I was raised in an east European Jewish Socialist working class neighborhood in the Bronx, New York City. Few of our parents went to school. Today, some would call us, “disadvantaged,” but we simply said we were “poor.” We learned Street Corner Wisdom, some I retain, other aspects I long since discarded.


Never cross a picket line.

Walk on the other side of the street if you see a cop coming.

Never step on cracks in the pavement. Bad luck.

As Big Al always said: “Never fuck with anyone who can beat the shit out of you.” Wise words.

Japs are sneaky.

If you slide into 2nd or 3rd base have your leg aim for the crotch of the opposing player.

Eleanor Roosevelt cares about us, few do.

Never betray a friend.

When walking in a strange neighborhood walk on side of street where the old people sit and say, “hello” to them. It confuses their kids who might think you know their parents.

Hop over the subway turnstile as the train comes into the station.