Korifaeus Magazine

••• The Big Brother's, oops, i mean Apple's Gazette ••• A Sophisticated Periodical with Panache and a Sense of Humor

When New York City was Paradise

Pre-1969
By Korifaeus

Most younger people born after the 1970’s, can’t imagine that there was a time when there was hardly any crime in New York City. To give you an idea how it was in New York City until about 1969, let me take you back in time …….

In the fifties and sixties New York was thriving; the phrase
” If you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere”, was such a known that folks from all over the country and all over the world came to New York City to try their luck.

Broadway was booming – Television was booming; a lot of soap operas were broadcast “live” from New York. The music industry was booming – Advertisement, Photography, Art, Medicine, Fashion, Night Life, you name it – New York was THE town. A safe town to come to with affordable housing for everyone.

One could rent a walk-up for $30.00 a month, have a steak at Tad’s steak house for a $1.29 and get a job most everywhere if willing to work. Artists, be it painters, writers, poets, actors would meet at drugstores sitting around the soda fountain, helping each other out, sharing casting calls, gallery infos, publisher’s addresses, editor’s names – in those days manuscripts could still be sent without solicitation to any publisher, or articles sent to editors of Newspapers and Magazines.

A one bedroom apartment cost about $90,00 a month in Manhattan. The streets were so safe, that those who didn’t have an air-conditioner ( not everyone had air-conditioning in those days) would go sleep on a bench on Hudson River drive, near the Hudson, during very hot/humid summer nights. It was safe – no one ever thought of getting robbed, or that it could be unsafe to sleep on a bench at night.

Manhattan wasn’t segregated; though different “cultural” areas existed where predominantly specific cultures lived, because family members migrating to different countries and cities usually try finding a place close to their family members, since many first don’t speak the language, with family and friends helping each other out until familiar with the new language and territory – just as it’s in every city of the world; peers seek the nearness of their peers.

But other than that there was never segregation in Manhattan; a Black jazz musician would live next to a white German Doctor, who’d live in the same building as the door man of a Broadway theater; next to him lived the lady from the Chinese laundry with her family, who lived next to an Italian cop,who lived next to a Lawyer, who’s live next to an actor, and so on.

Folks would go to Harlem at night to visit Jazz clubs – white musicians played with black musicians; race was no issue in those days – sharing music, new chords, songs, singing together,laughing, having “fun”. Or visit Harlem eateries, which were famous in those days, attracting most everyone to Harlem – artists, bankers, lawyers, models, actors, manufacturers; folks from every social gamut and every color.

Little Italy was truly a bit of ITALY within Manhattan. Italian cafes, Restaurants, Italian tailors, not to forget Italian shoemakers. It was a pretty big area back then. Greenwich village was Bohemian, filled with poets and artists, inexpensive walk-ups and apartments for up-and-coming artists, as well as inexpensive eateries, thrift stores, galleries where new artists could exhibit their art.

Cafes and little bars where poets could read their poetry, with publishers, editors of papers, regularly visiting these places, discovering new talent. New York was the city everyone was encouraged to come to try their luck and get a break. If one had talent and was willing to work hard on one’s art trying to master it, New York was the city assuring dreamers with a passion success. Talent could not fail in this city. Built and created to attract the best of the best, to exhibit only the best to encourage others to become better at something as well.

Those were the days when one would leave empty milk bottles on the stoop of the steps, or in front of one’s apartment, with the money for new milk bottles, butter and eggs, right next to the empty bottles. And the money would still be there when the Milk man arrived.

If change was needed, the milk man would leave the change, right out in the open, next to the new Milk bottles, butter and eggs, and the money would still be there when the person came home from work.

People from everywhere in the world came to this great city, because it was so safe, so peaceful, with opportunities galore for everyone. Lady Liberty invited everyone seeking freedom, equality and prosperity, with her light shining bright to guide ships safely to its shore, to come here, to live the American dream.

