A site dedicated to those who grew up in the old Washington Heights neighborhood. This site is an ongoing project and it is created by submissions from people who want to preserve the memories of old Washington Heights. Please feel free to submit your scanned photos and memories to: oldwashingtonheights@yahoo.com

Images of old Washington Heights


Ann Tsamas Bartol Phoenix, Arizona I lived at 247 Audubon Avenue on the ground floor, in the 1960's with my mom and older brother George. I remember a family that also lived on the ground floor with two daughters and possibly a younger brother and a great dane named Brandy. Linette, are you one of the sisters? The family moved to Freehold, New Jersey. In 1968 my brother got married and my mom and I moved to Ft. Washington Avenue. Washington Heights was a wonderful place to grow up in. It seemed like everyone knew everyone. The automat, Werthimer's, Nick's Luncheonette, Cinderella Coffee Shop, Bickford's, The Loewe's Theatre, the RKO Theatre.....what memories! My husband and I retired and moved to Arizona last year. Our oldest daughter and her family live in Arizona too. We are enjoying the wonderful weather here after living in New Jersey for 38 years.

Ken MacFadyen Maryland

I grew up ion the Heights in the 40s-50s. I lived on Fairview Ave. at the end of 193rd St. and St. Nicholas Ave. Fairview Ave. connected St. Nicholas Ave., and Broadway. I could see the Cloisters from my Apt. I went to PS 189 and the to GW from '54-'57. I was born in Woman's Hospital. In had non paralytic polio in 1947 and was cared for at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. I went to Ft. George Presbyterian Church and was a member of Scout Troop 724. I presently live in Maryland and have been practicing law in Maryland and DC for the last 43 years. I love this Board.

On the web site there is a picture of a plane that landed on St. Nicholas Ave. I was going to buy some cigarettes that morning and saw the plane.In a local Irish bar right on the end of 193rd St. the pilot bet that he could land a plane on St. Nich. He then went to an airport in NJ, stole an airplane and landed it. I believe that he got off rather lightly at the time. I'm told that he did it again and the second time he didn't get off so easily. The IRT 7th Ave. subway come out of the tunnel at 200th St. We used to climb over a fence at 200th and jump on top of the subway cars and ride them uptown toward Van Courtland Park. A kid named Jimmy Ryan, for whatever reason, rode the train downtown and got smashed as the train went into the tunnel. We used hitch rides on the back of trucks on Broadway and go up and down Broadway. On of my friends, hitched a truck on his bike and was killed.My Catholic friends used to go and read the List, which was published every week at St. Elizabeth's School and Church proscribing prohibited movies, and then we would go to see them. Some of the gangs that I recall The Gales Beacons, Enchanters, Fanwoods, Lucky Lords (I played football for them), Robins (a football team), Fordam Baldies, Egyptian Kings, they killed a guy in my neighborhood after I left. The murder made the papers, I believe that the killer was labeled the Cape Man. The state of Israel had just come into being and everywhere signed were posted "Guns For The Jews".

We had a lot of fathers who were WW 11 vets. Some of them were wounded and disabled for the rest of their lives. My best friend's father had a hip shattered in the battle of the bulge. He was an officer in the Fire Dept. When he came back he walked with a cain and drank too much. It took years for his hip to heal, and just as it did, he fell drunk, shattered it again, and ruined the rest of his life. My neighbor, right through the wall in the next apartment was of German extraction. When he was in basic training his eyes were damaged by a grenade. I remember his coming home and getting out of cab in uniform. A lot of the people in the neighborhood speculated that he had done it on purpose because he was suppose to have said that he would never go to war against his own people. In my neighborhood, we had a lot of Irish families living 6-7-8- to an apartment, some on relief, (welfare of the day) and usually with an alcoholic father. Later, we had a major Puerto Rican immigration and then Cuban immigration.

There was a couple the lived in the apartment above me. Johnny and Lorane Pie. He was Irish she was Jewish and they had twin girls. One day Johnny "slipped" off the roof and fell into the alley behind our apartment. Of course, everyone knew he had been thrown off the roof. There was a Williams family in my building. Mr. Williams used to get drunk and abuse his wife and children. One evening, the police came to our building and took him out. He was a handfull and by the time he reached the 34th precinct, we was dead. The police said that he "fell" but they had beaten him to death.

Some years ago I returned to the neighborhood and it had all changed. The entire area was Colombian. All the open air markets were still there but I didn't see any of the old bars and so on. Colombian flags were everywhere. I have to close now and get back to work. These are just a very few memories I thought you might find interesting. I intend to return to the Heights in the near future and look around.



The Coliseum or "Collie" as it was affectionately called by those living in the Heights was the center for entertainment for Heightsters during the golden era of Hollywood, and the dark days of the depression and World War 2. Located at 181st Street and Broadway it was the heart of Washington Heights. All the vaudeville greats performed there, and it was the place you could escape reality, and enjoy the movies. It was also the place to experience the new technology of air conditioning on a hot summer's day! Although long gone, it remains a fond memory of those who remember a simpler place in time!

Doug Anderson Palm Beach, FL

Born in 1943, my parents lived at 720 and then 730 Ft. Washington Avenue till 1963 when they moved "downtown" to 72nd Street and Park Avenue. Believe it or not, I was horrified. I'd gone to PS-187 thru 6th grade (I do remember M. Devany, Ms. Taylor, Mrs. Goldschein, Mrs. Wertheimer, Mr. Brainson) and lining up in the schoolyard and exercises before marching into the building. Then to JHS-115 for the "sps" and doing 7th, 8th and 9th grade in 2 years. Then to Barnard School for Boys (now part of Horace Mann) class of '59. Then Columbia College class of '63. I lived at home the whole time (all the way until I was 20) and commuted. As others have said, the neighborhood was yekke and totally focused on "core values" and education. It was in the air as was the need to win in the schoolyard and in the playground and to fearlessly go down suicide hill. I spent as much time in the Cloisters as in the schoolyard. I even read "Catcher in the Rye" in the outdoor courtyard of the Cloisters and studied 15th Century Flemish paintings and Tapestry there.........probably accounts for my Art History major at Columbia. My sister and I returned two years ago. We took the subway to 190th Street. Unfortunately, the "unique smell" was gone from the elevator but once outside (on a drizzly day) the air smelled as sweet as we'd remembered, Shrimpy was the same, and as we walked down to the Ft. Tryon Jewish Center for the Public Yiskur we almost cried from the nostalgia. Much has changed but nothing has changed. We were saddened by the condition of the schul that our parents had helped build. The roof leaks. There's no real rabbi (they have a rent-a-rabbi for the High Holidays) and so we made a gift as we left (never to return I guess). PS-187 was as good a school as any private school I know. Our daughters went to Dalton and Riverdale and they were great schools. But no better than PS-197 and JHS-115. Our grandkids go to public school in Armonk and at this time of year I hear them saying "I hope I don't get him next year......he's mean" and think back to saying the same thing 55 years ago. I guess some things really don't change very much.

My wife and I lead a very cosmopolitan life. We've been very lucky and, believe me, we give back. When I meet someone and we learn that we both grew up in Washington Heights in the 40's and 50's we give each other a knowing look and smile. One of my friends just married a guy who told me he'd gone to PS-187. He didn't know that I had and when I said "prove it", he was shocked. I started singing "we suggest it's the best" and he chimed in "you'll agree when you see" and I knew he was the real thing. We've become great friends.

Neil Fisch

I was born at Doctors hospital in 1958 and live at 900 W. 190th street and Fort Washington ave. I went to PS 187 when Mrs. Mendel was Principal and Dr. Ruler was Vice Principal. I have seen a post by Fred Madsen and was wondering if you are the brother of Jerry. I don't remember which ones grade I was in, but it was one of you guys I believe. I remember you guys used to mix it up with the Walsh brothers now and then. I used to hang out at Ft. Tryon park, the Cloisters and my boys (LOL, I was 6) used to clash with the boys at Bennet Park. I have been fortunate to talk (Email) Wendy Packer and to Evelyn Bick (My sweetheart) I can't picture Perry, but I'm sure I knew him. Madsen I remember as clear as yesterday.I remember the hippie lawn and the cafeteria in the park. The whole world was ours then. We roamed around like we owned the place. My grandparents lived at 720 and most of my friends lived at 730. Neighborhoods like ours don't exist today. It would be great to have a reunion. I would love to see everyone again. If anyone knows of a PS 187 reunion, please contact me at nm_f@comcast.net Nice hearing from you all.

Morelle/Lin, Woodstock, GA

I grew up in Washington Heights, lived at 600 West 169th St. until I got married and moved to L.I. Went to P.S. 173, JHS 115 and GW. Worked as a cashier at the Uptown Theatre all thru my high school years. My best friend was Joan Simson, she married Jack Cohen and they moved to Queens, have tried to find her for so long, have given up after all these years.. I was also friends with Ruthie Goldner, Judy Goldner, Sandy Feinstein, Edith Pfeiffer, Bev Muertz, Joan Weinstein, Judy Fields, Marilyn Goodman, Phyllis Hess, Yolande Motzer, Ann Hellines, Elaine Cramer, Vera Erdstein. The guys were JoJo Hetzer, George Hadgis, Henry Cohen, and so many more that I've forgotten the names of.

I remember Miramar, Highbridge, Silver Palm, Nelson's Deli, the corner candy stores, Mishkins Drug Store, Center Pharmacy. Was a member of the Girl Scouts at Broadway Temple with my neighbor, Hope Barrett and her sister, Sally. Loved to shop at Wertheimers, Becks Miles, and have hot dogs at Nedicks on the corner of 181st St. and Broadway. Anyone remember me? If so, email at LMagid@aol.com and let me know.Thanks for this site, it brings back wonderful memories of my youth.

Please send your personal memories AND your old photographs that show Heights neighborhoods, and landmarks. Pictures from old yearbooks are also great memory jolters! Photos may be scanned and sent as email attachments by clicking on the email link at the bottom of this web page. I will include them in future updates.

This web site is a cooperative effort of all of us, so please contribute your own memories and photos!

It may take a while for images to load. It's worth the wait.

JUNE 1959

The last eighth grade class to graduate from P.S. 189. Middle schools had arrived and were supposed to improve America's public

Schools. This class was the generation on the cusp of the baby boomers. The first generation to be influenced by television.

Howdy Doody,Superman, Uncle Miltie,the Mickey Mouse Club, Davy Crockett, and American Bandstand.

