Saturday, July 7, 2007
Dalton Schools Inc Cont'd- New York City
So in previous posts I tried to lay down my sense of the social dynamics at play in modern NYC. Enter Dalton as a private school in the NYC private school system as the Jewish alternative to the WASP dominated power culture. In the 60's and 70's you had the phenomenon that Tom Wolfe labeled as Radical Chic. This was where the well-to do aligned their sympathies with the visibly oppressed less fortunate. That was people like me. An expression of that was Leonard Bernstein hosting a fundraiser in his Park Avenue apartment for the Black Panthers and me getting an almost full scholarship in 1972 to a school that lots of "white parents" would give their right arms to send their kids to.
I came in in 5th grade a real "pickaninny". I was right off the streets. My only significant exposure to whites was being bussed to second and third grade in rural Florida while staying with my grandparents. I was happy to be out of ghetto schools. As you get older the kids got more and more violent and disruptive. The Dalton kids were beautiful, bright, genteel..you name it. To this day I don't see how ANYONE could morally send their children to an inner-city public school.
My first couple of years were culture shock, although I was too young to know it. Friends would bring me home to their upper east and west side apartments. One kid's - Jonathan Blinken-bedroom was the size of my apartment. I remember a friend- Lenny Wolfe- bringing me home and his mom taking him aside to give him a "talk", about what -to this day I don't know. Jaime Redford (son of Robert) invited me for a sleepover on a day when they were off to the Connecticutt country club. I got the worst case of diarrhea, probably from nerves, and they gave me my first tennis lesson. His mom leant me shoes. I was a natural they said. :)
Some parents were brave enuff to let their kids come to my "house" on 111th street. Peter Gelfman and I had to climb the fire escape in the back to avoid the hostile black kids hanging out on the stoop. David Walker almost jumped off my roof as we were running around up there startled by some vagrant. In retrospect I could have very easily damaged one of those kids forever by having them visit me, and damaged myself as well psychologically and physically for being the "oreo".