" The Buildings We Lived In "

It was red brick, standing six stories tall
A giant among giants it towered
With clay pots upon each sill
Adorned with bright colored flowers

Letters A thru E and a little peephole
With six apartments upon each floor
Tenants could clearly identify
Who was knocking at the door

On the main lobby floor
A laundry with a washing machine
Twenty five cents and a box of soap
Got all your clothes squeaky clean

Then off to the rooftop six flights up
Hoping to find an empty line
You'd hang your linens and clothes
Then pray for the sun to shine

You dreaded the day when mom would say
Time to wash windows three flights high
Sitting backwards upon the sill
Mom held your legs while you would wash & dry

The elevator was a nice amenity
If it wasn't full you were in luck
It sure saved a lot of steps
Until between floors it would get stuck

I remember at Christmas time
That beautiful Yuletide tree so tall
All decorated and lit up
In that cozy and warm entrance hall

Tenants of all different ethnic groups
Living together in peace and love
Italian, German, Irish and Jew
Just like it was meant from heaven above

These are the memories of our buildings
It does not matter what street
It's where we lived, worked and played
Until father time we did meet

Library Of Congress Copyright@2000 Len Vivolo

" Bronx Aromas "
Horse droppings left laying in the street
After the horse drawn cart would leave
Cars smashing it into the pavement
Causing all us kids to heave

Two or three days later
It's still there in sight of all
As we wished for rain to wash it away
So we could play a game of ball

Off to the hardware store
Everything from A to Z line the walls
And that strong familiar aroma
Known to us as mothballs

Walk down any street
Without even looking
You recognize the aroma
Of delicious Chinese cooking

Down the hallway one would walk
A pleasant aroma from down one flight
It's spaghetti sauce upon the stove
Left to simmer over night

With no car to drive
You rode the air conditioned bus so cool
Then when you got off
You smelled the diesel fuel

When the sewer truck came
To empty all that gook
All that slimy stuff spilled about
You held your nose and dared not look

To the Bronx we attribute many odors
Though we complained, it was in vain
For all the odors would soon be replaced
With the wonderful fragrance after the rain


Library Of Congress Copyright@2000 Len Vivolo


" Bronx Apartment Living "

Up in the morning
Get ready for school
Turn on the radio
Cousin Brucie is cool

Look out the window
Check out the weather
Run to the closet
Pick out a warm sweater

Outside the only bathroom
Everyone's waiting on line
With brothers and sisters before you
There's just not enough time

You run to the kitchen
Grab a bite to eat
There's standing room only
Cause someone's got your seat

Open the fridge
Make something for lunch
It's peanut butter and jelly
Upon which to munch

Gather all your books
Make a mad dash for the door
Only to find the elevator stuck
Between the second and third floor

Running down six flights
Trying not to cuss
You only have a couple of minutes
To catch that city bus

After school it's homework
And a bunch of chores to boot
Drag the trash to the end of the hall
And throw it down the chute

Now it's getting dark
It's been a long day
Mom is cooking dinner
And there's no time to play

Turn on the T.V.
Tune in to Mr. Ed
Then after it is over
It's time to go to bed

But outside the only bathroom
Everyone's still waiting on line
Proclaiming those familiar words
" It's not your turn...It's mine!"



Library Of Congress Copyright@2000 Len Vivolo


" Bronx Newspapers & Magazines

No shortage of newspapers in the Bronx
You chose which gave you the most
You really got your monies worth
If you subscribed to "The New York Post"

How about the "Journal American"
I remember that one well
With lots of coupons and comics
Gee it sure was swell

Then there was "The Mirror"
With crossword puzzle and jumble
And Letters To The Editor
Where people loved to mumble

"The Wall Street Journal"
Most popular on the block
On every bus and subway
Folks kept track of stock

Another great paper
Costs only two dimes
It's still around today
" The New York Times "

The most compact paper
Even read in Church pews
It was everyone's favorite
" The New York Daily News "

Remember those great magazines?
A good one called "Look"
Lot's of ads from stores to shop
As big as any book

My favorite one was "Life"
A photographers dream come true
Full-page color pictures
And feature stories too

"Back In The Bronx"
A source for nostalgia at last
Designed especially for "Bronxites"
Who like to recall the past

Library Of Congress Copyright@2000 Len Vivolo

With water gushing along the gutter
Thinking of some kind of craft
Ingenuity kicks in
It's an ice cream stick raft

With Christmas Tree stored on fire escape
Anxiously waiting for the big day
To decorate and light it up
In honor of the "Christchild" asleep on the hay

Ah.....The good old days
We remember them well
Instilling upon our children
Not an easy sell

But in the hearts and minds
Of those who lived these days
The memories will go on
And we'll take them to our graves


Library Of Congress Copyright@2000 Len Vivolo
"Remember When?"

With each new season
Bringing new-found joy
A new fad appears
For every girl and boy

Spin the top and trading cards
Pitching bottle tops and yo yo's too
Can't wait for next season
To bring something new

On hot summer nights
Folks gather on the stoop
Laughing and sharing
Getting all the new scoop

On hot summer days
With nothing to do
Open a fire hydrant
And cool off a few