I can only hope that the bat regained consciousness and didn't hit someone in the head on the way down! The staff at the Riviera took on many challenges, but I can only imagine that this wasn't in that fellow's job description. My brother Andre remembers one of the handymen named Crolley. Perhaps he was the one who came to our rescue. I grew up in the 60's and 70's, spending my entire childhood at 790 Riverside Drive. Our first apartment in the building was 8A. I loved that apartment, with its long, dark mysterious hallway and the dumbwaiter, which was from a much earlier period. We lived there at the time of the blackout. How exciting that day was! I remember that everyone came together and we looked at it as a big adventure. We later moved to 11G, wanting a bit more space.
The elegance of that apartment is what I remember most. Friends from that day still remark at the grand foyer. When I tell people that my apartment had three bedrooms and three bathrooms with a beautiful view of the Hudson River and the GW Bridge, they can't believe it. We didn't realize how lucky we were at the time to have that fantastic view, and we took it for granted. I remember the beautiful tile work throughout the building and the magnificent lobby, which even at that time seemed part of a different, more elegant era. The building was our playground. We would run wild, and Hide and Seek was a game well played there since none of the building was off limits in those days. We even had access to the roof, which was where the laundry room was. I remember the winding staircases, which were perfect for running down. We would race the elevators, and always beat them. In the early 60's, the elevators were all manual and run by elevator men. When two of the elevators were changed to automatic, the operator's jobs were in jeopardy. I thought the building kept them employed out of a sense of commitment. Perhaps that was there, but my brother Andre remembers the strong union as being the main reason. Some of the names I can recall are Bill, Harry, Kenny, Smitty, and Richard. I know I'm forgetting some! They were known by name to everyone who lived there. My sister Jessica recalls that Bill worked there from his teenage years until the day he died. In his later years, he had a less than harmonious relationship with all the screaming kids! But the other elevator operators took him under their collective wing, treating him like family. There was real kindness and camaraderie between them. Jessica also remembers that Smitty sang to her daily on her way to school that she's always late. New contacts and friendships in the old neighborhood have brought back such nice memories. We didn't even refer to our neighborhood as the Audubon section back then. It was simply Riverside Drive. How nice that Vivian, Matthew, and others whose names I don't know yet, have reminded us all of how beautiful, unique and historical our neighborhood is.
Carolyn Nacmanie Seera