Wednesday, October 26, 2011
From whence I come.
I was born, almost 54 years ago in a hospital that was in one of America's first malls, an outdoor agglomeration of small shops and branches of department stores called Cross County Center. Cross County Hospital was a six-story blue-brick building in the center of things. I don't know why they put a hospital in the middle of a mall, but in any event it's where I was born, and where my sister emerged two years later.
Cross County Center was just over the New York City line in Yonkers, New York. Yonkers was a city exploding with post-war growth and had surged to become New York's fourth largest municipality, after New York City, Buffalo and Rochester.
Yonkers was, and is, a place riven by segregation. An underclass of black families had moved into the downtown areas. The working class neighborhoods began to diminish as small factories began to shutter as factories moved to cheaper labor in the south. More affluent families began moving into large homes on the fringes.
Yonkers at the time of my youth was heavily Italian. There was a unique way the Italian boys had of calling after girls that I learned to mimic. I can still effect the effect if pressed or drunk.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 8:40 PM