    Thank you, I enjoyed reading all of your stories and posts this evening… I is
    such a pleasure to come across these musings, quite by accident…

  14. Thanks for the story. One correction: Gene Krupa’s house wasn’t a mansion. It was (maybe still is?) at the bottom of Ritchie Drive where it T-bones into Wendover Road. I lived up the road from 1940 – 1959. It was a nice, white house kind of sunken down below the road. Krupa’s wife lived there with him and two French poodles. She was pleasant but not overly friendly. My cousins the Berliners lived next door. Krupa was out of town touring with his band much of the time. His tour bus would stop in front of the house and the band would get out. They partied and played in the back yard. I’d sit on top of the stone wall–I was maybe five or six–and listen to them play. Krupa and the band members would wave at me and the other neighbors who would be listening.

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