September 10, 2012

False arrest in 1960s has lasting impact

It was a warm summer evening, and Jean was not home, so Mort Perry and I walked into the nearby Greenwich Village bar to wait for her.

We set our attaché cases down and ordered drinks. I ordered a rum and Coca-Cola.

“We don’t have any of that,” the bartender said.

“What do you mean?” I inquired, “There is some rum right over there.”

“That’s not for you,” he said.

I got the message. It was the 1960s, and things like that happened from time to time, even in the liberal north.

“I’m going to call the police,” I told Mort, and headed for the phone booth. I made the call, and we stepped outside to wait for the patrol car.

Mort and I both worked at Harper & Row, the book publishers. I was assistant production manager for children’s books, and Mort, a young African-American artist, was a book designer.

We had planned to have dinner and take Jean to the Village Gate, where John Coltrane was playing. But it looked like our plans had been changed for us.

A patrol car drove up in a few minutes. I walked over to the officer to tell him our story, but he passed me by and walked over to the bartender, where they had a hushed conversation. Then the cop returned.

“He doesn’t have to serve you,” he said. “That’s New York law. He doesn’t need a reason. Now get out of here or I’m going to arrest you.”

I took out a pen to write down the cop’s name and badge number, and he and his partner grabbed Mort and me, said, “You’re under arrest for disorderly conduct,” handcuffed us and tossed us in the back of the patrol car.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time