Updated August 3, 2003
Ah, New Rochelle! Westchester County. A supposedly moneyed section of "upstate" New York . New Rochelle was an older suburban city of around 75,000 people when we got there. It wasn't a bad place but it was very different from any other place we had lived. It was almost like living in New York City which is certainly a world unto itself. There was a place across the street from our first apartment where we got our bagels and lox on Sunday morning along with the Times. You could go down the street and get an egg cream at a soda fountain.
I had to wander. To explore.
I was not a member of the automobile set then. Sure, I was all of 16 but driving didn't seem to be in my near or moderate future. So when I wanted to go somewhere I took a bus, a train, or most often I walked. I walked down to the Glen Island area of radio fame. On the way I passed a park named after Eddie Foy of vaudeville days. I walked northerly along the Boston Post Road into the Village of Larchmont . I found out then how white this area was and what that meant to me.
As I walked along the road, absorbing my surroundings, trying to make this place a part of my fabric, I was stopped. A police car pulled in font of me and the officer/driver got out and confronted me. He asked me who I was and what I was doing. I told him. I asked him why he wanted to know and he said that I looked like some one they were looking for. Of course I did. We all looked similar enough to they who don't look closely. They who only look at generalizations. He let me go after that even though I had shown him nothing. I had no documentary identification at that time. It was so obvious to even a 16 year-old. He just wanted to see who this dark kid was walking in 'his' village.
My rovings around the New York area were mostly on foot or by public transit. I walked all over the shore in Westchester and even made a few long excursions. Three times I walked from New Rochelle into Manhattan. The first time I did it alone and ended at Grand Central Terminal where I caught a train for home. The second time I acquired company and the two of us walked through the Bronx, Spanish Harlem, and down the east side to the UN and thence over to GCT for the ride home. The last trip was with two compatriots and the three of us wandered down into Manhattan all the way to the tip. We ended our walk at Battery Park .
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