The Nixon Kennedy debates were 3 months away. The impending doom that haunted us throughout the 1950s exploded in 1963.

It wasn't the dreaded bomb, but the bullet that killed JFK. The world was never going to be the same again. This generation would soon

set off, their sense of self-importance magnified by television. Some would become the show. Several would die in a far off place

called Viet Nam. The vast majority of these boomers, weren't hippies or dropouts or antiwar activists. They would view the next decade

as a horror show. As the 1964 Dylan song predicted, 'the times they were a changing.'

Their generation was about to start questioning things, and start to change the world. They would take part in removing a President,

ending a war, raising environmental consciousness, developing new technologies and altering the world forever.

Six decades have passed since these 8th grade sons and daughters of Washington Heights posed with their teachers that morning,

to leave their picture for posterity. Let's hope that their children will also change the world.......for the better."

Fran Radburn, NYC "can't wait to send this to friends from the heights. That is my 8th grade graduating class from P.S. 189! Yes. There we were. Actually too old to be baby boomers and too young to be gray flannel suit people. I also wonder where everyone went and how they turned out. I am in touch with a few and it is great e-mailing them. Feels like time stood still. I would love to find Mrs. Gibson. I know she lived in Fort Lee at the time. A faraway place we once walked to over Easter vacation. We were the last 8th grade graduating class from PS 189. I think we had a lot of bright and talented people in our class. But then again, how would I know?

from Jim Coletti, Key West "I too was born and raised in Washington Heights in the 40's and 50's. We could see the NJ Palisades from our top floor window. I remember taking the Public Service bus from 168th and Bway--across from the hospital when we would go to Palisades I loved the pool. It seemed like the biggest pool in the world. The rides were terrific. You could have a whole day of fun for three dollars. Thanks for providing a place in cyberspace to return to our innocence."

From Peter J. Devito Orange County, New York " Reading about the "Heights" on this great website is one of the great wonders of this world we're lucky to be living in. Never imagined I'd ever be able to think, write, or see, any thing about the neighborhood in which I was born and lived in until I was 27;then moving to Orange County NY. Was born in a neighborhood of the Heights called "Fort George", named after the fort that once was located where GW is located. In fact one can see the wall of that old fort surrounding the huge pillars that supports the schools baseball/football field, from the Amsterdam Ave. side around to the Audubon Ave. side. It was then (the 30's) being rebuilt by a GW history teacher using WPA funds when I was a student there-about the same time as Henry Kissinger was roaming its halls. All those memories are now going into an autobiography that I started that I can leave for my family and friends.

My two sisters and I were born at home (yes, that's what they did then, with midwives) in apartment 11 of what was then 2515 Amsterdam Ave.; today the site of the new addition to the Yeshiva University Library. The "back" bedroom windows of that apartment faced the "dump" that ran alongside Knickerbocker Ice House down to Laurel Hill Terrace and, what I once thought was one of the most beautiful sights one could see, the Harlem River and the Bronx, Sedgewick Ave.trolleys running alongside it, and the four New York Central north/south tracks making me, as a little boy, think about all the wonderful places to go see in the world. The early part of my own memoires tells of my first visit to a movie house, the Majestic, at 185th and St. Nicholas Ave., which was then showing silent movies. Later it was the Empress at 181st and Audubon, the Gem just up the block, and the Heights on Wadsworth Ave. and finally, being old enough to go to the Coliseum, where there were movies and five acts of vaudeville every week for only 15 cents!! The other wonderful theater of the time was the Audubon, across from the Medical Center, which was then also a movie/vaudeville house. Saw the great movie " All Quiet On The Western Front" there, along with five acts of vaudeville. My mother carried one sister in free, it only cost a dime each for my other sister and myself!! Later came the magnificent Loews 175th, built for vaudeville but never used that way- then becoming the home of organ playing character named "Wild Oscar" who played before and after many of the great MGM pictures that were first shown there. That's only a little of what I remember. The Heights enabled us, a relatively poor family, to live unlike anything my own parents had experienced living in the "old country" (Italy in this case). Two blocks on the eastside of Amsterdam Ave., from 184th Street to 186th Street, the majority of which were full of Italian immigrant families just like ours. Above that, facing the then new Yeshiva University building was an empty lot, which they owned and in which all of us neighborhood kids were allowed to play, that is only with the exception of Saturday when it was closed. What an innocent and wonderful time that was to grow up in"

From Joaquin Da Costa Gomez Jr. New York "I was just emailed some of your pages on the Washington Heights.. I was brought up at 155 Audubon ave. All the theatres you talked about I went too, boy you talk about a flashback. My first job was at Glaubers Gift shop.. learned the tricks of the trade on how they fixed dents and scratches. Worked there in the summer of 1956. Went to GW, Miramar pool which was salt water, and Palisades Amusement park was always a fun place to go, But Coney Island and the was the place to spend the day for a few dollars. The Steeplechase, ride the horses around the track.... all the different slide and spinning turntables at the end.. Your article hit a nerve and brought back a lot of memories.. Hybridge Pool on amsterdam, I heard that it is still there. Flash back was great especially with what has happened recently.. Just wanted to remark and say thanks for the trip down memory lane. You forgot the trolley cars on Amsterdam avenue, the Polo Grounds, when the Giants were there, and what can I say I was a Dodger Fan, loyal and true. Ebbits Field was the place. Thanks again"

from Dorothy (Fiege) Goddard Wilmington, Delaware "Just finished my trip down memory lane and boy, did it bring back memories of Washington Heights, P.S.189, George Washington HS, the big shopping area at 181st Street ... I visited them all today! I remember the Saturday afternoon shopping trips looking for the "perfect" blouse to wear that night; or the $2.99 shoes at Miles (if you were flush, A.S. Beck had some beauties for $3.99). I grew up on 186th Street, just east of Audubon Avenue. I remember the Italian section on Amsterdam and the big block party we all had together on VJ Day ... my girlfriends and I marched all over the neighborhood singing patriotic songs until we couldn't do anything but croak. The adults were busy sampling the Italian wine, the Irish whiskey and the Jewish pastries that appeared on tables everywhere. What a grand day that was! I am looking forward to the 50th reunion of George Washington HS graduating class next year. And how simple life was in those days. Thanks again for the trip down memory lane!"

From Diana Gabriel DiFrancesco, Boston "What a wonderful gift! Thank you, thank you! It was amazing to find your web site and know that there are others out there that share the memories that I do. I graduated from GW in 1952 -- Dorothy Fiege Goddard was a classmate of mine. "My block" was 164th Street, between Bway and Ft. Washington Avenue. I have lived all over this marvelous country, but I am and always will be a New Yorker from Washington Heights. There are many beautiful cities in the USA and I have lived in quite a few. As a Navy family, we traveled from NYC to Seattle to San Diego to Lakehurst, NJ and to Boston. But there is nothing in the world like being a "New Yorker." When I finally connected with GW classmates last year, it was like the best Christmas present in the world. I went to the GW reunion at Shea Stadium and felt like 17 again.

From Fred Hartling, Charlottesville, Virginia "A very good friend of my brother's, Tommy Fitzpatrick, who lived in New Jersey and hung out at the bar and grill between 191st and 192nd street on St. Nicholas. One evening, on a dare and a bet, he went home back to New Jersey, stole a plane from Teterboro Airport, flew it over Washington Heights and landed it on St. Nicholas Avenue at about 3 a.m. in the morning. He parked it on 191st Street in front of the opening of the subway. The following day they came and dismantled it and drove it back to the airport. How he landed it through automobiles on both sides of the street was a miracle. He came over snake hill. Does anybody remember this? Does anybody remember that there was a gas explosion in the Italian section on Amsterdam Avenue between 184th and 185th Street? Lots of people got killed. Later on the whole street was purchased by the school."

From Dorothy (Fiege) Goddard, Wilmington, Delaware "Boy I sure do remember both those incidents that Fred Harting menioned... the plane landing on St. Nicholas Avenue and the building collapse. The collapse was caused by an explosion in the icehouse next to it. The rumor mill attributed the explosion to kids playing with matches in the abandoned building, causing the left over ammonia fumes to ignite. The icehouse came down and cut the building in half, front to back. It was horrible. When you looked at it from "the back road" all you could see were the walls of apartments on all five floors. It was like someone cut the building in half and you were looking into a dollhouse. I don't remember how many people were killed, but I do recall that among them was Old Joe, the not-so-humorous Good Humor Ice Cream Man who used to ride his refrigerated truck/bicycle around the neighborhood in those days. That accident happened just before Christmas but I don't remember the year. I also remember walking up St. Nicholas Ave. to see the plane but by the time we got there, the wings were off (or folded up) and they were moving it away. But we stopped in at Teiste's at 191st & St. Nicholas, for one of their yummy ice cream sodas so the walk up wasn't a total loss! It was a very exciting event in the neighborhood...Also wanted to thank Diana Gabriel DiFrancesco for that wonderful piece on "I Am A New Yorker" ... really enjoyed that one!

It's been a fabulous trip on this Heights Memories time machine".

From Galina Stafford Chandler, Bremerton, Washington "Just thanking you for a wonderful web site. I grew up on 164th between Broadway and Ft. Wash. Ave. Went to PS 169 (or was it 168). Memory lapse there. I know the school has since been torn down. Went to Stitt Jr. High in 1957 and then on GW. I did not graduate from there since I had to move. I have wonderful memories of the ole hood and I'm sure it has changed and evolved to a different kind of neighborhood. It's been 40 years since I lived there (I now live near Seattle), but it will always be home to me. In these unsettling and sad times, it's nice to think back on what seemed like simpler and safer times."

From From Chrysanne Page, Agoura Hills, California "This site is exquisite and so evoking of my early days in Washington Heights and since 9-11, I feel closer to the place than ever before. I grew up on 190th and Amsterdam Avenue. Our apartment overlooked Amsterdam Avenue where my sisters and I would watch the boats going up and down the Harlem River. And we could see all the way down to the Washington Bridge from our window. I remember how we cried when they took the trolley cars away and dug up the tracks for buses. And I remember looking down from our window to the men pouring coal into the furnace of our building. We loved to watch it pour and always yelled out to the men to sweep it all out and not miss a bit of it. Across Amsterdam was the playground, which stretched from 190th to 188th Street. In the winter the wading pool would freeze over and we could go ice-skating on it. Or we'd sled down the hill in the expanse of green directly across from our apt.

