The Old Neighborhood


Upon my discharge from the service in 1969, I went directly to Ohio University and eventually returned to New York City to live and work in Manhattan.  My old neighborhood, Lefrak City just became a fading afterthought.

As time went by, I would pass Lefrak City when traveling on the Long Island Expressway. Like most Manhattanites, I considered all of Queens “fly over country.” You know, as most obnoxious bi-costal elites consider the midwestern United States.

When I lived there, Lefrak City, the high rise apartment complex, was a combination of mostly Jewish and other Caucasian ethnic families. It was built for those escaping the deteriorating ethnocentric neighborhoods of Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn. This exodus included leaving behind the major crime that invariably accompanied urban blight.

It became a time warp to finally physically set foot in and walk around the old neighborhood. Immediately interesting was noticing the physical changes to old structures and the new structures replacing those now gone and just remaining in my memory. My overall impression: smaller, more congested and dirtier.

Those 1960‘s Lefrak families are now gone, replaced by multi national first generation immigrant families. It is reflected in the type of retail merchants spread along 57th Avenue. There is an overabundance of Hispanic bodegas, Russian, African and Indian food markets.

I wandered around aimlessly. After about an hour, the only familiar person I recognized was Tony Provolone. He seemed to be loitering in front of the Lemon Ice King of Corona.





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