Miss Moore Remembers Early Days at the Grinnell

Grinnell Tidbits
When we came to the Grinnell, we were told by one of the tenants that in the early days the management gave dances for the tenants.  Dances were given in the late spring and early summer.  Dances were held on the roof; live music was provided.  The dances were free.

There was elevator service for tenants and workers around the clock.  One elevator was for the tenants; the second elevator was for the building's workers and for the servants of the tenants.

Few tenants had dogs; there were no large dogs.

Each side of the building had a switchboard; on the West Side of the building it was located where the mailboxes are.  The switchboards were manned by the elevatormen.  It provided communication between apartments.

Mail was delivered by the postman twice a day: about nine in the morning and about 3 in the afternoon.  Elevator men sorted the mail and left mail for individual apartments outside each apartment.

A tailor/clothes cleaning shop was located in the basement for the convenience of the tenants.

A mail chute was provided for tenants.

A dumbwaiter collected the garbage.

One key fit every apartment.

I never went to the basement until the middle/late 1950s.  In the early days only the tenants’ servants went to the basement.  There were washing machines and metal containers to hold wet washing – giving it a chance to dry.  In the warm weather laundry was hung to dry on the roof.

Each tenant was assigned a basement storeroom.

In the early fifties (approximate time) the building was sold to a religious congregation based in Harlem headed by a minister Daddy Grace.  The name of the building was changed briefly to The Grace.

A well-known black playwright Alice Childress had the apartment now occupied by R. Johnson.

In the Great Gatsby Fitzgerald mentions a visit to a large apartment building on Riverside Drive.  Some thought he was referring to the Grinnell.

We were told that there had been a murder in the Grinnell.

On May 30 (approx) window awnings appeared.

Miss Jaundine (Geraldine) Moore lived at the Grinnell, in Apartment 2F, from July 1937 until her death in September 2004.  As a girl, she moved to the Grinnell with her mother and aunt and attended school at St Catharine's Academy on West 152nd Street (the school and building still exist). 

According to her obituary in the New York Times, Miss Moore "attended Loretto Academy, Chicago, graduated from St. Catherine's Academy and Katherine Gibbs, NYC. B.S. degree Fordham, M.A. and professional diploma Teachers College, Columbia.  A high school English teacher, NYC, over 23 years. She taught at Bay Ridge H.S., Brooklyn, NY and George Washington H.S., Manhattan. Before teaching she was Asst. Prod. Mgr., Swertfager Ad Agency, Prod. Asst. Parade Magazine, Asst. Legal Ad Mgr. American Banker."

Although Miss Moore was a fount of information about the Grinnell and its surrounding neighborhood, and had known many of the original residents, she was a private person and shared information in bits and pieces.  Once, however, in response to a request from a curious neighbor, she typed a sheet of Grinnell memories, random thoughts that evoke visions of a long-lost era.  She entitle those memories "Grinnell Tidbits."
Miss Moore at the Grinnell Christmas Party: 1999
Miss Moore's original typed memories
Our Stories: Miss Moore Remembers Early Days at the Grinnell                                  Written by Jaundine Moore
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