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Where Obama Lived in 1980s New York

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-30-08 02:15 PM
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Where Obama Lived in 1980s New York
NYT: Where Obama Lived in 1980s New York
By Jennifer 8. Lee

Now: The ground-floor hallway at 339 East 94th Street.

The six-story walk-up at 339 East 94th Street has seen much over the decades: generations of mostly white and Hispanic immigrants, nests of mice, drug deals, a police bust, at least one stabbing, a recent influx of young professionals, and a future presidential candidate: Barack Obama.

In his memoir, Dreams From My Father (Three Rivers Press, 1995), Mr. Obama described his Yorkville apartment, on East 94th Street between First and Second Avenues, as part of the shifting border between East Harlem and the rest of Manhattan. He described a scene that will sound familiar to undergraduates and others who scraped by in the seedy and dangerous New York of the 1980s:

It was an uninviting block, treeless and barren, lined with soot-colored walk-ups that cast heavy shadows for the rest of the day. The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didnt work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle.

He said that he would chat with Puerto Rican neighbors and stop to talk to the boys on the stoop about the Knicks or the gunshots heard the night before. An old neighbor died on the third floor landing with $1,000 in small bills rolled up in his refrigerator. Mr. Obama was living in the building when he received a phone call about his fathers death from a car accident in 1982....


These days, the upper reaches of Yorkville have changed in ways that might have been unthinkable to New Yorkers of earlier eras. Luxury high rises have sprouted up. The 94th Street building has become home to a more professional crowd. When someone moves out or passes away, they renovate the apartment and charge market rates, so now you have a predominantly yuppie crowd,...
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