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Photo album: Jack Moran on Tar Beach

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My father Jack Moran arrived in New York on April 5th, 1923.  He was from Athea, a small village in County Limerick. He loved New York.  And Brooklyn.

My mother was born in Kerry and raised in Limerick but she didn’t meet my father until she came to the States in 1927. The Irish in New York would all get together for parties and they met at one of those parties.

My mother was nine years younger and she had the prettiest blue eyes. They got married in 1928, had me in 1929, and my brother in 1931.  At some point my father started to work at the Stock Exchange.  He ran what they called “the car” – the elevator from the first floor to the sixth.  It was for “Members Only,” and he was fascinated by the way the “members” dressed.  He loved nice clothes.

After they married, they lived in what was called a railroad apartment – the rooms went from front to back,  the front room, then the bedroom, then a long hallway, then another bedroom, the dining room and the kitchen.  The air would flow all the way through. The [buildings] weren’t brownstones, but they were brown.  People did keep them nice.  Each one was separated by a metal gate. People parked their [baby] carriages inside; women would sit on the stoop, shoot the breeze. We lived on the top floor, and it was one short step up to the roof. It was a few blocks to the subway station, get off at Wall Street, and he was at work.  He liked the easy way. 

In the summer, to catch a breeze, he’d bring his beach chair up to “Tar Beach” so called because the roofs were tarred over. He had a radio with a cord.  He’d throw the cord down through the airy way, and my mother would bring it in through the dining room window and plug it in. He’d listen to the Dodgers. On the weekends we’d go out to his brother and sister’s in Long Island and play card games.  They were building a house, and he helped. 

But come Monday morning, he was back in the city.

We loved the shows, especially the music. There was an Irish show, the McNultys, which consisted of Ma, Eileen, and Peter [McNulty].  We’d go to the Academy of Music in Brooklyn to hear them. That only happened once a year.  We went to Carnegie Hall once. They were the high spots, the enjoyable musicals.  My brother and I were small.  We’d take a roast chicken off to Prospect Park in the summer and have a picnic lunch.
Dad liked New York but he loved Brooklyn. 

We all did, really.

Submitted by Margaret “Peggy” Phelan
Willingboro, New Jersey

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