What a Difference Fifty Years Makes!

We moved into our present home, 440 Riverside Drive, approximately a half century ago just as the City University of New York was opening its doors to any and all — I had been startled to be able to get students admitted to Yale who were being rejected by CCNY. I was persuaded by this experience that teaching in an open enrollment college looked like the thing for me — even though my former chair at Yale had offered me a beginner’s position there.

What we have noticed over our years is that Morningside Heights has been converted from a home for all — homeless with one or two co-ops — to one of our centers of great wealth in Manhattan. The co-op we started in 1979 was open to all — with an offer of mortgage help from the owners or non coop residency for others.

Now what could be purchased in 440 for $20,000 or far less demands a million or so as do the many others in the neighborhood — the old shelters for the homeless have all been converted to perks for the well off.

Symbolic to me in other ways has been the conversions of uses of our our ‘commercial’ spaces. Our little ones benefited from a children”s library at 440 staffed by volunteer mothers which closed when mothers moved from the home to jobs — the women’s revolution. At nearly the same time it was replaced by the Encore Beauty Salon — (212)222-1241 where men can now get excellent haircuts. Being now 88 with weaker hands and arthritis, I was also delighted to discover that one could have hands and feet — particularly nails which are hard to reach and clip — done for a modest cost — $10 each for either hands or feet and $15 for the haircut with the owner whom I prefer. She rejects tips.

Obviously our children are no longer prime time, but our elderly have resources near by in the neighborhood as needed. I had not known about the nails problems which had really become a chore.

Needless to say, Columbia and other owners have either increased increased leases or been driven out of business by the monsters. I am worried, too, about Encore Beauty Salon which has not been offered a new lease. May our 440 board do the right thing here. We elderly need them — not increased profits.


“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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