We went to St. Spyridon Church every Sunday and on the way home, my sister and I would always stop at the Horn & Hardart on 181st St. for some hot apple pie with vanilla sauce. And we loved Falcaro's pizza. I've never tasted a pizza like that since anywhere in the world. I could just go on and on with the joyous memories of Washington Heights. We were not wealthy, but we were rich with culture and affection for all ethnicities and religions. I feel so grateful that I came from this magical place. Thanks for this beautiful site!"

From Elliot, Plantation Florida "I grew up in two places in the Heights. The first was at 175th and Amsterdam. That was until I was 7 or 8. (I was born in 1947.) Then we moved to a "better neighborhood," on 173rd Street between Ft. Wash. and Bway. This was across from PS 173 and the schoolyard. I remember very little about the first place we lived. However, I do remember the "gang" activity and the "capeman" gang slaying. When we moved, I remember playing ball in the schoolyard. Spring, summers and early fall was for baseball. Football was for autumn and early winter. Sometimes we played basketball, but that was later on. Later on the park was fixed up and we played there as well, but most of the time we played in the schoolyard. I remember that there were softball games in the schoolyard on Saturday and Sunday mornings. They were played by the big kids/adults. They played for money. It was fast pitch, choose up. We picked up the bottles to get the 2 cents. I remember Mr. Corn who set up softball teams. This was in the late 50s or very early 60s. I moved to the West Bronx in 1965. Went to PS 173, JHS 115 and Stuyvesant. Met some good friends and fortunately recaptured some of them thru the net. I remember my times in High school when we hung out at "the wall," (before Pink Floyd). I remember hanging out with one of the friends that I just reconnected with at the Laundromat during that high school period. While I recognize that all the memories get somewhat jaundiced with age it seems that it sure was a good time. Thanks Washington Heights!"

From Harvey, Scottsdale, Arizona " I just read the latest entry from one of my childhood friends Elliot from Florida, so I thought I'd add a few lines as well. This web site is so cool, although the photos are a bit old even for me.I grew up on 175th Street between St. Nicholas and Audubon, on the same street as the Church of the Incarnation. Went to PS 173 JHS 115 and George Washington HS graduation in the class of January 1964.Went back to the old neighborhood (drove through and didn't stop) with my wife and son 2 years ago so they could see where I grew up. Bit different now than the 40's to mid 60's. Oh well, we all change right! We used to meet all our friends at "the wall" on Ft. Washington Avenue, it was unreal to think no one before Elliot wrote of "our wall"! I've been lucky to connect with several old friends from the Heights through 88 million names on CD ROM and Classmates. Com. What a neat way to meet old friends, who would have thought 30 plus years after the fact we'd meet over the net. We are now trying to setup a reunion for next fall (2002) possibly in sunny Florida among 5-6 of us. Anyway this has been fun and I hope others will write as well. Keep up the good work, it makes for good reading and reminiscing!

From Ellen (Chaim) Kracko :) "Thank you so much for the wonderful memories of "The Heights." What comes to mind, first and foremost, was "THE WALL." That's where we "teenagers" hung out. "The Wall" was the stone wall surrounding the J. Hood Wright Park on Ft. Washington Ave. "Our spot" was right across the street from P.S. 173. I can see it now, as if it were yesterday. Anytime we wanted to meet, we just told everyone "Meet you at the Wall." There was a whole group of us....boys and girls (Syl, Micki, Dean, Billy, Larry, Harvey, Joan, Richie, Ricky, Elliot, and later on more kids)...that hung out together. And in those days we walked all over the place....to 181 St. for ice cream, upstairs at The Tea Room.....to the 181 St. RKO to watch (in those days) two movies from the second balcony.....up Ft. Washington Ave. to Ft. Tryon Park where we hung out on the second lawn. When we got older, I remember walking across the George Washington Bridge to NJ and walking to Palisades Amusement Park. I also have memories of the old Horn and Hardart and The Tasty Pastry Shop (delicious danish) on Broadway around 178 St. I attended P.S. 173, J.H.S. 115, and GW (graduated l964). And I remember, during grade school at P.S. 173, going to, what was called in those days, "Summer School." But what it really was, was a form of camp for those of us who stayed home during the summer months. We played ping pong, knock-hocky, tag, outside games in the school yard, saw movies, went swimming in Highbridge Pool, had "talent day," and at the end of the summer all the city's schools got together at one of the schools for a huge "End of the Summer Festival." When I think back, I must admit.....growing up in Washington Heights was pretty good. I made alot of good friends, and I've recently started to re-connect with them via the internet. Actually, those were wonderful days.....carefree and stressfree. Thank you, again, for this great website."

From Carole Young Davidson "What a wonderful neighborhood Washington Heights was ! Do you remember the building on 188 or so that had nothing under it ? It was next to that park that went down to broadway. there was a great cobble stone drain that was good for sliding down on cardboard. calling for a friend meant standing under their windows and yelling their name. i just thought of those clothes driers in the kitchen , they were a metal frame with ropes going up and down to hang clothes on , and those little doors under the kitchen window, they were metal my parents kept oily rags in it. what did your parents put in yours ? It is fun to visit again in my head, be well god bless thanks for letting me post a message here."

From Renee Pipe Wallace, Maplewood, New Jersey "I spent my first twenty-two years in Washington Heights, initially on 173rd Street and Ft. Washington Avenue (right across the street from the park, as well as P.S. 173), later on 174th Street, between Wadsworth and St. Nicholas Avenues (we moved from a walk-up building to one with an elevator). My parents were European refugees, having escaped the Hitler onslaught, and having arrived in New York in 1940, with my brother in hand. Unfortunately, they left other family members behind, who were eventually murdered during the Holocaust. I was the first Yankee-Doodle-Dandy in the family (both on my mother's side as well as my father's side) to be born in the USA. Like so many immigrant families, my parents dreams rested squarely on the shoulders of their children. For as long as I can remember, the media has been griping about the quality of the education offered to New York's children. Based on the experiences of my friends and me, we got a quality education...in every respect. I went to P.S. 173. J.H.S. 115, George Washington H.S., and C.C.N.Y. Our teachers were dedicated and we were systematically taught how to think, how to behave, and how to contribute. Each of us, in his/her own right, came away from the New York City school system, the better for having been there. That certainly rang true for me. My most enduring memory of the Heights was the fact that children could meander through the streets with nary of thought that evil lurked behind dark alleys. Is it really possible that we went to the movies at the age of eight or nine, without our parents and we were safely watched over by the matrons in the RKO, the Lowe's (we called it the Lowies), or the compliment of small movie houses lining 181st Street or Wadsworth Avenue (right off 181st Street)? We played in the neighborhood parks, and our parents would check us from time to time, by merely looking out of their apartment windows, and whistling our family whistle. We took long walks, always to 181st Street (yes, Wertheimer's was a favorite stop), sometimes even further, to the Cloisters in Ft. Tryon Park. And we did this with our friends, and our parents weren't fearful to let us go. What innocent times those were. These days....can you imagine allowing six and seven year olds to play in a New York City park (even a suburban park), without adult supervision? We would be arrested for child neglect. But that's the way it was in the late '40s and early '50s in Washington Heights. And it was great."

From Steve Voloshin, Wappinger Falls New York "I lived in the Heights from my birth in 1943 till 1979. I first lived on 158th Street on Riverside Drive in the "red house" as they were called. Today the complex is a Co-op. We moved up to Fort George Hill in 1962, 1 year after I graduated from George Washington. I followed the normal path for kids in the HEIGHTS 169, Stitt and GW. Have great memories about growing up in Washington Heights, here are a few 25 cent Sat movies at the Loews Rio, great egg creams at Dave's on 158th street, great deli food at M and K on 162nd street. Going swimming in Highbridge or Miramar pools, walking to the Polo Grounds to see the Giants play. Seeing Alan Freed's show at the Loews 175th street. Hanging out at the wall on 161 street and Riverside drive and going sleigh ridding on Greenies. This ride usually landed you in the street with oncoming cars. Later on, getting my first legal drink at Maguires on 157th street and Broadway and later on some of the good bars along Broadway(Mullins, TGs Center and some more whose names I have forgotten) up into Inwood. Went back to the Heights about 4 years ago and walked from 157th street to 170th. It was an amazing trip to see how much things had changed and also trying to remember what stores use to be there."

Jim Neff from beautiful Vernon, Sussex Co. New Jersey. " Yes, I remember just about everything mentioned, from the Automat, to the 5 & 10 (Woolworths) &Five and Dime (Grants) to the fire on Easter Sunday, 1957 at Falcaros restaurant and bowling alley, that destroyed the entire northeast corner of 181st street, to the airplane up on 191st and St. Nick, ran out of St. Elizabeths church that Sunday morning to see it, I'm probably one of the kids in the photo! I especially remember that we did not need a car to do anything. everything was at our fingertips. A whole pizza pie was a buck, and life was good. The street you lived on was your "own little world" with your friends, and until you got older, you did everything right there. Went to 132, 115 and G Dub's, and had a ball. Thanks for great site.!!!!!!!!!"

Michael Bergman Rego Park Queens " just finished reading "personal memories of Washington Heights". that web site was sent to me as part of the G.W.class of 61 reunion mail. I lived in washington hts. from 1943 to 1967-went to both P.S.187 and George Washington H.S. and then on to CCNY in Harlem. I lived on Pinehurst ave between 181 st.and 183 st. this block was known as the "dead end " street as the road did not go through to 181 st. Instead there was a group of 3 flights of steps at the bottom of the pinehurst hill. This dead end street which was also a hill was great for winter sleigh riding and i have vivid memories of the big snow storm (I believe it was 1947-i was just 4 yrs. old). I remember Bennet park before it was remodeled. the ball field which was originally dirt now became paved over with some black gray asphalt surface. We played "Ring-a-leaveo"- this is my phonetic guess at the spelling. Other games included chicken fights , hiding go seek ,punch ball and last but not least skulzie with the bottle caps. We climbed the cliffs at fort tryon park, caught butterflies and grass hoppers in the vacant lot adjacent to p.s. 187 and looked for arrow heads and buried treasure in inwood park. Nedicks on 181 st. had the greatest hot dogs in the world. I remember the great times at Loews 175 st. There was a scale in that theater where you could get your weight for 1 penny and then you had a chance to win your penny back by playing a game on the scale. I remember the heights bowling ally and the colorful personalities that always were there. There was a guy named Homer who could always bowl great in a friendly game but who caved in all the time under pressure. Any way I could go on and on and if given the chance on future news letters i definitely will. One last note-that park on 173 street and fort washington ave was originally part of the Hood-Wright estate. I recently was able to buy many original photos of the heights from 1903-1925.they were taken by George Wheeler who was the city surveyor at that time. When I learn more about my newly acquired computer I will be glad to share those images.

