To America, 1948 (Part 4: In New York)

My mother’s American-born cousin Mary Kelly was married to Pat Treacy, an immigrant.  It was funny to hear her very strong NY accent alongside his soft Galway brogue.  They lived in an apartment at 127 East 95th Street in Manhattan; and that’s where we stayed, for a week or so, before going on to St. Louis.

As mentioned previously, my mother had come to New York as a young immigrant in 1927; and my dad had also lived there in the early ’20s before going on to St. Louis— on Shakespeare Avenue in the Bronx, easy to remember.  Both of them had many friends and relatives in NY.  Besides the Treacys there was Mom’s brother Tom Conboy and his family; a number of O’Rourke relatives on the Kenny side; another, an older Michael Kenny living in White Plains.  And some Farleys, and other Aughavas people.  Plus old friends of our parents.  (We kids didn’t know who was who, didn’t ask, and our parents didn’t tell us; or if they did we soon forgot.)

But there were visits and parties!  Our dad took John and I to see that other Michael Kenny in White Plains—I wish I knew that relationship, obviously it was important to them.  And the Treacys had a party too—I think on our first evening there.  In that crowd in the little apartment (much like Ralph Cramden’s place in Jackie Gleason’s “The Honemooners”) I remember telling Mary Treacy that I was thirsty and would like a drink of water.  “Sure, you can get one at the kitchen sink.”  The sink?  I didn’t know what a kitchen sink was—we’d gotten our water from the well.  And the “sink” at home in Graigeog:  that was the oozing place, at the foot of the farmyard, where we’d dump garbage.  But I soon adjusted to running water and American plumbing.

In that apartment, from a window, we looked down one morning on American kids playing stickball in the street (it must have been on Sunday).  That was new and fascinating.  And one night there was some kind of political rally going on down there, with a crowd, and a vehicle broadcasting a speech.  Dewey or Truman? or probably some NY pol speaking for one or the other (it was just a few weeks before the 1948 election).  We didn’t know anything about US politics.  Should we be for the Democrats or the Republicans?  Maybe it was 6-year-old Patsy who said “well, Daddy’s a Republican!”  But of course we had a lot to learn.

With the Treacys we went to the beach (even though it was October).  This was Rockaway Beach, sometimes nicknamed “The Irish Riviera” (according to Terry Winch).  This was a trip by subway, another exciting experience.  I remember a shooting gallery, stereoscopic pictures and such carnival-like attractions, but not the ocean on that gray autumn day.  I conclude with this picture of a young immigrant boy, all dressed up, in what’s hardly a very scenic spot.

rockaway21

2 Responses to “To America, 1948 (Part 4: In New York)”

  1. Brian K Says:

    Dad, here’s the Google Maps Street view for 127 East 95th. Have you seen this? Do you remember which building it is? Give Google Maps a moment to load and it will bring up the street view photograph:
    http://tinyurl.com/c5lcef

  2. PJK Says:

    If that’s the view, it was far different then (as far as I can remember)– no trees, a canyon of big buildings, and the apartment was on an upper story (at least 3rd or 4th).

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