And then came 1969…

Whatever it was that took hold of this great city, by the mid-nineteen seventies many New Yorkers had left for California, etc. as well as moving abroad. It was no longer safe to live in the city.

Many have come back to New York, in recent years, the city being peaceful, safe and cleaner again, in part thanks to Mayor Bloomberg, promising to be a great town again.

Just a few hours ago, i went for my morning stroll to get a coffee and see a N.Y. Cop give a dollar to a homeless man. I was so happy to’ve seen that ‘cuz that’s New York to me. A guiding light on the Hudson.

Give it a chance

Empire State Building

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3 comments on “When New York City was Paradise

  1. Austin
    November 9, 2013

    Is this a joke? I know quite a few people in their early 60s who were robbed by gangs and beaten by hooligans in the 50s and 60s. Furthermore, saying the city was “no longer safe to live in” is a grossly subjective statement of opinion. And by referencing “everyone” who left, you must mean the white people who could afford to move. You know, the same ones who fled in fear and anger, pointing fingers at other races and classes instead of sticking around to do the tough work of salvaging their own home town?
    And finally, as for Mayor Michael Bloomberg…well, history won’t be kind to his legacy of bean-counting, plutocracy, union-busting, civil rights violations, hyper capitalism, police brutality, record homelessness, overdevelopment, record income disparity and crumbling infrastructure.

    • Korifaeus
      November 9, 2013

      Dear Austin

      Thank you for your comment. No, it’s not a joke, in “general” it was a GREAT city to live in for everyone regardless of color. And naturally there were some hooligans in the city as in every Metropole of the world, and these hooligans come in every color, as well. Folks from every socio-economic class and ethnicity who tried to make a better life for themselves moved away, not just white people. Black musicians, actors, singers, artists and up-and coming artists took chances even moving abroad; France, Germany, U.K., Italy, for example, where many became highly successful. Others moved to different States – California was the very popular because it was just an up-and-coming city with lots of jobs. Folks from every color moved out of town, trying to get jobs. Others stayed because they didn;t want to take a chance; it had nothing to do with wealth – it’s “attitude” – some people take chances while others don’t. Those who left had enough of the starting racism on “both” sides. Just read your statement written in the “21st Century” generalizing White people, as though all whites are wealthy racists. Would you agree it read somewhat prejudice ?

      Is it possible you’re confusing Mayor Bloomberg with the era of Rudi Gulliiani, perhaps ? I don’t agree with some of Mayor Bloomberg’s installations, as i’ve mentioned in previous articles, for example the non-smoking in Central Park and other parks. I’m a non-smoker, but i feel for the fellows who’d used to read a book in Central Park, smoking a cigar or pipe after work, before going home where they weren’t allowed to smoke because of their wives, or such.

      But as a whole the cops are good ole New York friendly and neighborly cops again, which was tough to find during Mr. Gulliani’s tenure. The city is friendly again, cleaner, safe and a joy to live in. Do you live in the city ? If so, how come you don’t see it ? Or are you projecting what you read in the papers on your surroundings, instead of looking at the city objectively ?

      Outside of in the papers i never see racism and i live in the center of Manhattan. Is it possible you project your prejudice against white people, on white people, thus seeing racism places where there is none ?

    • Korifaeus
      November 10, 2013

      Ps: Ever heard the story of the biting dog ? There was a man once, and he was bitten by a dog as a child. Believing all dogs are dangerous he went about and told everyone he encountered that dogs are the most dangerous species of all because they bite. Hence all the folks he spoke to, as well as children, began behaving defensively around dogs, and waving walking sticks at them. The dogs however, interpreted the waving of sticks as aggression toward them, thus barked and showed their teeth, fearing the folks want to hurt them.

      It got so bad that laws were made prohibiting people to have dogs, because one man was bitten by a dog when he was a kid, but never told the towns folk that the dog bit him because he’d thrown stones at him while he was in a cage, and one day the cage door was open, and ever since the man feared all dogs would come after him 😉

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