Originally Published 07/06/2011 06:07:54 AM
We couldn’t have seen it all coming. No way could we see it all, as we sat on New York front stoops and drank Rheingold and Knickerbocker and stared above at black clouds of the Cold War and went through air raid drills and sat back as Kennedy and Khrushchev waited for the other to blink and watched to see who would reach the skies first. As we flicked on our Philco and Zenith sets and waited for the tubes to warm up and spun the dial, still not believing that the Dodgers and Giants could really be gone and the Mets not yet there. As we heard the rumors of Beatles emerging from some distant Liverpool and Frank and Dino were still tops and Bird was dead but Trane was rising and we realized we were all Holden Caufield. As we boarded TWA Constellations at the new ode-to-flight terminal at Idlewild, and the Hudson was the greatest port of call in the world and the city was the manufacturing center for every industry and the rust belt was nothing you’d ever heard of. As the city emptied and the new wave of immigration from southern climes poured in and the corner market on the block was beaten by the supermarket in the suburbs. As the car won and the bridges and tunnels of commerce choked the city and the subways fell into apathy and the slums were cleared and the new slums replaced the old slums and we walked the boardwalk stunned as Steeplechase Park closed for good. As we lived in cramped walk-ups and we could afford to be poor in New York and survive on dreams and Chock Full 'O Nuts. As institutions fell and new institutions were born and the only constant was change. As New York changed, as she burned and wept and changed and overcame. The decade began in black and white and ended in psychedelic bursts of a changed world…and we tried to comprehend it all….