Wednesday, May 10, 2017

NYPL: Bridging Our Stories - Detective Thomas Troppmann of the NYPD's 34th Precinct

Meet Detective Specialist Thomas Troppmann of the 34th Precinct, which covers Washington Heights and Inwood.

Detective Troppmann has spent his entire 30- year career on patrol in uptown Manhattan, a  rarity for one officer to remain on patrol for that long AND in the same precinct. He was a rookie police officer the same year his new partner, Detective Specialist Edwin Rodriguez, was born. These two have partnered up for the NYPD's newest community based policing program, Neighborhood Coordination Officers, a more high tech and targeted brand of beat cop.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Detective Troppmann talks about  the changes he's witnessed in "MY neighborhood", how he feels about body cams, changes in technology since he came on the job,  his relationship with his partner Rodriguez, being mistaken for Police Commissioner James O'Neill, corruption, getting older, and how the jocular relationship of the locker room evaporated into a silent, sad stillness following the death of Police Officer Michael Buczek in 1988.

Click on this link to listen:

Please note: NYPL Oral Histories are not edited. There's an extra question after the thank you at the end so keep listening. The interview is not yet searchable on the NYPL but we're getting there!

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Take Me Out to the Ballgame - My Year (or so) with the New York Yankees

From The Huffington Post:
After the last out was announced by Bob Sheppard and the parking lots were empty, the last millionaire left work for the day, and even the ghost of Babe Ruth had gone home, there were three people left, three people who walked wearily out of the stadium. The oldest shuffled slightly in baggy pants and looking a bit grim, the second a big-bellied red-faced cop in his late fifties who moved as if he were still walking the beat, and the third, a young woman with red hair, jeans and hand-painted sneakers who clutched a large pocketbook filled with a laptop, notebooks and pens. The trio crept up to a lone Ford with a few dents and a blurry windshield, riding across the 155th Street Bridge into Manhattan, the old man always remarked, “I used to go with a girl on Nagle Avenue.”
And the young woman asked each time, “Do you remember who that was?”
Click here to read more and to see more photographs:
New York Yankess Clubhouse Man Pete Sheehy

New York Yankees Oufielder Rickey Henderson

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Gentrification. Thanks to Peter Minuit

In my neighborhood in Inwood, soy used to have only one meaning: I am.

On the west side of Broadway and in some corners of the east, with migration and eating habits changing, soy has a more ominous meaning: One can purchase almost a full spectrum of soy food products, including pet food, in the C-Town and Fine Fare supermarkets on Broadway.

Soy is a symbol in the gentrification debate. And when it replaces the fried pastelitos stuffed with beef, crispy to stones, and tacos smothered in pico de gallo sold on the street or in Dominican restaurants, then the transition will sadly be complete.

Gentrification is a dirty word around town, particularly here in New York. The real culprit? Dutch trader Peter Minuit.

Featured in the Huffington Post. To continue reading, click here.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Another Generation is Already 'Woke'

My love for words was shared with just over a dozen high school students from around the city in a college readiness program this past year as they wrote essays about who they are, who they would like to become, and why they would like to travel to far off places like Chicago and Maine for their education. My role was to help them understand--no challenge them--to discover the power of language, of description, and organization to elevate their writing.

Some are first generation New Yorkers with roots in West Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, while others are African-American. All are heading off to college this fall, a first for many in their families. These teenagers translate language and popular culture for their elders and are often caught between the old world of traditions brought over from...

Featured in The Huffington Post. To continue reading, click here:

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Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Every Gift of Flowers Tells a Story: Two Lives Remembered in East Harlem

The building looked familiar on Christmas Day but then again, buildings in every housing development across New York City look the same. But this one in East Harlem - also known as Spanish Harlem or El Barrio - is different.

More than a decade ago, before chain stores, fashionable restaurants, co-ops, and new high-rise buildings replaced tiny eateries, crumbling buildings, local bars, and methadone clinics, I was introduced to Pepè and Margo who lived in the Carver Houses.

And this is where I found myself, delivering a hot meal and gift to seniors in East Harlem as a volunteer with Citymeals on Wheels, looking up at the windows of the apartment where they once lived.
To commemorate the lives of those most of us don’t see, here is a story of two people I met and wrote about, a long time ago.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

NYPL: Bridging Our Stories: Mike Saab

Meet Mike Saab, second generation owner of C-Town on Broadway in the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood. In this conversation for The New York Public Library's oral history project covering Washington Heights and Inwood, Mike talks about what it takes for a supermarket to survive with his competition from supermarkets and bodegas in the neighborhood, a nearby Target that undercuts his prices, and online competitors including Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

His secret? Customer service.

