Hugh Downs - Part 2
The Youth of Age

Ronni in New York City



[April 1972] By early 1972, I had a job and a two-room, tenement apartment in a Manhattan neighborhood later to be known as SoHo.

Stoop sitting one afternoon, I saw a teenage boy in the play yard down the block stab another. Summoned in some mysterious manner with no fuss or noise, neighbors quickly flowed from their doors to surround the boys. Within five minutes, two large black cars pulled up, the injured (or dead?) boy was placed in one, two men hustled the other into the second car and both drove away.

No police ever came and though I searched, I never found a newspaper account. There are eight million stories in the naked city…


zinetv @ 2003-09-12 said:
A few years ago I listened to a police scanner one afternoon and heard all manner of crimes in progress and just committed. Not one of them made the newspapers. Back in ’72, people relied more on the newspapers. . . makes you wonder. By the way you look much happier in this photo than in the previous two.

av_producer @ 2003-09-13 said:
Interesting. Do you remember the GAA (Gay Activist Alliance) Firehouse? For some reason I remember that being established as the beginning of the transition to SOHO. Now if you lived east of Broadway and south of Houston and west of 6th Avenue, there still existed a pretty tight Italian neighborhood that would have taken care of its own and perhaps that is what you had seen.

Of the notable crimes in my memory was the killing of a pedestrian outside of the Mills Hotel on Bleecker St (above the Village Gate). It was a flop house/SRO that would have housed what we called "drunks" and "bums". One of the residents threw a table (I think) out a window and killed the passer-by below. The community was outraged. The hotel was closed and a co-op was put in its place. Gentrification, the growth of SoHo, the NYU land grab would begin. It would kill that neighborhood as a neighborhood.

ronni @ 2003-09-13 said:
av - I don`t remember the firehouse and wish I did. In 1972, the only trendy establishment yet in SoHo was The Spring Street Bar and I’d always thought of it as the harbinger of the death of that old Italian neighborhood. I didn’t know the Mills Hotel story until now.

airchild @ 2003-09-13 said:
Every photo you post is filled with history, It’s great to read about the New York City before I lived there for a brief couple of years.

yolima @ 2003-09-13 said:
1972, that was when I was in NYC for the first time. I remember SoHo in the "olden days." Do you rememeber that store "Paracelsus" on West Broadway. Wild and colorful clothes. One of the first shops there.

roomwithaview @ 2003-09-14 said:
You`re looking good here Ronni!


Just LOOK at you, Ronni. Wonderful photo. It shows the ambiance and your happiness in absorbing it.

My father, a drunk, lived at the Mills Hotel in the early '40s.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)