Diana (Hopkins), Freehold, N.J. "Wow--what a find! Our years there: 1954-1963.. Until now, I could only share these memories with my sisters and brother...we all have a piece of the Heights and combine our various memories...Some of what I've read on the site is either not familiar or before my time. (I.E. V.J. day and the plane on 191st) But so much else evoked smiles and even laughter as my sister and I read together. For ex: The clothes dryers suspended from the kitchen ceiling...how about dumbwaiters that fetched the garbage and the "super" whose job it was. (At 247 Audubon, he was rather unfriendly and even a little scary) Instead of fishing for spauldines, fishing through grates to get the lost change below--with string and chewing gum! And yes we remember Mr. Pizza---a huge slice and a Coke for 25 cents. We also remember Grant's (Mom would make us wait while she shopped downstairs for curtains...torture!!) Albrecht's--a clothing store near Miles Shoe store...I remember shopping for "Angel blouses" and Ben Casey medical shirts. And nobody mentioned P.S. 132 across from Precinct 34. (Famous grad: Lou Gehrig) P.S. 115 diagonally across from our apt. building--boasted 52 nationalities amongst its student body. Our graduation ceremony was held at the RKO and we marched from 115 to the theater in caps and gowns. Class trips were made via the subway. One teacher and 32 kids on the subway (to the Museum of Natural History--every year it seemed.) And yet everything wasn't rosy--there were gangs-- "West Side Story" really resonated for us. We were insulated from it as best our parents could but it was there.

I can still remember watching the slightly older teens dancing the "Grind"---aptly named! We watched from the sidelines with mouths agape. And hearing them sing acapella doo-wop right outside our 1st floor window. ( Much to my father's dismay--he kept busy chasing them away.) And of course, the fire hydrant spraying into the streets till the cops came and turned it off--AGAIN!! One tense summer night, I watched the older boys running and retrieving sticks and other weapons from various hiding places as they set off for a fight somewhere--probably the "Rock Park" on Amsterdam Ave.

And does anybody remember the "Fordham Baldies"---I lived in mortal terror of these gang members who supposedly entered grade schools and cut off your hair??? Our grade school was rampant with rumors and inflamed imaginations and I was truly terrified for part of third grade. It was at least as real to me as the Taliban is today.

Another memory--Summer school and the "End of Summer Festival" Groups from all over the city participating in a dance where all the various groups snaked and zig-zagged around the playground of P.S. 173. Another:" R-A-T---T-L-E---S-N-A-K-E spells RATTLESNAKE-"-A sidewalk game we used to play--hands joined and singing and looping between the joined hands...Nobody has ever recalled this game...

Well---thanks for the opportunity to stroll down memory lane...I treasure so much the diversity of the Heights--Greeks, Chinese, Jewish, Black , Puerto Rican. It gave me such a good beginning and I believe it taught me to appreciate the differences between us all. Being a blend of Puerto Rican and "WASP" or "Wasp-a-Rican" as a friend called me I am happy to celebrate my diversity and everyone else's. Regards to fellow "Heightsters"

Linette, Wilmington Delaware "enjoyed reading all the great stories about an area of the city that I had such fond memories of. My family moved to 247 W. 177th Street in 1954. We left the city in 1963. The things that I remember best were, the hot summer days when the older boys would open up the fire hydrants and if you left your windows open (even on the higher floors) you would come home to a very wet apartment. They would cut both ends out of a can and direct the water toward their target. Snow Cones ! High Bridge park was near our apartment. We had a Great Dane and would take him there to get some exercise. My mother was from Puerto Rico and my dad was from Washington State. We always had a melting pot of family and friends in our apartment. In our building, on the corner was a drug store with a soda fountain. You could get Cherry Cokes and egg creams. Big lollipops were 5 cents. All the kids on our block played games like Johnny ride the pony, Freeze tag, Hide the belt, Red light - Green light and we tried to jump rope through the day and into the night. The first floor tenants usually put an end to that. The building that we lived in was a beautiful building with an elevator and marble hallways. There was a front entrance where at one time the doorman stood. Doormen were long gone when we lived there. The middle hallway was huge, with a faux fireplace in it and what used to be fancy lights. There was a third part to the entranceway that was 3 walls of mirrors. The stairs were great for sliding down and under them were the mailboxes. A great place for little girls to play. It is sad that they buildings ran down the way they did. It would be lovely to see someone come in and restore them to their original beauty. Did anyone have Mrs. Rowan, Mrs. Mainzer, Mrs. Goldstein, Mrs. Leshney (I am not sure of the spelling)? They were the teachers that I remember having. Especially Mrs. Rowan (tortured me) and Mrs. Goldstein (best teacher).

Jim Theobald, Riverdale Bronx "My family were Heights nomads, living in four different locations in the Heights. We first lived at 312 Haven Ave. between 179th and 180th street. We were forced to move due to the construction of the lower level of the George Washington Bridge. We moved temporarily to 664 West 179th street until we were asked to vacate that location for the same reason. We then moved to 238 Fort Washington Avenue, between 169th and 170th street. This all occurred in the span of about 18 months in 1958-1959.Around 1965 we were induced to relocate from the first floor to the sixth floor at 238 Ft.Wash because Columbia Presbyterian Hospital wanted to use the lower floors of the building for offices. I have fond memories of each location. My folks must have also loved the Heights to have endured so much uprooting and to have remained in the neighborhood. My three brothers and I all attended Incarnation School (I graduated in 1964) and went to the Day Camp. The "wall" that I knew was in Highbridge park down from 175th St. What a great neighborhood! At least 5 movie theaters, Como's pizza, Mr. Pizza, Cushman's bakery, Alpine bakery, Woolworth's, Wertheimer's, stickball, punchball, slug, curb ball, homemade scooters, clamp roller skates, roller hockey, the Incarnation Bazaar, the Good Humor Truck, Bungalow Bar, Highbridge pool, coal deliveries, etc. etc. I wish I could go back in time."

Renee, " I was born and raised at 516w184st . I had three brothers and one sister I remember Vassal's, candy store 183rd and Audubon. Paul's grocery, at 184th and Audubon. As a little girl I delivered groceries for Paul. I was a bit of a tomboy, it was great for tips. I would get a tip plus all the deposit bottles I could carry. I also remember Spotless Cleaners. Bodenstein's bakery, Yale drug store, and Bernie's candy store at 184st&St Nick the best egg creams...my email is renee.shee@verizon.net"

Lillian Ramirez Theophanis, Choconut, Pa. "I lived at 514 W. 177th St. during the mid-forties to 1964. I've been trying to reestablish a connection with the residents of Washington Heights for several years. I got as far as re-connecting with some of my graduation classmates at Cabrini High School through classmates.com. But the closest I got to 177th St. was a web site about the Library on 178th. The next time I visit this site, I will include some old neighborhood photos in my message, including some taken on "tar beach". Maybe some of my old friends will recognize the place, the time and the people. Who remembers the trolley tracks on Amsterdam Ave., the rock park that ran along Amsterdam Ave. for several blocks, the Italian restaurant on 181st St. where you could watch the pizza dough fly up in the air and back into the cook's hands as it became thinner and thinner. Who has ever tasted better pizza since then?" Or, how about the bridge to the Bronx where the Beacons had their garrison belt and zip-gun confrontations with the Bronx "social clubs", the stick ball games in the street, the doo-wop groups at the block party in front of Incarnation School or one of the little parks on the Heights, the Diablos on 176th St. And what about the tempting smell of black and white cookies, Napoleons and other baked delight,s as you passed the bakery, on the way home from Church. Some of the names I remember are: the Donovans (Lorraine and Eileen were the Irish beauties of the neighborhood) , the Koumparoulis' (their Dad was the Shoemaker on 178th St.), the Lietke's (Ruth was our Superintendent and Theresa was my best friend for a few years; I even visited her uncle's house which looked like the inside of a ship), the Hooks from across the street and the funny way those kids would give themselves "nouggies". One of them lost an eye trying to make a firebomb. I just remembered the way some of the wilder Beacons would go out on Halloween, build a fire across the width of the street to stop traffic, and drop a stuffed dummy they had hung from the lamp post just to scare the dickens out of drivers. That's it, for now. I've got enough memories to write a book."

James Nicholas, Dumont NJ "This is a wonderful web site. So many of us have scattered from our old neighborhood. It's good that we can come together at this site and remember what things were like in one of the best areas to grow up during the 1950's and earlier. I have some photographs of the Heights that I'm converting from slides to prints and hope to share with you. I have two which I can share now. I was born in Wadsworth hospital in 1943. It stood on the northside of 185 street between St. Nicholas Ave. and Wadsworth Ave. Later an A&P opened on the other side of the street. Luckily I took a photo before its demise years later.

I went to P.S. 189, George Washington H.S. and C.C.N.Y. I was a member of Fort George Presbyterian Church and had perfect attendance for 7 years in its Sunday School. I enclose a photo of its beautiful structure at the corner of 186 street and St. Nicholas Avenue. I remember going to Hobbyland at 182 street and St. Nicholas Ave. It had toys, and modeling kits of all kinds. I've always been a movie fan and the Heights had ample theaters to attend. Loew's 175th, the RKO Colosseum, the Lane and the Heights were movie theaters I remember. Hope to share more memories in the future.

Little James in 1945. St. Nicholas Ave. in the background. Only 3 cars between 186th & 191st street!

Shirley (Rosenthal) Renner New York " I am told by family members that was one of the last babies to have been born at Wadsworth Hospital on 185th Street between St. Nicholas and Wadsworth Avenues. The schools I attended were P. S. 173, JHS 143 (Eleanor Roosevelt) and George Washington High School It is a shame that the places that I and family members had frequented are no longer in business such as Nelson's Deli at 170th & Broadway, Tasty Pastry Bakery on Broadway, Greenspan's Luggage, Merit Farms and others. Remaining in Washington Heights after marriage was surprising to me but not regretted. Washington Heights was and still is the perfect place to live"

Fred Strauss New York I enjoyed your website and am pleased to attach some of my own memories of a great area.
















Thanks for putting this together to give us an opportunity to share memories."