Mike and his cashiers and floor managers make it their business to know their customers, some who have been shopping at C-Town for decades. When it comes to the elderly, they've learned their names and routines, likes and dislikes, and offer a helping hand in putting away groceries and opening jars and bottles. And when they don't turn up on their regular visit, Mike  calls or sends someone to check on them.

You'll also learn about how food preferences and prices have changed in Inwood over the years, from basic carbs and Krasdale products to organic and gluten-free items, and from standard pet food to organic selections for the four-legged members of the family.

And Mike, the father of five daughters, talks about the early days of his father's food businesses after emigrating to New York City from Jordan and his most recent real estate venture, developing an apartment building on Seaman Avenue on 204th Street in Inwood, just a few blocks from C-Town.

Listen to the interview here:

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Arlene Schulman: The First 100 Years - Photographs

A selection of images from the exhibit, 
Arlene Schulman: The First 100 Years.

Arlene Schulman started photographing the people of New York City when she was an eight year old living in Brooklyn. Using an Agfa 35mm camera handed down to her by her father who taught her how to shoot, develop, and print black and white film, she acquired her sharp eye for detail and an uncanny ability to demolish the wall between subject and camera to reveal the truth of who we are.

Ms. Schulman’s extraordinary body of work—immortalized in books of majestic photographs and in films and photographic essays—illuminates facets of New York City that the majority of us never see: gritty city living, boxing gyms, baseball dugouts, police officers on the beat. Capturing the heroes, colleagues, and neighbors among us in gritty, straightforward, large format images that celebrate and ennoble the human condition, Ms. Schulman brings her life’s work together for the very first time. 

“Arlene Schulman: The First 100 Years” is a unique vision of life in New York City as she has lived it and a foreshadowing of what she—and we—may see during the next “100.”

Reception sponsored by Schnipper's Quality Kitchen and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Empty space transformed to...

a cast of characters, from boxing to baseball to 

the New York City Police Department

Rome Boxing Club, Bronx, NY

A series of women, including my great-aunt Esther Nachman

and my grandmother Anna David and Queen, a woman from Harlem

From the book, Cop on the Beat, featuring Steve Mayfield of the NYPD's 34th Precinct

A detective from the 23rd Precinct as he was leaving the scene of a DOA in the  housing projects

From Cop on the Beat

Bird along the Seine

The Prizefighter and one of world champion Roberto Duran's hands (Una Mano de Piedra)

Two important guests, Cynthia Wellins and her husband, Gil

Yankees clubhouse man Pete Sheehy looking over the shoulders of his daughter and grandson

Two famous opera singers Pamela Lloyd and Andrew Costello chat with Steve Mayfield

Food courtesy of Schnipper's

Steve Mayfield

World champions Azumah Nelson and Hector Camacho

From 23rd Precinct: The Job and the NYPD's Steve Bonano

A cop and his friend and world champion Archie Moore

The view from the hallway

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Monday, October 03, 2016

Arlene Schulman: The First 100 Years: Video

Arlene Schulman started photographing the people of New York City when she was an eight year old living in Brooklyn. Using an Agfa 35mm camera handed down to her by her father who taught her how to shoot, develop, and print black and white film, she acquired her sharp eye for detail and an uncanny ability to demolish the wall between subject and camera to reveal the truth of who we are.

Ms. Schulman’s extraordinary body of work—immortalized in books of majestic photographs and in films and photographic essays—illuminates facets of New York City that the majority of us never see: gritty city living, boxing gyms, baseball dugouts, police officers on the beat. Capturing the heroes, colleagues, and neighbors among us in gritty, straightforward, large format images that celebrate and ennoble the human condition, Ms. Schulman brings her life’s work together for the very first time. 

“Arlene Schulman: The First 100 Years” is a unique vision of life in New York City as she has lived it and a foreshadowing of what she—and we—may see during the next “100.”

