Monday, November 8, 2010
315 E 56th Street October 1962 to September 1963
This past weekend, while on business in New York, I walked over to 315 E. 56th Street where Mom and Dad moved ( with three cats) after he was honorably discharged from the army on August 1, 1962.
In apartment 2B, with furniture from Bergdoff Goodman and bookcases from Bloomingdales, I was conceived. And so was Dad's first novel, P.S. Wilkinson.
It's a quiet, fairly leafy street for Manhattan. A block from Cathedral High School.
While living here, Dad worked on the narration for a Swedish/Japanese documentary called The Face of War. It is a grisly history of the horrors of war from World War I to the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It ends with pictures of victims of atomic radiation.
Dad also wrote and edited something a bit lighter. An off beat satirical magazine called The Monocle which published a piece by Godfrey Cambridge on the joys of being a black man trying to hail a New York City cab ( I have spent so much time on my knees, praying for a cab to stop for me, that I have been arrested three times for holding an outdoor religious meeting without a permit).
Dad wrote a J.D. Salinger-esque story for the magazine about the presidential couple called "A Perfect Day for Honeyfitz: Jack & Jackie" ("I'm sick and tired of all those phonies who say they could tell by the way he brushed his teeth at Choate, for Chrissake, that he would become President of the United States")
The New Yorker published his short story "Christmas on Charles Street" about P.S. spending an uncomfortable holiday weekend with his newly divorced father in Washington DC.
The story would appear in P.S. Wilkinson and that, as you can imagine, did not please my grandfather. ( see "You Have Sold My Pride")
When it became clear that a baby would be joining all those grey cats in the small apartment, Mom and Dad began house hunting. Where should they live? Yardley, PA across from Trenton? Connecticut? They settled on a Gatsby-ish titled locale to the Northwest of the city: Tuxedo Park, New York.