Letters to the editor
Taking a load off on a bench in Riverdale
By Howard Ring
To the editor:
I am retired now for about five years and somewhere along the way I found benches. I don’t know if the bench in front of Palombos Bakery was the first bench; it might have been the one in front of Salvatores of Soho. Nevertheless it was the first bench I found.
It was in the dead of summer, in the morning. You can see the Hall of Fame from there and the long corridor lets a cool, natural summer wind blow. It was much nicer than the artificial coolness created by air conditioning. I found the same to be true in the evening. Then I began to watch the people get off the No. 7 bus coming to and from work. Some I knew and we greeted each other. Then there were passers by and we chatted.
Then I discovered the bench at Sal’s, which being at the head of 238th Street had the same cool winds in its clear corridor. No bus stopped there but many people walked by to use the steps to Broadway to reach the subway and beyond.
I began to avail myself of the benches during the day. The Ginger Grill added one. Those walking by in mid-day were not so rushed as those going to work. We talked and got to know each other. In between I could see the stores, a scene Edward Hopper might paint. Watching the people go in and out of Rolen Bagels and the storekeepers tending to business. After a while I began to chat with some of the merchants. Having a merchandising background, it was enjoyable to share some words with them. Now that Yo Burger has opened, the owners put out two benches. I guess they like the one they had at their other location.
On Johnson Avenue there is only one bench: the bench in front of Riverdelight. It has been there for a while but none of the other businesses have followed suit for some reason. I like to sit there when the weather is cooler as it’s not so windy and have a pipe. People walk by. Coming and going from errands, appointments or going out for a meal. It’s always nice to chat.
These benches seem to be gaining some popularity, as a few more people seem to taking the time out of their day to use them. I hope they enjoy the benches as much as I do.