Reception sponsored by Schnipper's Quality Kitchen and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

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Friday, June 05, 2015

NYPL Oral History Project: Bridging Our Stories: Ed Lehner

And here's ED LEHNER, the former judge and local assemblyman who initiated the pooper scooper law in 1977. Listen to him talk about the origins and impact of the law; growing up in Washington Heights, where he still lives; and his baseball card collection. And no, he does not own a dog.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

NYPL Oral History Project: Bridging Our Stories: Edith Prentiss

Meet EDITH PRENTISS, New York City's champion for people with disabilities. She lives in Washington Heights and was recently interviewed for the New York Public Library's Uptown Oral History project, Bridging Our Stories. 
Edith talks about her experiences as a social worker with Holocaust survivors living uptown, why it is so important to be a visible and vocal voice for people with disabilities, and the upcoming Disability Pride Parade.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NYPL Oral History Project: Bridging Our Stories: Milton A. Tingling

IN CONVERSATION with MILTON A. TINGLING for the NYPL's Oral History Project, Bridging Our Stories:
A longtime resident of Washington Heights, Milton Tingling currently serves as New York County Clerk. He's the man whose signature appears at the bottom of the your jury duty summons. The first African-American to hold this position, he succeeded Norman Goodman who retired after 45 years. 
As a State Supreme Court Justice, Milton Tingling struck down Mayor Bloomberg's proposed ban on large sized sodas. In this comprehensive interview, he talks about growing up as the son of a judge and public school teacher, his former "careers" as a cab driver and MTA token booth clerk, the impact of growing up in Washington Heights, and as an "exclusive," what kind of soda he drinks.

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NYPL Oral History Project: Bridging Our Stories: Eric K. Washington

RAISING THE DEAD: Meet Eric K. WashingtonUptown's brilliant historian and tour guide who is interviewed for NYPL The New York Public Library's Oral History Project, Bridging Our Stories. 

In this conversation, Eric talks about transitions - the folks living in the neighborhood, those buried in Trinity Cemetery, and the impact of gentrification. He talks about neighborhood boundaries and how porous they can be and the ghosts of former neighbors who once lived in his apartment building, boxing heavyweight champion Jack Johnson and famed saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lessons from Bill Heinz

W. C. Heinz, simply called Bill by friends, family, and colleagues, was perhaps the lesser known of a literary cannon of sports journalists: A. J. Liebling, Red Smith, John Lardner, and Grantland Rice, but the most influential. A craftsman of the written word whose use of detail plucked the reader into the middle of a story whether he was writing about boxing (The Professional), football (Run to Daylight with Vince Lombardi), the war from the frontlines or a surgeon during the Korean War (he wrote the novel M*A*S*H under the pseudonym Richard Hooker), Heinz brought a descriptive, personal feel to his writing, influencing generations of writers, journalists and novelists, including David Halberstam and Jimmy Breslin. Ernest Hemingway wrote that “The Professional is the only good novel about a fighter I've ever read."

Bill Heinz and boxing trainer Ray Arcel remained close friends since the days when Heinz began pounding the keys of his Remington (one loaned to Hemingway) 50 years ago. Arcel, the legendary trainer of more 2,000 fighters and over a dozen world champions, handled so many of Joe Louis’ opponents he given the nickname “The Meat Wagon.” Two years before his death in 1994, Arcel and his wife, Stephanie (Steve or as Bill referred to her, Stevie), suggested that I write to their old friend. The advice from a master whose keen eye for detail and reflective modesty holds its own as a standard for writers. Bill Heinz died at the age of 93 on February 27, 2008.

Postscript: Stephanie Arcel, who died in 2014, would have loved this new book, The Top of His Game, by Bill Littlefield, and I have no doubt that copies purchased for friends would send this book into a second or even a third printing. To commemorate the book, I've added this postscript and two photos - one of a small collection of Bill's books, ones that have been read to pieces when I covered boxing and after - and the newest collection. Thankfully, he and his work have not been forgotten and hopefully, he'll pick up a few more followers along the way.

July 17, 1992

Dear Arlene Schulman,

Naturally I'm pleased that you find something of substance in the product I have been turning out of this Remington portable since 1932. I don't know what help any advice from me will be, but I'll try by the numbers (which relieves me of the task of building those paragraph bridges which are so important in giving a piece of writing its flow).

1. It has been said that writing is like painting, I guess--can't be taught, but can be learned. Hemingway said he learned by reading the greats he admired and studying what they did to create the emotion, or emotions, that moved him. In other words, the science precedes the art.

In my own growth process I derived much from reading John O'Hara's short stories for dialogue, and Hemingway for scene setting, the placement of the characters in it and, of course, the dialogue that identified and distinguished them.

