You know it’s funny, but Tompkins Square Park actually is a square. Or at least rectangular. I haven’t had time to measure the distance of each side. When I lived on east 7th between 1st and B, I would jog around the park in the morning.
This was in the days that the East Village was still the rough East Village. How about this. You live in a railroad apartment (which it was) and you are at one end, 5 rooms down the hall you hear a thud in that room.
Has you move through the apartment the thud becomes louder, and more rhythmic, and as you peak into that fifth room, you see the hole in the wall getting bigger and can tell that someone is using a sledge hammer to break in.
I start yelling – I don’t remember what I yelled – but it sure wasn’t “stop thief!”
I run out to catch a glimpse of the would be burglar shooting down the stairs, taking each flight at a jump. Well maybe it was two jumps per flight.
And I’m still only a flight behind him. And wouldn’t you know it, but when we get to the lobby – I remember it still stunk of urine like usual – but there’s a cop writing a ticket to the landlord for something, and the burglar with the sledge hammer actually runs past the cop while I’m shouting: stop him. He just tried to mrob me.
The cop gives the landlord a ticket, and then nonchalantly turns to face me, and insists that I calm down while he asks me a few basic questions and I’m yelling that the guy is getting away.
He asks me what the guy was wearing. I say if you go out you might still see him.
But that’s what the East Village was in the late 70s.