Bob Cunningham Milford CT "Thanks for the memories! Anyone remember the Cunningham brothers:Bob, Larry and Gerard from 163rd and St. Nicholas Ave? Krugers ice cream parlor on l64th and Broadway - Kent House on l65th southwest corner. We played stickball on l64th St. by St.Rose of Lima School. On Sunday after church we went bowling at Falcaros. My wife Claire lived on l64th between Broadway and Fort Washington Ave. We were married in 1956 at St. Rose of Lima Church and now live in Milford, Ct. Love the website!"

Roxanne and Diana Gabriel "Thanks for a fantastic website! What memories I and my family have of Washington Heights from the 40's until the 60's. We all lived on 164th St. and B'way. Does anyone remember Mr. Lou's candy store, or PIGEON PARK? P.S. 169 and P.S. 128 were our schools and we were darn proud to be a part of them. How 'bout the famous doll hospital on Broadway and about 176th? Does anyone remember the name of the hospital? How about those cherry cokes at the corner candy store? Remember Exel Bakery on B'way and 164?? Any memories to share? We also loved Como's pizza on 169 and B'way? Did anyone play "Chinese School " or Potsy on the sidewalk ? Have you ever crossed that intersection between B'way and St. Nick, near Medical Center using the subway entrances to get to school??? How about "Ring -a-leev-ee-o"?

Ever share a pickle and pickle juice out of 25 cent plastic bags? And yes, we do remember the wax bottles of "toxic" liquid which was just fabulous. How 'bout Teresa Pharmacy with Mr. Newman, which still runs full throttle today? Anyone recall Christy, the bus driver who faithfully got us to P.S. 128? Ever sign autographs at grade school gradution?

My grandmother used to play BINGO at the Audobon Ballroom. What about the San Juan Spanish movie theater on 166th? Did you all know the late Freddie Prinze, Sr. grew up on 155th Street? He and I shared a pediatrician - Dr. Jim Farley. Another legendary - Tiny Tim - resided at 163rd and was always seen walking the Heights each evening, replete with ukelely tucked under his arm. Does anyone recall him dressed all in black, way ahead of his time -and humming all the while pleasantly humming and chatting with all who would listen.

Does anyone recall the large, old, red brick building which was the school for the deaf? It seemed it was right around the corner from us on Ft. Wash.? What about Mother Cabrini Hospital? These and so many other memories are a lifetime's worth of nostalgia we, as a family remember with wonderful and loving thoughts. If you went to PS 128/169 - or Stitt/Wadleigh, please respond. Any GW grads out there? St. Rose of Lima was another great landmark, and one school not yet mentioned in this site as of yet.

This was, by far, the greatest neighborhood in the country, bar none. Where else could you be assured of a trusted dumbwaiter in your kitchen???

Keep up the good work! Thank you! thank you!

Hank DeEsposito "I grew up In the Heights from the late 30s, to the early 50s. I lived at 819 West 180 St. Between, Cabrini Blvd. and Pinehurst ave, My grammar school was PS 132.

As I am writing this e-mail, we are putting together a reunion of the old group! If Nanny or Poppy see this, as well as Leslie Thomas, we are looking for you!!! Please get I touch with me ( casey4@ptd.net ) Or call me at ( 570-421-6646 ). Thank You! And Thank You for this great web site, and as the word gets around about It, I'm sure that you will fill the barrel!

My father had a butcher shop on St. Nicks & 178St. called " Bill's Market " from 1946 to about 1975. Whowould ever forget High Bridge Pool, with the changing benches and the wire baskets that we would put our clothes Into, and in exchange we got a rubber band and tag to put around our ankle, The good old days! I will write again, and look again to see If I see any one that I know, I found one, Richard O'Prey, But to be fair, he told me about this site!

Rebecca from Connecticut " I grew up on 173rd Street between St. Nick and Audubon Ave, I went to P.S. 173, Humbolt Jr. High 115 and for awhile to GW High, I then moved to California for awhile then back to the heights where I lived on 171st between Ft. Washington and Haven Ave and I worked at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, until my son was 10 and we moved to Connecticut. I have many friends from the Heights that I still keep in touch with, my friend Ada Ramirez and Gloria Roosov and Diane Malave. I have lost friends who I grew up with in the heights and I try and visit once a month. I have read many of you say, the Heights as we knew it is no longer there, it has changed considerably in many, many ways. For those of you who I know Hi and for those of you who I do not remember Hi anyway, my maiden name was Breisblatt and I lived in Washington Heights from 1946 until 1975 with a small foray to living on 76 th street in New York. rebeccadelio@earthlink.net"

Ann Chai Chan Ft Lauderdale Florida "What fond memories I have of "The Heights". I lived there from the early 30's to '46 when I got married. I used to live across the street from GWHigh. Then we moved to 709 W 178th St. between Ft. Washington Ave. and B'way. The Port of Authority built the bus terminal and my Mom and Dad had to move to 179th St. alongside the GW bridge, then they tore that down and they finally moved to Bennet Ave. near 190th St. I went to PS 173 and PS 115. My younger sister and brother went to Incarnation.

I remember all the names of the movie theaters in the neighborhood except one. It was on St. Nicholas Ave. near 176th St., just up the block from Incarnation. We used to get passes from the 34th Precinct and spend all day Sat. there watching movies...and Buck Rogers. There was a wonderul pastry shop near that theater, and a special treat was to get napoleons and eclairs. Someone said it was the Ogden, but I'm not sure.I remember Loew's, The Coliseum, The Heights, Lane, Gem, Empress, Uptown near the hospital on 168th St. and the Audubon Theater where they had the Andrews Sisters one week-end.
Summers were spent at the "Y" on Broadway where we learned crafts. Walks to the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park on Sundays, and sitting in the park overlooking the Hudson. We also walked across the GW bridge to Ft. Lee and back. There was always so much to do in "The Heights". I also remember taking the trolley on Broadway on a hot summer day with the cane seats and the sides open with a grille, and sitting on the top of the open bus that would go down Fort Washington Ave. to Fifth Ave. Only a nickel in those days. I remember when Orson Welles had that scary radio program about. I remember when Orson Welles had that scary radio program about aliens invading the country and landing near Palisades Park. We all went up to the roof to see if we could see them. My Dad laughed at us, he was the only one that was "onto" the whole show.

Shopping on 181st St. was the greatest with all the stores. I did all my Christmas gift shopping at Woolworth's. They used to sell those tiny bottles of perfume for a quarter. My Mom used to send me to Daitch's because they had the best milk with cream on top in glass bottles. I would go to either store, one on 181st or the one on Broadway near 168th if I wanted to "dawdle". The hot dogs at Nedicks on 181st and Broadway were the best, then there was a little shop next door to it on Broadway that sold Charlotte Russes. My sister met her future husband at the bowling alley down near the IRT on St. Nicholas and 181st St. Was it Cafaro's? My Mother should have known she went there !!! I would have been "grounded".
One of our greatest pastimes was to sit on the stoop and watch the cars come off the bridge and down our street on the holidays...the Fourth of July was the best. We would count all the cars with out of state plates. The super let us have the basement for our Halloween parties. We learned to dodge cars at an early age since the street was our playing ground aside from the park on 173rd St. It was a wonderful place to live and bring up kids. My Mother never locked the door 'til we were all in our beds for the night. I played with Italian, Greek, Irish and Jewish kids, never a fight, except with the boys who picked on the girls. We were told never to go to Amsterdam Ave., the kids were "too tough". My sister drove me through "The Heights" back in the 70's and I could have cried at seeing how my beautiful old neighborhood had changed. I couldn't get out of there fast enough....and I never went back."

Patsy Riordan Petridis, Spring Hill, Florida "Yes, I, too grew up in Washington Heights on 169th Street. We used to play in the street on 169 St. between Audubon & St. Nick. To close the street off from traffic - the school (OLD PS 169) had a sign cemented in a round ball that could be rolled out and in to keep the kids safe and stop the traffic during school days and hours. Well, that sign was rolled out, by us, even after school was out- to keep the cars from using the street. The street was our private roller derby street or stick ball street. Thanks for all the memories and pictures of the old neighborhood."

Bob Heller Washington DC . "I am 75 and a retired bureaucrat. My earliest years were at 1560 Amsterdam Ave and 137st where my father was Boy's Director of the Hebrew orphan Asylum across from the late Lewisohn Stadium which was part of CCNY. I attended PS 193 of which I have fond memories .
In 1940 my family consisting of my parents, myself and a younger brother moved to Ft. Washington Ave in the heights. I attended PS 187 of which the less said the better. However, from 1941 to 1945 I attended George Washington High School before enlisting in the naval reserve. I found the school to be a warm and stimulating place despite a few inept teachers . There were two good ones whose names come to mind. They were a Mr. Foley who taught English and inspired many. In addition there was a Ms. Gottesman who taught History . I worked on the school paper The Cherry Tree . The school principal in the main building was an intelligent woman who also wrote the school fight song as we had many teams . In the first year we went to the Ishem Annex near Inwood and later we went to the main building. I remember the following names Glenn, Fineberg, Robbins Schnieder , Berlin, Ethel Pendergast , Ilsa Kopf, Mickey Chernin , Joan Pollock

My fondest memories are that of Ft Tryon Park, The George Washington Bridge, tennis courts at Riverside Drive and the movies and arcade on 181 street. In the latter was a second hand book store where I first went to gaze at the lurid magazine covers . Later, the owner took an interest in me and loaned me Joyce's Ulysses, which became a life long passion that later took me to Dublin. After college at the universities of Illinois and Michigan I returned to NYC and lived in the Village. I am divorced with three daughters. My address is 2514 K. St NW , Washington DC 20037 and my number is 202 333 7419 - HLLR 93 @ AOL . Com".

"My mind is flooded with so many memories of Wash. Hts. back in the 40s and 50s. I lived there from the late 1930s until 1959. The WALL on upper Riverside Dr. between 161st and 162nd Sts. was where everyone congregated on those hot summer nights before anyone had air-conditioning. It was the focal point of our lives where boys met girls or boys argued
over baseball with the other guys. I went to PS 169, JHS 164 (Stitt) and GWHS where future major-leaguer Arnie Portocarrero pitched. I was strictly a sports nut and one of the few B'klyn Dodger fans living in the neighborhood for which I took a lot of flak. Soon to be famous people from the Height in those days included
Max Frankel, NY Times Editor; Jules Bergman, ABC-TV; Mannie Kirschheimer and Elliot Kastner of film fame; Tiny Tim (Herbert Khoury), Jacques D'Amboise, ballet; Abie Grossfeld, gymnast, Louis Kampf of MIT, and the Kalb brothers
of TV news fame...there were so many others that I can still remember and see. I was an observer on the scene in those days so maybe not many people would remember me. Hopefully, some of you out there will recognize my name and get in contact on this web-site. I'll write another day and add some more memories of days gone by."