2. Writing is show-and-tell, and "show," when possible, is far preferable than "tell." Anything anyone tells is suspect, while if the readers is brought to believe he has seen and heard it himself, he is a believer forever. Too many writers get between the subject and the reader, so whenever possible the writer should get out of the way.

3. Back to role models: A half century ago I used to ski, and found that when I followed the instructor down the slope my form flowed much better than when I was on my own. I think that in trying to find one's own style, one should find in one's reading the style, or styles, with which one feels most comfortable, and then follow that as I followed the ski instructor. Of course, at the beginning, one will be just an imitator until gradually one's own self emerges in one's own style. Critics like to sneer at this, but the French impressionist painters all borrowed from one another and learned from one another in finding their own way.

4. When, at the end of WWII, Milton Gross was given a sports column by The New York Post, he asked Red Smith for advice. Red said: "Be there." Being there means not only being in attendance, but with eyes and ears at the ready. Too many writers don't really look or really listen. Look and listen for the distinguishing ingredient. Many years ago Stevie Arcel, in talking about "The Professional" mentioned (in the opening chapter) the flower pots on the tenement fire escapes, the yellowed leaves of the Easter lillies and the pink foil still around the pots a long time after the shouldn't be there any longer. She said: "That tells the whole story of tenement life." Of course. That's why I put it there. Now, Stevie may be the only reader who caught that, but I caught it and every good writes first for himself or herself.

5. The space problem: I know what you're going through, and I don't know any answer except to write as tight and right as you can. Even now, when every couple of years or so and I do a piece for The New York Times sports section, they'll call and say: "We've got to take out six lines." My reaction, although I can't say it, is: "Take it out of the white space around the goddamn drawing." So, you see?

6. Grammatical note: The proper verb form is to "try to" and not "try and." Anyone who ever tried and put it in the past tense got a sentence like this. Don't feel badly. Some of the highest priced heads talking heads on TV make the same error. Somewhere here I've got three or four single-spaced typed pages of grammatical errors made on the networks by their reporters, anchor people and commentators. When I was doing an occasional piece for TV Guide I sent them the casualty lists and asked for suggestions as to how it might be made into a piece. They said their readers wouldn't care. The point was that they didn't care.

7. Sometimes the dice come 7 and here I am. In closing, I can only say that whatever I have to say is in my work, and if you can find Once They Heard the Cheers you'll find a lot of "how-to" there. To you and your work I send my

Very best wishes,

Bill Heinz

Originally posted on April 26, 2008

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Saturday, March 07, 2015

NYPL Oral History Project: Bridging Our Stories: J.A. Reynolds

MEET our neighborhood treasure, MR. J.A. REYNOLDS, through Bridging Our Stories, the New York Public Library's Oral History Program focusing on Washington Heights and Inwood.
Mr. Reynolds, who is 91, spoke about he helped transform Isham Park from a garbage strewn dump into the beautiful park it is today; the life and loss of his son, Port Authority Police officer Bruce Reynolds, during 9/11; the cultivation of neighborhood teens and Bruce's Garden; his experiences with racism in the community; his life as a social worker and performer; and how he hopes to be remembered.

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NYPL Oral History Project: Bridging Our Stories: Dave Hunt

MEET DAVE HUNT, one of the owners at Coogan's on 168th Street, through Bridging our Stories, the NYPL's Oral History Project. 
Listen to Dave reminisce about growing up on Cooper Street in Inwood, playing basketball with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor), his friendship with writer Jim Carroll (The Basketball Diaries), the influence of his Irish-born parents and the community, and tales from the world-famous restaurant, Coogan's.

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NYPL Oral History Project: Bridging Our Stories: Obie Bing


The New York Public Library's Oral History Project, Bridging Our Stories, kicked off its project with an interview with Washington Heights' very own Obie Bing. Obie spoke about the migration of his parents and grandparents from the south, growing up in Washington Heights where he still lives, and the tremendous impact the neighborhood has made on him. And for you sports fans, Obie is a first cousin of Hall of Fame basketball player Dave Bing (Detroit Pistons, Washington Bullets, and Boston Celtics).

The photograph was taken by me. The calendar was produced by my friends, Steve Simon and Vivian Ducat, to benefit the Riverside Oval Association. This year's calendar includes a photograph of the apartment building that Obie grew up in.

To listen, click on this link which will take you to the interview:

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey - Uptown

Take two!

