Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Some New York memories.

This post has absolutely nothing to do with advertising, Madison Avenue or nearly anything else. But I'm taking a break from thinking about the spots I'm working on and this circulated through my cerebellum.

When I was a kid, Manhattan was a very different place. The Upper West Side where I lived, was a bit of a battle zone. You thought twice about being mugged when you went out late. Often, when I was working nights, I'd weave my keys between my fingers so I'd be able to cut someone if they tried to assault me.

Graffiti, of course, was everywhere. And unless you lived out in the suburbs, you didn't regard it as a nascent art form. It was a threat. An indication of a social break down. Mind you, before the 1977 blackout which led to days and days of extensive looting, most stores and businesses didn't have pull-down gates. After the blackout, every business did. It seemed, something like today although for different reasons, that civilization was absolutely coming to an end. The city seemed out of control.

There was a supermarket, it's still there in fact, on Broadway between 74th and 75th called Fairway. That part of Manhattan had an inordinate number of older, widowed Jewish women living on pensions. Every Tuesday Fairway held what I called "Bruised Fruit Tuesday." A big bin of damaged fruit would go on sale. You could get a cantaloupe for 19 cents or a honeydew for a quarter.

To my mind, Bruised Fruit Tuesday was the most dangerous New York got. Those old Jewish ladies would cut you down for a bag of plums.

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