Monte Florida and New York "Hi, I lived in Washington Heights from 1943-1968, and have all sorts of memories to share. I just discovered your website through my friend Henry Fromm. I lived on Riverside Drive at 159th Street (860 Riverside Drive) from about 1945 to 1965. I went
to PS 169, JHS 115 (which I later taught at), and George Washington HS.
Does anybody remember me? I remember everything you all spoke about!
Please contact me via mandagreen2000@yahoo.com, or I can be reached at (352) 751-0676 (Florida) until June 30, and then in New York at (631) 288-4524.

Dorothy (Fiege) Goddard, Wilmington, Delaware "Just got back home from attending the 50th Reunion of the June 1952 class at GW. It was wonderful. We had about 45 grads (about 10%) but since this was really our very first BIG reunion, that wasn't too bad. We all agreed that we were fortunate indeed to have received such a good education in New York City. The next day, four of us took a drive up to the old neighborhood. It was very crowded, very busy, very changed as far as the stores were concerned but it didn't look bad at all! I had heard horror stories about the changes but to me, it was still "The Heights". The high school, of course, is still one of the most beautiful in the city with its tall tower and marble lobby. Our PS 189 is still there and has grown. The huge schoolyard is gone now and has been replaced with an extension of the building. Fort George Church still has those bright red doors. The movies on 181st (the Lane, the Gem and the Empress) are gone but the Coliseum is now a multiplex. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. And, even though the street signs for St. Nicholas Avenue now share the poles with signs that say Jose Duarte Boulevard, they haven't been totally replaced. I received an email from a fellow graduate who advises us all to take a ride up to the Fort Tryon Park area. Apparently, the Generation X'ers have rediscovered the area and are turning it into a myriad of little shops and cafes and reconditioned buildings. Claims it will be well worth the trip! Just wanted to let you all know that our roots are still strong and The Heights is still there! Changed, yes. But still there! "What you are is where you were, when."

Dorothy {Bennett} Barry Schroon Lake, NY "The memories are so wonderful. I was raised on 567 west 186 St. There were the Kunzigs, Klines, Ternian, Tice, Middletons, Stano, so many more I can't remember them all. We had officer Joe to make sure we did nothing wrong. Talking about the Irish dances, and rockaway. Anyone remembers Miss Duffy from 189. Walking up those steps to Mother Cabrini, or that steep hill in the winter. How about Bodensteins bakery Sunday after mass. I used to work at the 5&dime 1952 to 1954. In the summer we would all go to orchard beach and pray we would get back in time to go to work. Anyone remember St. Elizabeth on the bottom of the hill. Then the fire .We used to take any thing we could find and slide down the hill just as the light changed. How about Fr. Wilde taking us from 189 to Sunday school".

Mike Spalding Seattle WA "What a great forum! I too grew up in post WW II Washington Heights and was happy to find this forum that brought back such fond memories of the old neighborhood. I was from Wadsworth Avenue near 189th Street, and went to PS 189, and George Washington HS. I guess, as we get older, we all yearn for the simpler times of our youth. It's great to find that there are others like myself.
Are there any out there that remember PS 189 in the 50's. Who remembers Mrs. Fleisher, Mr. Yungerman, Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Curry, Mrs. Lucy, Mrs. Reich, Mrs Levy, Mrs. Horowitz, Mrs. Samuels, Mrs. Heiler, Mr. Wagner, Mr. Gross, Mr. Silver, and Mr. Curzon, ?? Teastie's ice cream parlor (remember the fat bookie who did his business from the phone booth)? Dave's delicatessen, Stahl's and Asbell's drugstore, the Farmery, Katz's cleaners, the Balkan Bakery. Karls candy store, Rosens Deli, Ralph's fresh vegetables and fruits. Franks Barbershop, Doctor Scheuer and his Abe Lincoln collection, the old bagelman who sold bagels to school children on the corner of Audobon avenue. I could go on and on..
Thanks to all of you for the memories you rekindled!"

Joe Katzenstein, Englewood NJ "I too lived at 155 and if Mr. Gomez mentioned earlier is the "jacky" gomez whom I used to play within the 1940s, glad to be reunited with u in cyberspace. Didn't u have a sister named Nelda? Directly opposite 155 was the convent for Incarnation Church on 175th & St.Nick. I remember one Friday, playing with johnny gunning who lived in 155. suddenly up the street comes a Sabrett frankfurter cart, yellow, red & blue with the umbrella covering the wagon, big wooden wheels. Johnny darts out to the cart, purchases a frank and says to me "stand in front of me", being hidden on one side by the "stoop", he crouches down and downs the "dog". He sheepishly, explains afterwards that he didn't want to be seen by the nuns, across the street, eating meat on friday. This little jewish boy was an accomplice in him committing a sin. On Audubon ave, from time to time, various peddlers, ringing bells, would ply their trade. there was the "knife-sharpening" man who carried his grinding wheel on his back. I remember a an organ grinder with a little dancing, monkey walking the street or a man soliciting old clothes and calling out "Pay cash too". On the first floor of our house (155), there lived an Italian family, who were in the ice business. Remember well the dad picking up large blocks of ice and grinding them in a chopping machine on the back of his truck. He supplied bars, fish stores, etc. I suppose there were people who still had good old ice boxes instead of refrigerators. One item sticks out clearly in my memory. Anyone else remember that there was a Jumel Laundry in lower Washington Heights which operated horse drawn wagons for delivery , still in the 1940s?

How about stick ball in the street - watch out for cops who were always at least 6 feet or more tall - toss the broomsticks under parked cars until they passed. Scooters made of 2 x 4s, apple or orange crates and roller skates. Who remembers sweet, colored liquids in wax containers which you would bite into and chug down. Flipping cards, baseball, newspaper repro cards against the stoop. Melting wax crayons into bottle caps and playing a sidewalk game with the "board" outlined in chalk.(forgot the name of the game) Playing and trading glass marbles- probably worth a fortune today on the collectors market. Here's another one from the memory bank. The ashes from the coal furnaces were spread on the streets in winter to help in traction. Went to the park on 173rd St and Ft. Wash quite often as my dad had a store on 174th & Broadway called Gift Center.

Recall now the kiosk in the back which sold ice cream, pretzel sticks (2/5c) & other sweets. Name of the park is J. Hood Wright. Actually met my wife there when we hung-around there in the late '50s & early '60s. She went to PS 173 and GWHS. We lived on Bennett Ave from 1963 until 1971, when we moved to Rockland County with 3 girls. In 1951 our family moved to 180th and St. Nick.

And who can forget 181st Street and Wertheimers. I remember that at Christmastime there was a store santa & for a quarter a parent or grandparent would pay, a child would get a small present from Santa. I also remember an elderly guard that wore a doormans uniform that watched the baby carriages outside the entrance. The above pics were taken on 181st Street in the mid-forties and show that trollies once ran on that street. It's been a fabulous trip on this Heights Memories time machine".

Arlene (Fried) Schlaeger Larchmont, NY "My memories of Washington Heights (173, The Wall, schoolyard, candy stores, and good friends) are some of the warmest and most wonderful in my life. It was a real neighborhood where almost everyone knew each other and saying hello to people on the street was commonplace. I can remember so many faces as if it were yesterday. I think about the Tea Room on 181st where we all would hang out after a date. I think of spending 3 hours in Woolworth's with my girlfriends, Evelyne Kellner, Stephanie Hamburg etc. browsing through records, "jewelry", makeup and having a ball. After that we would stop in the Pizza Parlor on 181 and St. Nick Ave. Mr. Werthheimer from the butcher store on 175 and bway would always wave to me as I walked by and tell me to smile. I remember when the supermarket on 175 by Loews was a car showroom. Evelyne Kellner Goldberger and I have found each other again after 30 years. We still sing the songs from our 6th grade operetta "Pirates of Penzance" and talk about what a beautiful voice Drora Plautt had. It was just yesterday.... wasn't it? Arlene Schlaeger R.J. Palmer 917.344.5390"

Janet Levy (Loewenberg) White Plains, NY "Growing up in the Heights from 1947 until I married and moved away in 1968 was a wonderful experience. I grew up on Bennett Avenue and went to P.S. 152, JHS 52, GW and CCNY. When I think of the Heights I see Fort Tryon Park where I spent a great deal of time playing with friends or climbing the rocks to get up to Ft Washington Ave to play in the playground. Sundays with family walking through the park and stopping for an afternoon treat at the restaurant. I think of lots of other children always available to play street games. Learning to ride my bike up and down Bennett. Playing ball when the street was closed to traffic from 191st to 190th near the little park on Bennett. Going to the movies on Saturday mornings at the RKO 181st St. I think of laughter, friends and feeling safe in the old neighborhood."

Lenny Roos, Long Island, NY "I grew up on Cabrini Blvd and attended P.S. 187 from 1960 onward. Then I went to J.H.S. 52. My memories of Washington Heights are very fond ones. It seems as though P.S.187 was much more like a private school today than a public school. We had to line up outside the building quietly before they let us in. I remember the pride we all shared during the "melody in may" performances we put on every year. We had a 5th and 6th grade orchestra which included violins, clarinets, flutes and piano. For 11 and 12 year olds we sure sounded good. Who can forget our teacher Mr. Jerry Alter. Our schoolyard was the center of my universe. We played stickball, softball, football and basketball there from dawn till dusk. Taking our sleds to Ft. Tryon park after a snowstorm to go down "suicide hill" was incredible. Most of our teachers at P.S. 187 were veteran strict "Irish" women. Mrs. Bohrer, Mrs. MsDermott and Mrs. Ryan just to name a few were tough on us but they were superior to most of the teachers my son has had during his school years. We were a busride away from Yankee Stadium. I remember my mother taking me to Ladies Day games where she paid only 50 cents to get in. When we went to J.H.S. 52 in Inwood on Dykman St. we felt like fish out of water even though it was only 20 blocks from our neighborhood. It truly was a time of innocence. After all these years thinking about it now still brings a smile to my face. If I could, I would get on the A Train, buy a and stickball bat and go to the schoolyard and choose up a game."

