For four days the headlines roared. Animals slitting the throats of guards in the upstate prison. The Daily News screamed, The Post shrieked, even The New York Times went nuts.  And then it was over, the shouting and the shooting done.

* * *

It was hot for September, still seething as I walked down Sixth Avenue in my polished cotton shorts suit, cloudy blue with matching jacket. Shorts were not common on city streets in those days and mine were short shorts, but the outfit was classy enough I thought and I was leggy enough, though no one noticed, or if they did they had other things on their minds. The city was in a mood of contained explosion that afternoon, heat still coming off the buildings at quitting time, people pooling around doorways, having their cigarettes, their iced coffees, maybe a beer before heading home in the steaming subways.  On the walls and sidewalks you could see  graffiti of anger and frustration – Fuck this, Fuck that, get the hell out of Vietnam – rising in intensity as I walked south, out of the Garment District headed to the Village, and at Greenwich Avenue, scrawled on the side of the Women’s Prison, the most obscene expletive of all: ATTICA.

Just that. The Vietnam War had come home, guards versus inmates, white versus black.

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The Temple



Moishe Schneider emigrated from Poland to New York in the 19th century. He was a tailor by trade, a sign of God’s amusement, who had given him a name that served equally as profession.  “Schneider” in German means tailor, and Moishe came from the part of Poland that belonged to the Austrian Empire.

Settled with an uncle in Brooklyn, Moishe soon found his heart’s delight in Trudi, whose breasts were generous and her bottom large. Almost immediately they had children and knew they were blessed.  Moishe’s tailoring shop was doing well, and when the little boys were 3 and 1 1/2 Moishe decided to expand.  He prayed to the Almighty for assistance and the Lord answered him, saying: “Go, my son, open a clothing store.  Call it Gott and Schneider and I shall protect you.”

Moishe did as the Lord told him, and was successful.

Soon he became adventurous and thought of opening another shop, in Queens. Again the Lord blessed him.  The second Gott and Schneider became as successful as the first, perhaps more.

Then the little tailor turned his eyes to the Bronx, and again the Almighty said it was good, and he opened another Gott and Schneider, and was rewarded.

At last Moishe dared to dream of Manhattan. God heard his prayers and said, “Again I bless you, my son, for you have been successful and carried my name through the boroughs.  You will open your store in Manhattan, but this time you will call it Lord & Taylor.”


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