I loved living in Residence Park. It is home to some of the city’s best and involved folks including Councilman Lou Trangucci, Judge Susan Kettner, Lou Felicione and Bill Mullen, just to name a few.
Given the vicissitudes and realities of the radio business, it was never a permanent home, and I maintained a residence in New Jersey, as well. But I am proud to say that, for more than three years, I settled into the life of what my boss, Bill O’Shaughnessy, calls a Townie.
I ate in the restaurants downtown, shopped at the now-closed A&P on Pelham Road, stopped at for the best wedge sandwiches in the city and loved to go to or drive the short distance to . It was and is fun to stop in at the offices to see what Jim Killoran is up to, before heading over to the for a book sale or jazz show.
Making my way northward I attended meetings at the Willow Towers and American Legion Post Eight, and availed myself of North Avenue’s drug stores, delicatessens, the car wash and got my hockey uniforms repaired there. A little further up I enjoyed the taste of and liberated many pizzas from the stifling ovens of .
Like many involved New Rochelleans, my work took me frequently to City Hall where the doors were never closed to me and the high school where I attended everything from The Nutcracker to meetings of the Black Culture Club. Continuing further, still, I often cheated on my Dunkin' friends by taking out a coffee or two at . I might admit, if pressed, to an occasional fling with next to the post office, as well. And that was not me at .
I bought gifts for my grandkids at the old Big Top toy store, and still love the goodies at the kosher deli/restaurant. You see, some of my friends have to eat kosher, which is old hat for a Brooklyn kid. Speaking of kosher, I have always been welcome in the temples of the north end, especially and . Oh, and if I had a dog, he/she and I would stroll at Ward Acres.
It seems that I have attended events in every shore club, catering hall and restaurant in the Queen City. I have always been treated as one of your own. Every pastor in this town still treats me with hope and kindness, despite my doubting reputation.
The financial crisis thrust me out of town first to a room at the Y in White Plains, and now onto I-95 or an occasional night at the .
My circumstance places me in a unique position, I think. I still work every crevice and corner of this place. For the last five years, this city and its people have been my muse and inspiration. But I can no longer technically call it home, at least for now. But I am wondering if you noticed something when you were reading this: I never had to leave town once.
I am also wondering about one other thing. Despite the political battles, the taxes and the other daily tests of this part-city, part-suburban life, do you really know how nice it is here? In any case, thank you for taking me in.