I lived on the spur of St. Mark’s just on the East side of the plaza. Got mugged there one night, too, and still have two scars, one under my left eye, from the fight I put up.

Which is why I didn’t do much “cruising” around the neighborhood in those days. However, I was born in Williamsburg, on Herzl Street, and when I did cruise, mostly in daylight, I went in the other direction, either North through the Middle Eastern neighborhoods towards the Heights or South through the Italian neighborhoods or Southwest to the ocean, on long walks. This was the early 70s and nighttime escapades through Brownsville in those days, for a long-haired white boy alone, was suicide. I did have a Black friend I worked with at the Post Office and sometimes I rode home with him on the subway into Brownsville and he’d walk me back to GAP then take the subway back. We’d get all sorts of stares from the brownstone stoops as we walked by.

I had my best friends just across the Plaza on Prospect Place. It was dangerous enough just crossing over to there at night.

But I grew up, mostly, on the Lower East Side, and spent a few years up in North Queens, around Bayside. All that before I was sent out to work in San Francisco. And I never went back. But I’d been working since I was nine, and I had my own money to buy books as a result. I’m so sorry to hear you had it so rough. I wish it could have been different for you.

Pigeons are most definitely wildlife. Where I live they’re called mourning doves, a slightly different breed, but I still call them pigeons and I still feed them. They’re considered a delicacy down here and every year all the big-time hunters get together, go out to these big, staked-out fields with their hunting dogs and shoot every dove they can get their hands on for a couple of days. It’s a slaughterhouse.

Sometimes their dogs get into a frenzy during the hunt and they end up having to also shoot the dogs. It’s insane. It’s one of the very few things, over the years, that make me wish I was back in the city.

I’ll need to catch up with that bulldog story. I’m not as much of a dog person as I am a cat person. I’ve had dogs off and on. But I’ve had cats almost all my life.

What is your scientific specialty, BTW? I love your photos!

Possessor of Paul Newman eyes. Author of the straightforward & strange. “Women zai shuo ba.” Be useful; share what you can; help others always. Doctor of texts.

Possessor of Paul Newman eyes. Author of the straightforward & strange. “Women zai shuo ba.” Be useful; share what you can; help others always. Doctor of texts.