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Richard Parsons, Executive, b. 1948

“No one actually lived in Manhattan back then.”

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It’s hard to imagine now, but when immigrants came here, they went to the Lower East Side and they went to Brooklyn. Brooklyn was the melting pot of New York. As soon as you got a firm hold on the economic ladder, you got out. You left Brooklyn for Queens, Long Island—for anywhere. Queens was a middle-class playground. We got a little starter house with a yard and shit like that in Queens. This was back when JFK airport was called Idlewild, and it was surrounded by woods. You could play in the woods; you could go pole rafting in the swamp. Queens was known as the country. No one actually lived in Manhattan back then. And you never went to the Bronx.


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