John Steffens Tucson Arizona "I went to Ft. George also. My mother was around the Heights when Ft. George was built. I was about 4 years old (1946) when we started going regularly. I went there until I went into the Army in 1962. Mr. Hubble (a relative of Carl Hubble) was the Sexton. Mrs. Cody got me my first real job. Mr. Lemke did the printing. Tom Moe taught us to play pool later at the Teen Canteen. Ben Smith was the Sunday

School Superintendent and also the Scoutmaster of Troop 724. I lived on 176th St (514) and joined Cub Pack 716 at Incarnation (Mr.Edmunds was the Cubmaster). About a year later Pack 724 started at Ft. George so I moved there. I don't remember all of the names from the Pack except for the Rojas family. Mr. Smith was the Scoutmaster and I remember most of the names from the Troop and my Patrol (Iroquios (sic) and Eagles). I am still in touch with Brian Molloy and have an e-mail address for Joey Martin. Bob Macomber married my sister Susan and Ricky Stickle married my other sister Judy. I married a Heights girl (Carol Guth) and we have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. I could name a whole bunch of the gang that hung out with the Scouts, Teen Canteen, Choir or Sunday School (but I won't unless asked).

Barbara I. Winter, Florida "I was born in 1941 and lived at 728 West 181st Street and attended P.S. 132. We moved to Long Beach, L.I. in September of 1951 when I was about to start 5th Grade and my sister was in 8th Grade. I was born in Wadsworth Hospital and our family doctor was Charles Popovitch whose office was in a Bldg on 184th Street. I lived up the hill from Bickfords, The Harlem River Savings Bank and across the street from the RKO Coliseum... I was only ten when we moved, but I certainly remember the Trolley Train and Tracks, and Mr. Greene in the Vegetable store on Broadway, and Mr. Roth in the record shop next to my building, 728 West 181st just below the subway entrance...and I especially remember playing with my cousins in the subway tunnel on Overlook Terrace...and walking to school with friends who lived on Bennett Ave...and Mr. Roberts in the Drug Store across the street from my building. And I just remembered huge "feet" being painted on the sidewalk on the way to the RKO in anticipation of the movie "The Thing"...I guess I could go on and on. like remembering one of the Rosenberg's son being in my class...those were such simple and good times...and then along came "West Side Story"..which changed everything. I was at a "Yiddish" concert today here in Florida and started talking to the women sitting next to me...Guess what? She grew up in the Heights and attended the "Y" and took tap, ballet and toe dancing. Thanks for bring back many, many old memories.

Diana Gabriel DiFrancesco Plymouth, Mass. "Just read the entry by Bob Cunningham of Milford, Ct. -- sounds like we're from the same "Block" and the same era. Yes, I remember Kruger's -- do you remember "Polo Pies?" I lived at 610 W. 164th St., between Bway and Ft. Washington from the early '40's to late 50's -- wonder if your wife Claire was a classmate of mine at GW? Also went to P.S. 169 (later 168, I believe). Do you remember a wonderful delicatessen on164th and Amsterdam? It was owned by my good friend's parents -- Herman and Anna Wacker. My friend's name was Irmgard. Did you or your wife know Kirby Warren or the Gardner family who lived at 618? This site is too good to be true. Feels like a big reunion every time I click on. Just keep those memories coming.

Any of you out there who would be interested in an All Class Reunion of GWHS graduates, please let me know. The Alumni Association of GW is trying desperately to raise funds to continue to support our school. Send me an email at "DGavrilis2@aol.com." Would love to hear from you!"

Steve Voloshin Wappinger Falls NY "Thanks for a great website. I had written in before but had lost the website address. In reading all the comments that everyone has written, there is one constant in all and that is the stores in Washington Heights. In almost every entry there is some mention of certain stores. Back in the 40s, 50s and 60s in the Heights stores had a unique identity partially because of what they sold and also because of the shopkeepers. In today's age every store seems the same, every mall is also the same, in fact all the employees in the stores also seem the same. The stores of our youth had identity.

I would like to mention some stores that I remember in Washington Heights. Since I was born and raised on 158th Street and Riverside Drive I will concentrate on stores in the 150s and 160s..See how many you can remember.

On 156th Street on the East side of Broadway was Hornsteins where you could buy bats balls and all the latest board games like all-star baseball..On 157th Street and the westside of Broadway was Rexall Drugs and the big newsstand on the corner. Going up the block was Ernies Supermarket before the days of the big Supermarkets. Imperial deli Lambos florist (whose daughter was a teacher at Stitt) . Around the corner on 157th Street was Dubins Cleaners where I worked delivering clothes. On 158th St. there was Venus Hosiery a store owned by my friends parents and Viim drug store. Going up to 160th St. was the Lowes Rio. On the Eastside of 162nd St. was Spectors and on the Westside was Slotkins Deli. On 164th Street Excell bakery, going to 165th there was Freddie's Record store and right next store was the Silver Palm. Across the street form the hospital by the bus station was White Tower (much better the White Castle) and right next to PS 169 was Rands who sold bags of greasy but great tasting French Fries. On the Westside was another restaurant called the GOLDEN AGE. Going up to 170th was Como Pizza and the Uptown Theater. All of theses establishments had a uniqueness about them form the owners to the merchandise. Another reason why it was great to grow up in Washington Heights."

Wolfgang "Johnny" Rauner Flushing NY "My family moved to 187th Street in September1941, just about 3 months after we arrived on these blessed shores, escaping from Hitler's Europe. We were one of the many refugee families who settled in Washington Heights, giving the community the popular nickname 'The Fourth Reich.' My parents were lucky enough to get a 3rd floor walkup apt.#36 in 572W187th St. right next to the Armenian Church. It was the beginning of the school year and I was put in class5a, with my teacher, Miss Willard. I was nearly 13yrs old, but spoke no English as yet. By 5b, the second half of the year, I was promoted to Mrs. Fulton's class. By now my English had improved enough for me to win 3rd place in the annual spelling Bee, against the 6th &7th grade. I still proudly show my bronze medal to my grandchildren. I remember that year we put on a class play about the Panama Canal in which I had the part of Col. WalterReed. I had to wear a pith helmet, and with my limited knowledge of English, the teacher had to convince me that pith was a perfectly acceptable word. Going on to 6th and 7th grade I had Miss Sugar, Mr.Cox and Miss Draddy. I don't remember in which order. In my last year I had Mr.Draddy her brother, who made us learn to remember all 32 presidents. He must have done a good job, I remember them still. Up till Roosevelt. The Principal at that time was Mr.Chenkin, a virtual god, whom you rarely saw. The Asst.Principal, Mr. Gussow, did all the dirty work. He was the terror. At least in my little refugee eyes.
These were the war years. We all were very patriotic. Every week those who could afford it brought in a quarter to buy a war stamp. They were pasted in a book and when the book was full you got a War Bond. I wasn't one of those who could afford that kind of money, so I contributed to the war effort in other ways. I still have the award certificate I got for collecting waste paper. I also collected scrap aluminum.

I was especially proud, because I had two older brothers who served in the army overseas. My parents proudly displayed our two star flag in the front window, for all
to see. Our patriotism was also shown in other ways. Samuel Davis, Henry
Stern and I were the artistic ones in the class, so we were given the project to paint a patriotic mural in the back of the classroom. I remember it well. My subject was of heroic American GI with one foot on the throat of a despised Jap and a bayonet sticking in his chest. My reward for that was one extra ticket to the graduation. Some of the kids in my class, some friends that I remember were the Greek kids from 189th and Audubon Ave. Andrew Andrews and Thucy Vagelos. Manos Kypar and Serge Suny from 187th st. Mostly I remember the pretty girls, the unreachable ones as far as I was concerned. Especially Aphie Lamdos the little Greek Aphrodite. There was Elliot Butler and Eugene Plant, Ruthelaine Macomber .AH, O so many, so many years ago. We were all so innocent then.

Graduation Day from P.S. 189 in June of 1943

Most went on to G.W. High school. I went on to School of Industrial Art, Henry Stern and Samuel Davis went to HS of Music and Art.
Every day we went home for lunch. No school lunches for us. Lunch was
a package of Yankee Doodles and a glass of milk. But the highlight of lunch hour was ''Big Sister'', on the radio followed by Kate Smith. Going home for lunch wasn't always easy for me. I frequently came home or returned to school with a bloody nose or a black eye, compliments of Johnny O'Brien and his gang who didn't take lightly to some foreign-speaking refugee kid invading his turf. Frequently the Armenian Priest'the Hyesoop, Father Simonian stood between me and major injury. While on that subject I might mention, even today I'm Johnny to my friends and family.I registered at school with the name John, to protect myself from the young patriots who might have found a German sounding name like Wolfgang too provocative during those years. It's 11:15 now. Perhaps some more memories another day. We'll talk about Gitlin's Pharmacy, Frishling dairy, Marmelstein's and Bodensteins Bakeries etc, etc, etc, GOOD NIGHT.

George Acropolis Central New Jersey "I graduated from George Washington High school in 1952 and lived in the Heights from the age of eight to around 20. It was a wonderful area with Irish, Greek, German and Jewish residents in the majority. I remember coming out of the RKO Coliseum theatre one winter and finding 27 inches of snow on the ground. I remember the movies at the Lane , and Uptown theaters. I remember the High Bridge Swimming Pool, and the catacombs under the GW High School stadium, and Arnold Portocarrero pitching for GW and winning 27 games over three seasons. He made it to the major leagues with the old Kansas City Athletics. I loved the bowling alley and pizza joint on 181 street and also eating at the Automat. I'll never forget the Heights. browns3449@aol.com)

Gail, Fort Lee, NJ "I have so many memories of Washington Heights. My grandparents lived at 569 W. 192nd and St. Nick. I remember the old
shoemaker shop, the corner grocery store (still there). But cannot remember
names except for the Butcher Boy. What is the name of the doll hospital on
Broadway? Does anyone out there know? What a wonderful memory. Going to the RKO theater. Shopping on 181st or was it 179th? Attending services at Yeshiva (and making a lot of noise with other kids).This is a wonderful website. Thanks for the memories."

Grisel, Orlando Florida "I lived in Washington Heights in the late 50's thru the early 70s. I lived @ 575 West 172nd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. There was a big fire in our building in 1964 on St. Patrick's day. I loved it there and hold fond childhood memories. I use to attend Incarnation church and remember going ice skating with Father Johnson. He was great with kids. I remember going to 181st street, there was a store in the corner that would serve the best ice cream in town. I moved to New Jersey in 1971 and then to Orlando in 1977 until this day. It was great to hear all your stories and I must say, I am very impressed with your good memories."