Uptown's version of Fifty Shades of Grey takes place on set at Riverstone Life Services Center on 163rd Street and Fort Washington Avenue in Washington Heights. The space was formerly the home of Delafield Hospital, which was converted into affordable housing for seniors through the New York City Housing Authority, and Riverstone Senior Life Services

Because - #SeniorLivesMatter.

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Sunday, February 08, 2015

Vanishing Uptown: A Boxing Gym Closes

Lost Washington Heights boxing gym a symbol of city's changing landscape

Before it shuttered last summer, Artemio (Poppa) Colon's Westside Gym on W. 163rd St. provided a safe haven for youngsters coming up in the murder, cocaine and heroin capital of NYC. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Sunday, February 8, 2015, 12:29 AM

When gunshots rang out like the Wild West and Washington Heights was the murder, cocaine and heroin capital of the city, there was one place where fights ended someplace other than the morgue.
In an unassuming apartment building on W. 163rd St. between Broadway and St. Nicholas Ave. was the Westside Gym. For 55 years, a narrow, crumpled stairway led to Artemio Colon, known as “Poppa,” who opened the basement gym in 1959 with two boxing rings and a dream.
When time took its toll and the old man wasn’t able to navigate the steps, his son Artemio Jr. kept the operation going.
The gym closed last July, with little notice, a symbol of the marching gentrification in this neighborhood and throughout New York City.
"I trained a lot of people," said Colon, now 93, who still lives around the corner, across the street from an elm tree that predates the Revolutionary War. “They didn’t listen to their mother or nobody. But they listened to me.”
When the Westside Gym opened its doors, Robert F. Wagner served as mayor and a subway token cost 15 cents. In the grand tradition of neighborhood boxing gyms, guys from the Heights packed its subterranean warren of gray rooms, hitting the heavy bag, sparring, lifting weights and learning the ropes.

Artemio Colon - mid 1980s - photo © Arlene SchulmanARLENE SCHULMANEnlarge
Artemio Colon, young and old - photo  © Arlene SchulmanARLENE SCHULMANEnlarge
Artemio Colon, now 93 (r.), landed in New York in 1946 and trained under famed boxing sage Cus D’Amato. Colon (pictured in the 1980s, l.) opened his own gym in 1959, and built it into a staple in Washington Heights.
It didn’t matter whether they won or lost. It took them away from the lure of gangs, drugs and misbehavior, taught them discipline and gave them the sense that there were options.
When the boxing business was booming, there were several active neighborhood gyms in every borough. Connie’s Gym on 125th St., Brooklyn’s Red Hook Boxing Club and the Bronx’s Jerome Boxing Club were among the casualties of waning interest and higher rents. There’s nothing like the Westside Gym in Manhattan any longer.
“Community gyms help kids in the neighborhood,” said Bruce Silverglade, the owner of Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. “They are not a place where pros go. These mom-and-pop gyms are stabilizing centers in disruptive areas.”
When the tidal wave of drugs and murders disrupted the neighborhood in the 1980s and 1990s, Colon provided a place where young men could find a safe corner.
“It was a little scary,” recalled Anthony James, a two-time Daily News Golden Gloves winner who trained there during the 1980s. “Guys were always selling drugs on that block out in the open, and people were always getting shot. Washington Heights was definitely out of control. But, he added, “If you were with the gym, no one bothered you.”

Anthony James, a Daily News Golden Gloves champion in 1982 and 1983 who trained at Colon's gym, laments its loss but says that nothing lasts forever.ARLENE SCHULMANAnthony James, a Daily News Golden Gloves champion in 1982 and 1983 who trained at Colon's gym, laments its loss but says that nothing lasts forever.
The diminutive Colon barred drug dealers, gang members, and other unsavory characters.
“No drugs in the gym,” Colon said firmly. “We never deal with them. I kept the street clean in front and let no one hang out. Even the kids never played ball here. No barbecuing. You have to move.”
The gym was considered sacred. Outsiders never intruded. Even the NYPD knew not to expect any trouble.
“I don’t recall any problems there,” said Deputy Inspector Wilson Aramboles, who covered Washington Heights as an anti-crime officer in the early 1990s. “The gym made a little dent in crime back then.”
NYPD Captain Ernest Morales, one of hundreds who trained at the Westside Gym said it “represented what it meant to fight your way out of poverty to fulfill the American Dream,” a safe haven for generations of children in the rough-and-tumble tracts.
If you were with the gym, no one bothered you.
Fighters and neighbors alike still mourn the fact that Colon had to close his sanctum down.
With crime in the city down overall, it’s difficult to determine what impact, if any, the gym’s loss will have. There were only two murders last year in the 33rd Precinct, which covers the neighborhood.
But if the major crimes are harder to detect, so are the men (and later, a few women) who walked down the block with a singular purpose.
“Everyone has gone to Planet Fitness,” James said. “Boxing is not what it used to be. We all get old. Colon can’t do it forever.”
Silverglade, who oversaw the moving of Gleason’s Gym from 30th St. in Manhattan to Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood in 1984 due to rising rent, said it’s gotten harder and harder for gyms to stay on their feet.

