Ridge Road, Yonkers, NY

This past August I wrote about my visit to the South Broadway apartment in Yonkers where my Dad grew up during the second half of the 1920s and second half of the 1930s. In between, the family spent several years living in a house. Sandwiched below between my Dad's words, from his 1993 single-spaced 37 page memoire, is a photo of the house taken this fall. I teach in Riverdale, which borders Yonkers, and often will exit the highway early to avoid traffic and take the local roads. The Rumsey Road exit takes me past Wendover Road, which intersects Ridge Road.

We lived in the Parkhill Gardens (apartment at 272 South Broadway) for about 8 years, moving to a rented house at 68 Ridge Road. That move took us to the Park Hill section of town and a new school. It also brought me into contact with some rocks across the Street that harbored a stand of poison oak. Aunt Celia, the mother of cousins Paul and Harvey visited us one day and asked me to cross the street and pick some "of those nice flowers", and I began a multi-yeared trial of poison oak suffering. However, I recall it also kept me home from school at World Series time, when I could listen to the Giants play on the radio. The driveway to the house was entered by making a right angle turn down a steep grade and then a right angle turn into the garage. The garage door also had a latch. If you threw a rubber ball at the latch, it would result in the ball bouncing in a variety of directions. Especially intriguing was a stone wall to your left as you stood at pitching distance facing the latch. If you hit the latch in the right place, the ball would veer to the left and either hit the wall, or even go over the wall and end up in the field below (for a Home Run!). I spent many an hour as I pitched imaginary NY Giant games playing the role of crowd, batter, pitcher, announcer, and probably hot dog vendor--and of course, ball retriever--all played at my own private Polo Grounds, home of the Giants. (That latch remained just as it was when I was a schoolboy until about 2 years ago when I drove by, got out of my car, walked down the steep grade and saw that the occupant had replaced MY LATCH.) (about 1993.)

In 1934 after 5 years in our house, we moved back to the Park Hill Gardens into the same size apartment and wing that we had been in before, being on the 6th floor in place of the 4th floor. ... The "Great Depression" took it's toll on many, including our family. My parents were suffering the same financial strains that everyone else was experiencing, but I at 9 years old was blissfully unaware of these events. A great advantage to me at the time we lived on Ridge Road was the geological fact that we were located on top of a hill that led into another bigger hill (Wendover Road) that went all the way down to the start of a wooded area, all of which is another way of saying: GREAT SLEIGH RIDING! In later years the section near the bottom where the sleigh ride came to a gentle stop, slowed by the wooded area, had the name of the street changed to Gene Krupa Avenue. Gene Krupa was the legendary drummer for the big bands of the '30s, including his band, as well as Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and more--who had bought and lived in a house there--of which Burt was unaware until he discovered it on one of his tax-season trips to the area. The hills also made bike riding an adventure, in which I participated on my Jr. sized two wheeler, which had great brakes!

The two pictures below are of the street signs. The wooded area my Dad mentions is visible just across the road from Wendover. I can imagine him sleigh riding down the hill! Beneath these photos is a current aerial view from Google Maps of 68 Ridge Road, Wendover, and Park Hill Avenue. The road I come south on is Rumsey Road. Each time I take the local roads thru Yonkers I wind up thinking of my Dad, his childhood, his stories, his life, and every time I wind up with a smile in my heart.