It was way more dangerous in 1972. At least according to the crime rates.
But we didn't know that or notice it. We just went about our business all over the city by ourselves or with each other, a gang of 12 and 13 year old girls traveling the subways, the buses, the streets without a cell phone because they didn't exist then, and at least in my case, not even a dime to call home in case something went wrong.
So it was no big deal for us to head over to the Peace Building on Lafayette and Bleecker to pick up peace buttons to sell on the street for the cause - BRING THE TROOPS HOME! PEACE NOW! FREE KIM AGNEW!
Our plan was to walk up 6th Avenue selling peace buttons until we got to the big peace rally near Herald Square. We pinned our wares to our teeshirts and in our tinny little voices hawked our wares - Peace Buttons for a dolla! Stop the war in Viet Nam! Buy a button for a dolla!
The shame of that day wasn't the man jiggling under his raincoat while touching each button on breasts I wasn't sure I had.
It was when on a dare or perhaps on empty pockets we all dashed under the turnstiles at 34th Street and ladies who probably were our neighbors or knew our neighbors or maybe even our parents TSK TSK'd us scolding "such nice girls such nice girls doing that shame on you what would your mother say..." as we ran down the ramp to the F train and home.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.