Mendelssohn on the Hudson
Episode 5: Stairs (Opus 19, No. 3)
187th Street stairs, just off Fort Washington Avenue
We’re standing near the 187th Street stairs, one of New York’s 102 step streets maintained by the Department of Transportation. Down these steps, west of Broadway, the population was, and still is, largely Orthodox, with several Orthodox synagogues in the area.
The bank next door was the original home of Gideon’s bakery, which became kosher under new ownership by the early 1940s. The supermarket next door used to be a Daitch Shopwell, owned by the Ratners, who were German Jews.
Richie, who grew up across the street from here at 567 Fort Washington, also worked as a soda jerk at Goody’s at #811 on 187th St. in the late 1940’s through the early 1950’s. His first and only love was Wendie June, a Jewish girl who lived up the block. He, like many other neighborhood kids, often hung out at the stairs with his friends and had great stories to tell.