Email this review


Recollections of a New York doctor who worked in Hell's Kitchen from 1934 to 1968. His patients were a diverse lot--hookers, gangsters and the polyglot denizens of the infamous neighborhood west of the Great White Way. Slocum treated them and got to kn the intimate life of his community in a way that is rare today in the big city. The memoirist is old enough to remind us of what was good about the old days. His story really begins in the 20's when he was in school and preparing to be a doctor. We get a feel of the Roaring Twenties, the Depression and the period afterward. Many changes took place in New York and not all of them for the better. The author remembers a day when people were poor but safer and able to enjoy their city without fear. Some people are richer today, but can we say, he wonders, that life is better for most residents than it was for his Hell's Kitchen patients? Part of the attraction of a book like this is that readers are reminded of what has been and may never be again. Slocum has a good memory and his humane instincts are very evident. However, one wants more in a memoir than mundane anecdotes and many of his are only fair at best. They lack the sweet sadness of another senior citizen's work, Marie Jastrow. All in all, a flat chnicle which is too easy to put down.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1986
Publisher: Scribners