It was far from posh, but the Westside Gym was typical of neighborhood boxing centers that once thrived in every corner of the city.ARLENE SCHULMANIt was far from posh, but the Westside Gym was typical of neighborhood boxing centers that once thrived in every corner of the city.
“Insurance is extremely expensive,” he said. “Rents are going up. The cost of training is going up. At one time, there were a lot of bootleg shows and gyms could run shows and make a small profit. Now, there are so many rules and regulations combined with the economy make it difficult for small gyms to survive.”
Gleason’s, like the Times Square Gym, had a heavy roster of professional fighters training and sparring but added fitness training, women’s boxing, and white collar boxing some time ago.
“If I was relying on actual boxers, I would never be able to survive,” Silverglade said. “The big fitness chains are in competition with the boxing clubs. As people are getting older they don’t remember the value of boxing. They go into Equinox and the other new places. And the gym owners,” he added, “are getting older. I’m here at five in the morning and I leave at seven at night. And we don’t have those trainers like Artie Colon and Ray Arcel around anymore.”
Colon landed in New York City in 1946, just after World War II and ahead of the the “great migration” of Puerto Ricans who arrived in New York City a decade later.
Armed with an eighth-grade education and a wiry physique honed in the tobacco and sugar cane fields, the 25-year-old found work as a cook at Luchow’s, a famous German restaurant on 14th Street, as a tailor and then, finally, as a building superintendent.
Everyone has gone to Planet Fitness; boxing is not what it used to be.
He discovered the Gramercy Gym and trained under Cus D’Amato, the mentor of world champions Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres and, later, Mike Tyson.
“Boxing made me what I am,” Colon said. “I traveled all around the world. Cus taught me how to box, how to take care of myself. He was like a father to me. Whatever I knew in boxing, he teach me.”
Later, while running his own gym and shuttling fighters to matches around the city, Colon served as the super of the gym’s building. So long as floors were mopped, the repairs made, the boiler fixed, the gym was his.
The block is quieter now; it’s as if the gym has been erased. The steps down to the basement have been straightened, and the sign removed. The space is being converted into yet more apartments, and a building across the street is now a high-priced co-op, which neighbors call the “white building” because only white people, they say, can afford to live there.
Dario Rosario, 78, who mopped up blood in the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center emergency room night after night during the '80s and '90s, has lived at the corner of 163rd and St. Nicholas since 1967. He misses the gym. “That's the only thing we had here,” he said. “Now they are smoking marijuana in front of the building.”

539 W.163rd St., where the Westside Gym operated in the basement for some 55 years.ARLENE SCHULMAN539 W.163rd St., where the Westside Gym operated in the basement for some 55 years.
The Westside Gym is gone, relegated to memory and the history books like so many long-standing icons, another lost piece of the city’s vanishing lore.
“That’s the way life is,” Colon said. “I feel sad. A lot of people miss the gym. That’s the way it goes.”
Some of the city’s storied neighborhood gyms that have been KO’d by factors including higher rents, skyrocketing insurance rates and operating expenses, and the proliferation of health clubs.

DAS Boxing Center
Jefferson Boxing Club
Empire Sporting Club at the Gramercy Gym
Connie’s Gym
Times Square Gym
New York City Gladiators

Fort Apache
Boxing Club Zaragoza
Boxing Gym Aaron Davis
Boxing Gym

Lost Battalion Hall
Cowboys Boxing Club
Irish Ropes
Rhino Fight Team
Gallagher’s Gym

Fight America

Brighton Boxing Club
Evolution Boxing Club
Kid Kelly’s Boxing Gym
Sunset Park Boxing Center
Arlene Schulman

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