On the Boulevard
by Steven Wolfe
On the Boulevard - if you have to ask, “Which boulevard?” you are on the wrong website - there was an endless row of stores, including several restaurants, one of which was the Asia, a Chinese restaurant. It was there that I learned to eat and love those pseudo-Chinese dishes such as Chow Mein and Chop Suey. The many Chinese people I have known have, to a person, told me these dishes, unknown in China, are American inventions intended for the unsophisticated American palate.
I recall an incident in the Asia, or maybe, in the deli next door. A police officer was standing at the counter waiting for his sandwich to be made. Suddenly, my brother, then about five years old, bolted from his seat and went to grab the officer’s holstered revolver. Naturally, the officer was very upset. My father gave my brother a severe tongue-lashing. And to think...this impulsive kid grew up to become a lawyer!
On 46th Street on the other side of the boulevard, was the Bliss Sport Shop. They sold all sorts of sports equipment, but the only item that my friends and I were interested in was a good baseball glove. After all, we didn’t play tennis or ski, and a new Spaldeen was the only equipment we needed. Oh, perhaps a sled every ten years and roller skates, but the baseball glove was “it.” There was a series of baseball gloves named “the Playmaker” which came with different numbers such as PM1, PM3 and so on, each one bearing the autograph of a different baseball player and ascending in cost with the numbers.
One day, there was a fire in the Bliss Sports Shop and the display windows were broken by the heat of the fire but the merchandise on display remained in the windows. News of the fire spread like, er, wildfire and a couple of kids went up to the store and grabbed baseball gloves from the window displays. I do not think I would have stolen a glove – I had one already – but I envied the kid or two who managed to wind up with a PM11 or a PM 13, gloves beyond the financial reach of most of us. I still own my PM7. It was autographed by Marty Marion, a decent shortstop at the time, but he played in the National League. It’s almost 70 years old and a little on the weathered and hard side, but it’s a memory.