Arnie Perlstien I lived in Washington Heights from birth in 1952 through 1964 when we made the move to Riverdale. We lived at 142 Laurel Hill Terrace (kitty corner across Amsterdam Ave from PS 189. I attended PS 189 from kindergarden through 6th grade) My older brother went to PS 189 as well, and also attended GW High School. I have some class photos in albums that I will dig up, but I wonder if any of my classmates might see this post. In 1989, I arranged a 25th reunion of our 6th grade class, and 7 people (out of about 35) actually showed up. I remember playing as a young child in that little playground across Amsterdam Ave. from PS 189, and also playing football after school down toward GW HS. I remember walking to the temple down the "big hill" for bar mitzvah lessons during 5th and 6th grades. I remember being taken to the Loew's down on 181 St. by my grandparents on Saturday evenings. And now I'm 50 and that world seems very far away.


Washington Heights classmates reunite after 63 years

Old classmates (from left) Wolfgang Rauner, Manos Kypar, Suzanne Kupfer,  Harriet Bloom Schor,  Elliott Butler,  Diran Deckmejian and David Roberts get together 63 years later.

Old classmates (from left) Wolfgang Rauner, Manos Kypar, Suzanne Kupfer, Harriet Bloom Schor, Elliott Butler, Diran Deckmejian and David Roberts get together 63 years later.

Wolfgang Rauner stood in front of a Washington Heights elementary school Monday with six of his former classmates, reverently clutching a small bronze medal.

"I didn't know a word of English that first day," said the 79-year-old Queens resident who escaped Nazi Germany in 1941. "But Ms. Miller [his teacher], she never made me feel ashamed."

Rauner's third-place award from the school's spelling bee was only one of the myriad memories he and six long-lost friends shared in their first reunion in 63 years. The former Washington Heights residents reconnected through a Web site devoted to memories of the neighborhood's past. Rauner typed his memories online three years ago, and other classmates slowly began to find one another as their names circulated on the Web.

"My daughter called me and said, 'Dad, you're on the Internet,'" said Manos Kypar, 76, who lived just across the street from the school at 189th St. and Amsterdam Ave. "I Googled myself, and I found all these people."

After reminiscing in front of Public School 189, the group clambered into two cars to tour their old stomping grounds.

They pointed out the supermarkets that had replaced the bakeries, fish and cheese shops that had lined St. Nicholas Ave. They pined for the Highbridge Pool on 175th St., where they played hooky and lamented the bowling alley at 181st St. that was no more.

Elliott Butler, 77, found his old apartment building at 189th St. "I lived right here," the Korean War veteran said, "but there were no air conditioners. I don't think I knew what one was."

Suzanne Kupfer, 77, said the neighborhood looked different than when she arrived at age 8, with many more people on the sidewalks and in the stores.

"The area has changed ethnically," said David Roberts, 76, who traveled from Beverley Hills to meet his old friends. "There are a lot of new immigrants here."

The Dominican enclave has transformed from the 1940s, when most of the residents were Armenian, Greek, Russian and German Jewish immigrants.

Kupfer, whose maiden name was Pollak, fled her home country of Czechoslovakia in 1938 after a family friend telegrammed her father and warned him to leave as soon as possible.

"I knew there was a war and that there was a Hitler who didn't like Jews," she said. The family was met at the port by members of the National Council of Jewish Women. Kupfer was later elected president of the Kew Gardens, Queens, section, where she now lives.

The only shop the group could find that they remembered from their youth was Asbell Pharmacy, on the corner of 190th St. and St. Nicholas.

They were convinced that if the trolley cars were still running, the air in the neighborhood would be much cleaner.

"That's progress for you," Kupfer said. "Sometimes something has to disappear before you appreciate it."


  1. I'm no longer sure where you are getting your info, but good topic. I must spend some time studying much more or working out more. Thank you for magnificent information I was in search of this information for my mission.
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  2. My mother worked at that Horn & Hardart automat on 181st Street from April 1952 until about February 1955. I remember the spiced ham & cheese sandwich, 10¢. And some of her co-workers, Frieda, Hilde, Billy, "Tennessee".

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  4. RKO Coliseum is still kinda there just different. The movie theater is seperated into multiple theaters and the corner of that street is a clothing store but the theater is still there so not sure why you stated it is no longer there.... I went there as a child (80's)to the movies and my mom went there when she was younger (60-70's) when it was just one giant theater.

  5. Hi,

    I went to PS 187 for my first few years of school. Does anyone know what happened to Corey Weintraub or Steven Strum? I remember them as childhood playmates.

    Gail Goodman

    1. I think I can help you!
      Last I heard, Corey was under some an investigation of some sort.
      Something to do with "kiddie porn" and "state lines", I'm not sure.

      And Steven is currently doing 15 to 20 in Sing Sing owing to his links with Al-Qaeda.

      Hope I was of some service!

    2. This information sounds suspiciously false and spurious!

    3. This information sounds suspiciously false and spurious!

  6. Hi, Gang,
    Just stumbled on this again, after some years. Thought I'd mention NOSEBLEEDS FROM WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, a neat little book, filled with names, places and events from the 40's and 50's...Short Stories, Photos, Memories! It's available on Amazon...by me: Gary Alexander Azerier, of course! Lol! (Formerly of 20 Cabrini Blvd!)

  7. Hi Gary,
    Just read your book and couldn't put it down. I graduated from PS 173 2 years after you. Had Mrs Bouton in 1st and 2 grades and Mrs. Martin in the 6th. I was fortunate in being Captain of Patrol, a subject you covered in the book. Sorry you weren,t successful in your bid. Would love to swap stories and if your so inclined, my email address is pearson588@aol.com.

  8. Graduated from Incarnation in 1957. lived on 181st right next to the Carvel .

  9. Looking for a photo of the Nedicks on 181st and Broadway. Lived on 181st and Pinehurst. Went to Incarnation.

  10. Looking for a photo of the Nedicks on 181st and Broadway. Lived on 181st and Pinehurst. Went to Incarnation.

  11. My godfather is Charlie Sharkey and my father is Bobby Bohler. Both grew up in Washington Heights in the 40's. Great stories! My godfather remembers patsy riordan one of the commenters.

    1. Also my dad went to st rose of Lima until 8b. He was on a ball team (or gang) called the fanwoods.

  12. Hi All:

    I just stumbled across this site while doing some research on the old neighborhood. I saw Doug Anderson’s post. I recall him well, especially the class trip to his dad’s Hot Dog Factory.

    I was born in 1943 and lived at 106 Pinehurst Ave until 1959. I went to PS 187 from Kindergarten through the 6th grade, when I went to the SP’s at JHS 115 and then to Bronx Science. My best friend was Eric Mendelson, who lived in the same building. (We still are in contact.) Other friends were Frankie Dingfelder, Howard Schlesinger, Howard Zick, Michael Bergman and a few others. I always had a crush on several girls including Janice Zalesky, Gail Ferrar, Helen Garrison, and Judy Rae.

    I was always the school nerd and loved to fiddle with electronics, science and ham radio. I met Graham Hunter that way. That pattern never changed. I got a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and went to work for Bell Labs. I retired in 2002 and moved to Hilton Head Island, where I am still a nerd, active in a monthly GEEKS lunch group and several other nerdy things.

    I met my wife at Bell Labs and we have 2 kids and 4 grand kids.

    I love to hear about the old days and people, but I can't figure out how to join this Yahoo Group.


    Steve Baer

  13. Hello everyone, it was truly exciting to come across all this information. I'll tell you I was born in LA Habana,Cuba and immigrated to NY in 1968,I was 4 years old.My address was 575 w 177th st and the apartment was 5e..long walks up and down,no elevator..summers were great fun just cooling off at the corner water pump.. School was PS 115 ..my favorite teacher was Ms Goldstein who discovered I could sing and gave me the role of Dorothy in the wizard of Oz❤..My father owned a bar right on the corner of 177th and St Nick.. It was called :Don Pepe bar.. I wonder if any of you remember, there was a,restaurant on our corner,followed by a little bodega that was my favorite candy spot..there was hardly any fear until they put up a billboard about a man on the loose who had pox marks on his face and was hurting little kids and my parents began watching me closely ..that was the summer of 1970?..anyways my daddy passed on 2002 ..mom is still alive and all these memories have given me chills..
    I pursued music ..I write poetry and I'm very active in social media ..I call myself Sexycuban1 poetess of life..singer sublime..sharing myself daily keeps me young,I'm almost 54 ..anyways ,thanks for all these memories ,God bless you all✌

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  16. John Nelson Gartner, Sarasota, FL -- I grew up on Ft. Washington Ave., living one year in 630, five in 620 and 15 or so in 690 until 1962. Went to PS 187 until 8th grade, then to Horace Mann School in Riverdale. Best memories are of playing softball with the Lions (blue hats with white "L") in 4th grade and the Arrows in 5th (royal blue jackets with yellow lettering) — 7th grade teachers Messrs. Brainson and Jacobson umpired our games in the school yard. Some of the kids I can remember include: Marty Merkin, Richard Gould, Carl ("Little") and David ("Big") Danson, Johnnie Schiff, John Lang, ; Barry, Marilyn, Lynn, Gail and Shelly Goodman; Eddie Niedermaier, Lenny Binder, June Bernzweig, Pat Denner, Elenor Valko, Kenneth Rothman, Rochelle Baum, Wendy Frisch and Walter Wanderman. I can recall before 900 W. 190th St. was built as the tallest apartment house in the area, it was an empty lot next to the schoolyard which had victory gardens during the WWII. I had a scuffle there after school with Morty Horowitz, who lived in 700 Ft. Washington, where I can recall an old mansion stood before his building was built - could have been some sort of museum. I belonged to Boy Scout Troop 727 at the Ft. Tryon Jewish Center, which was then situated in the basement under Kurzman's candy store, Gideon's bakery, and Cuomo's vegetable store among others; subsequently, to Troop 700 which met at in the gym at PS 187. As a teenager, I enjoyed hanging out evenings at the barrier at the top of the steps at 187th St. and schmoozing with the guys. Also recall playing basketball in the first floor gym of the school one or two evenings a week. What I liked best about the neighborhood now being called "Hudson Heights," was its geographic cohesiveness — Overlook Terrace, McGraw Place and 181st St were natural eastern and southern borders and, of course, the drop-off to Riverside Dr and the woods on the west and Fort Tryon Park to the north. I still feel that we were fortunate enough to have been New Yorkers who enjoyed a very village-like existence.